Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating | ARC Review #24

Hey guys! Today I’m reviewing a book that’s been on my Twitter and Insta timeline. It’s releasing tomorrow in US and on 27th in UK. Please check the author’s website for preorder details.

Saima @storieswithsaima was speaking about how much she loved this book in her review, you can check it out here.

About the Book

Title: Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating • By: Adiba Jaigirdar

Publishing on: 27 May 2021 • By: Hodder Children’s Books (Hachette Children’s Group)

Pace: Fast • Pages: 352 • Age: 13 and up

Standalone: Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Song: Brutal by Olivia Rodrigo

Buy Book: WaterstonesAmazon UKAmazon US Book Depository Indigo

Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.

Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.


I received a copy of this book from Hodder Children’s Books courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Rep: Bengali Queer (MCs)

The Guide

Ishu and Hani had a simple arrangement. They had to act as a couple so that Ishu could become a head girl and Hani could help her friends understand that she is bi. Like most fake dating books, this one had rules too. But all best laid plans always goes to dust when the lines between fake and real start to blur.

Having read some fake dating romances, I must say this one was simple and didn’t have too many dramatic twists. I liked how the rules weren’t uncomplicated and they did everything they could to follow the guidelines.

A skin that belongs to me but doesn’t quite fit.

Ishu and Hani are from two different countries— India and Bangladesh. They do speak the same language but Hani’s friends never made an effort to know the difference and clubbed them into a single category. Speaking about friendships, Hani’s friends topped my list for the-most-toxic-friends-you’ll-ever-see-on-earth. Aisling and Deirdre were the most problematic friends anyone could ever have. I was so infuriated with them and I was waiting for Hani to stand up for herself, at least once.

They were manipulative and narrow minded people. As much as they are to blame, it was Hani’s fault too. She never confronted them whenever they were insensitive or tried to change her. She was easily convinced with their reasons and had to change herself for them. To be quite honest, I never liked this side of her until the last quarter of the book. She was a bright, bubbly kid, a complete contrast to Ishu’s personality but her need to please her friend drove me nuts.

Only around her parents and Ishu, she was herself. They accepted her for who she was and never forced her to change her ways. It took a long time for her to learn the lesson to stand her ground and be herself.


There were different relationships explored in this book– love, friendship, siblings, family, etc. I loved the variety it offered. It depicted the toxicity in friendships, over controlling parents, first love, etc., through different scenarios. My favorite one was the bond between Ishu and her sister, Nik. They weren’t tight from the beginning, but they got over their misunderstandings and looked out for each other in the second half of the book. I loved how Nik stoop up for Ishu, when everyone, including her parents, refused to stand by her and believe her.

I liked how this book showcased the flaws in relationships in a real way. It wasn’t overdone, but perfectly balanced with each character adding their voice to the story.

Hani’s parents were kind and supportive. They never blinked twice when their daughter came out to them. I’m sure if this was the case in Ishu’s house, it wouldn’t have been the same, but maybe they would have come to terms with it eventually, though. This Muslim-bi rep wasexecuted well in the story.

Some characters were racist. It’s sad that a place that’s supposed to teach people to be inclusive and treat others with respect was perpetuating racism. It was clearly visible how the principal Ishu and Aisling differently.

The Bengali rep was good. I liked the dawats that brought all the Bengalis together. There were mentions of Mishti and many more Bengali foods. I was also expecting rasgulla to be mentioned, but it never came up, my bad.


Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a slow burn YA romance that was refreshing and charming. It cut across many topics such as relationships, race, love and addressed some of the current issues that queer teens face. The romance aspect wasn’t too exaggerated and felt real. I was rooting for Ishu and Hani from the beginning and I’m glad how everything tied up in the end. Each character had something to offer to the reader, making this book more likable and pleasant. This book is perfect for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fans and those who enjoy reading fake dating tropes.

It’s easy to get caught up on the negative stuff. But this. This is a good day. We deserve to enjoy it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
TW // racism, biphobia, peer pressure

I found this playlist on the author’s website, so I’m leaving it here.

Adiba Jaigirdar is the author of The Henna Wars and Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. A Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher, she has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and da BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she is probably ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, or expanding her overflowing lipstick collection. She can be found at adibajaigirdar.com @adiba_j on Twitter and @dibs_j on Instagram.

What do you think about this book? Have you read it or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

— Soren Kierkegaard

Paperbacktomes Gratitude Pic 2021


  1. Isha this was a great review! I totally agree with your points, especially about Ishu’s bond with her sister and how they slowly got closer (I’m a sucker for reading good sibling relationships). Thank you for linking my review!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i loved the henna wars, and fake dating is one of my favourite tropes, so i can’t wait till this one’s out! also omg i love how you also compared it to brutal by olivia rodrigo – it makes me all the more excited to pick it up! lovely review, isha! 💓

    Liked by 1 person

    • Until the last minute, I was actually waiting to add the song and then I listened to Brutal and lyrics fit perfect for this book. This book’s out now in US but you have to wait until 27th for UK. It was a sweet journey for me and I hope you enjoy it as much as Henna Wars.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AHH I’ve been so excited for this one to come out!! And you pairing it with brutal just made even more so! I’m glad you enjoyed it, lovely review! 💖 Can’t wait to read it

    Liked by 1 person

    • The first time I hear Brutal, it was screaming Ishu. The cover might seem a bit middle grade-ish, but the characters were 17, so it was angsty and speaks about some important topics. I hope you enjoy reading it, Janhavi💖🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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