Title: Fake It Till You Break It
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Date published: May 28, 2019
Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.
After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.
The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…
With a premise like that that promised so much cuteness, this book was destined to be good, and IT WAS. After I read it, I pitched it to a fellow blogger as “a cupcake disguised as a book” because of its sweetness and adorableness and I think that is definitely the most accurate description of this book. While it had a couple of flaws, this book was still really strong and I ended up loving it so very much. So, let’s get on with the review.
what i didn’t like
- Jake & Finn’s relationship. This is one of only two things that kept this book from being 5 stars for me. In the book, Jake has a brother who left to go play music on a cruise ship, and Jake is super pissed at him because…??? It’s unclear throughout the book what really happened and why Jake and his mom were so super upset about Finn leaving. It seems like he left without telling them but even though he sort of explains it later in the book it’s still not really clear why it happened or why it was such a big deal to the point where Jake didn’t want to have any contact? I was just very confused because he was at an age where he probably would’ve started leaving for college or possibly moving out if he got a job, so I was very confused as to what the big deal was and what actually happened.
- The inciting incident wasn’t big enough. What I love about FAKE IT TILL YOU BREAK IT is its big heart and larger-than-life style romance, so when I read in the synopsis that Jake and Mia start fake-dating because Mia’s mom turns away another boy, I figured the inciting incident that set off the whole story would be equally dramatic and big, but really, it wasn’t a very big deal at all, and left me skeptical that THAT incident would be enough to make Jake and Mia decide to fake date. I wish the incident with Mia and the cute boy and her mom had been made more of a big deal since that’s what sets off the book’s whole chain of events.
what i liked
- Um, literally everything else. Okay, jkjk, let’s have a real review now.
- ALL THE TROPES!!!! This book used ALL of my favorite romance tropes and it could’ve been too much but it was all just right?? How did she do that?? Anyway, this book uses: enemies to lovers (aka all time favorite romance trope), childhood friends/crush, and obviously fake dating. And Nguyen does them all perfectly and makes them work so well within the story.
- Jake & Mia’s other friendships. Personally, I could’ve used slightly more of Ally, Mia’s best friend, but that’s mostly because Rose and Greg were so important and well-rounded to Jake’s side of the story. Rose & Greg were there for more than just talking about Mia, and showed that they had lives outside of each other, whereas I felt like Ally was there just for Mia to talk about her relationships. So I guess this is a like/dislike half and half thing.
- Their moms!!! OMG, both of their moms are so adorable and hilarious. We all know parents in YA are generally…not great, so it was so nice to see involved moms (even though in this case I guess they were a bit too involved with their children’s lives). I thought both protagonists’ relationships with their moms were well written and well rounded in terms of development. Their moms made me have a few good chuckles all throughout the book.
- Mia and Jake were both artsy! I LOVED that Mia & Jake were both interested in different aspects of the arts. I was super artsy and creative in high school so their experiences and interests really rang true to me and made them even more likable. I especially loved Mia’s relationship to theater, since she starts out not very confident about it and ends up trying to go for her acting dreams. I just found the arts aspect of this book so great and genuine and it really made me smile.
- The build up to Mia & Jake’s romance. Obviously when you read this book you know Mia and Jake are going to fall for each other, but the author doesn’t make it as easy as that. Mia dates someone else during the story, which annoyed me because obviously I didn’t ship it but it added to the tension, while Jake likes her more and faster but doesn’t admit it to himself until later in the book. It was so cute watching everyone else in the story comment on it and figure it out, but the relationship played out really naturally and in a realistic way that was still fun and adorable as heck.
Long story short: this will for sure be the cutest book you read this year and you need to add it to your TBRs when you need a literary pick-me-up. This book had me smiling the whole read through and it stayed with me long after because it just made me so happy. If you’re looking for some marshmallow fluff, definitely pick this book up!