Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating: A Review

It has been 155 days since I last wrote a book review on my book blog.
Given this, I figured that I should probably write another book review.
I finished reading Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating on Tuesday and I LOVED it! I’m super behind on all my goodreads reviews and since I haven’t reviewed many books on my blog recently, either, I figured that I’d review this one.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating | Abida Jaigirdar

Published May 25, 2021

352 pages | ebook

Content warnings: Racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, toxic friendship, gaslighting, parental abandonment. (from the author’s website)

When Humaira, or Hani, comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying that there’s no way she could know, never having kissed a girl. Wanting her friends to know who she really is, she tells them she is in a relationship with a girl–with Ishita (or Ishu).
Ishu has never been popular at school or with Hani’s friend group–she’s a total overachiever and gets set on becoming head girl to make her parents happy. There’s just one problem…to become head girl, you need votes from the other students, and Ishu is not exactly popular.
And so Ishu agrees to help Hani show her friends that she really is bi as long as Hani helps her become more popular. The two girls are complete opposites, but can they get along well enough to pull them off and help the other?

All summaries are my own unless otherwise stated. Parts of the summary may be borrowed from goodreads.

I was super excited for this book, coming into it, but I was also a little nervous. I’d just read The Henna Wars, by the same author, in May and I enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to reading another of the author’s books. However, I’d also read two books in May that had fake dating plots. They were the first two books featuring fake dating that I’d ever read and they really let me down so I was a little worried to start this one. But I actually ended up really enjoying this one, which is somewhat of a relief.

I loved our main characters, Hani and Ishu. I feel like they had very distinct personalities, which was really nice because oftentimes when books have dual POVs the characters end up sounding pretty much the same. Plus, they were very different people, which led them to having a very interesting dynamic at first as they struggled to get along with each other, which leads me into my next point.

This entire book explores relationships in a lot of different ways. The most prominent relationship, of course, is the one between Hani and Ishu. I loved the development between them, as they start with not liking each other very much, given how different the two of them are, and then begin to become friends before getting feelings for each other. In a lot of books, development is a rough spot because it really is hard to do it well. However, this book did it perfectly. It wasn’t obvious that the two were developing because it was so smooth, each new step in their relationship just flowed through. It was happening right before my eyes and yet at one point I just realized, ‘oh, they’re becoming friends now’.

I think that the relationship that I liked most though was Ishu’s relationship with her sister. At the beginning, Ishu doesn’t trust her sister at all. She thinks that she’s going to rat to their parents or use any information she gets as a bargaining chip. But as they talk periodically throughout the book, Ishu begins to see that her sister actually just wants to help her, that she’s changed a lot in her time at college and they develop a very special bond.

The other relationship that was pretty big in this book was Hani’s relationship with her friends. It was very clearly a bad relationship, which Hani definitely knew and was realizing throughout the book, but she still held onto them for a large part of the story. I think this is actually a really good thing to see in books because often when your friend or friends are toxic or just not right for you, you do sort of acknowledge it but it’s very hard to leave them. Especially with Hani, who has been friends with Aisling and Deirdre (or at least one of them–I forget who) since she was very young, it was hard for her to come to terms that they were not good friends and she was probably better off without them.

Another thing that I think this book was very good for was showing culture from different places in the world. Hani’s friends believed that Hani and Ishu were just the same culture and the same ethnicity because they were from the same part of the world, but this was not true. The book did a great job of highlighting the differences between their cultures and I learned a lot! Plus, I think that Jaigirdar does a great job of putting religion and culture into her books as just…a part of the characters’ lives. It’s not the main part of the book, it’s not something only added when it helps the plot, it’s just there. Also, when Hani’s father is talking about how him and Hani’s mother sort of pushed their culture to the background when they moved to Ireland because there wasn’t really anywhere/anyway to practice it was a really good add because it definitely shows some of the sacrifices that people make when they immigrate. I think that that part also showed, however, how much certain parts of the world have changed in a kind of short amount of time. Of course it’s still not perfect, there are definitely so many things that still make people from different cultures not feel at home in different countries, but it really has changed quite a bit since the time that our parents were kids.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book–I liked it better than The Henna Wars, even! I would highly recommend that anyone read this book!

Some other reviews of this book that I enjoyed were Siena’s @Booksophobia, Ruby @Ruby Reads and Reviews and Isha @Paperback Tomes. Plus, The Quiet Pond did a guest discussion with the author, on family in YA!

Have you read Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating? What did you think about it? What are some other fake dating books that you’ve enjoyed? (I want recs!)
Thank you so much for reading and as always, stay safe and keep on reading!

29 thoughts on “Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating: A Review

  1. I want to read this book so much. I loved The Henna Wars, and this book also seems as good – or better – than that one. I don’t adore the fake dating trope haha and although I don’t hate it as well (i just haven’t properly read any books with the fake dating trope??) so we’ll see. Plus I love seeing different cultures being represented on page!! Lovely review, phoenix!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaaaah I hope that you get to read it soon! YES, I personally think that this one was better! I felt like the main characters were written better and you got to know the main characters better as well (especially because there’s two points of view, whereas in Henna Wars I feel like I didn’t get to know Flavia as well as I wanted to). Yeah, honestly I’d been super excited for the fake dating trope in May, because I’d never read anything with it, but then I read two books and I didn’t like them that much…but I’m really happy to say that this book, with the fake dating trope, is AWESOME. It really allows for the characters to get a lot of development, like it’s basically the opposite of instalove because they get to know each other so well BEFORE they start dating.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah I hate when books disappoint me when I’ve already bought them (it happened earlier this year to me with Lost in the Neverwoods…I hadn’t bought it but I had explicitly asked for it as a gift and I was really looking forward to it 😦
      But I really hope that you enjoy it as well! It’s one of my favorites of 2021 so far!!! Tell me what you think when you read it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I think this is a great fake dating book to begin with! I didn’t used to read many either, in fact I read my first two in May, and while they were disappointing, this one was AMAZING! I hope that you’re able to read it soon! Thank you! (and yes I’ve finally actually been a book reviewer after a very long time).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ahaha I love how specific the 155 days is…
    yess the way that everything was written was so seamless. it felt like the book was taking me along for the story, rather than I was reading the story and it was glorious. I also agree with you about the dual pov bit. both hani and ishu were very much their own character, with distinct personalities, voices, and relationships and that made me love this book even more. and the fake dating (because im such a sucker for it eek). im so happy you enjoyed this one!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah I’m preeeeeeeetty sure that I counted that correctly but who knows maybe I didn’t. I’m pretty sure it had been exactly 155 days since my last post though lol.
      YES exactly. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it! Oh my gosh yeah, I think the ‘taking you along for the story instead of reading the story’ is a lot about the author’s writing style, which I absolutely LOVE. And also she’s super good at writing distinct characters, I agree with that too! (this entire comment is just me saying ‘i agree’ to your comment about you agreeing with me lol). I’m so happy it was a good fake dating book, though, because the first two I read, just 😦 😦 😦 I hope I get to read more good fake dating books in the future! And I hope you get to read more too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. colored me impressed ~numbers~
        yesss jaigirdar does such a great job creating distinct characters and has a great voice that is easy to fall into. ha glad you agree with my agreeing lol. it’s a big ole agree fest over here
        yesss so glad you enjoyed it especially after the let down of the last two. here’s to hoping there are more in the future!! honestly my favorite sapphic fake dating book so idk how others will surpass it. but i’m reading love and other natural disasters next so we shall see…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly!
        Yeah, I hope there’s some awesome fake dating books in the future, because I actually do enjoy the trope, I’ve just read more books where it’s done badly than well at this point haha. I actually do like how in Meet Cute Diary, Noah didn’t actually end up with the fake LI just because that seems to always happen haha. Oh, I’ve seen Love and Other Natural Disasters places, I hope that you enjoy it!


      3. oof that’s sucks. there are definitely some hits and some misses when it comes to fake dating, that’s for sure. the good news is 2021 is absolutely STACKED when it comes to the trope!! yess i thought that was such an interesting twist, one that i ended up really liking ha. fingers crossed!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, definitely. The thing I like most about the fake dating trope, though, is that it allows time for the characters’ relationship to develop, and that makes the actual relationship really good. It really is!!! Yeah, I like the ‘they didnt end up together’ twist because honestly how likely is it that two people who are fake dating would always end up together in the end, like they do in basically every fake dating book.
        Then again, actually, paying attention to someone more in ways like that can cause people to develop feelings for each other.


  3. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous review!! I read this recently and agree with literally everything you said haha. I also love how they had different personalities and I think that that also came across in the way the two povs were written. I haven’t read a lot of enemies to lovers (do you have any other recommendation?) but I liked how their transition from ‘enemies’ to lovers wasn’t too toxic… because they can be sometimes in that genre. I had one or two other thoughts, (you can find my full review here 🙂 https://hundredsandthousandsofbooks.blog/2021/09/11/book-review-hani-and-ishus-guide-to-fake-dating/ ) but otherwise it was brilliant and I can’t wait to try the henna wars 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I’m so glad that you enjoyed! Haha, well it’s good to hear someone else who agrees with what I said! Yeah, you’re right, the two distinct personalities was really great to read; Jaigirdar does a great job writing characters! Ah, I have to admit I don’t read that many enemies-to-lovers, but here’s a few that I’ve read recently:
      The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimmons (I LOVED this one, it was super enjoyable, and a great sports book; you can see how much I enjoy finding books with sports in them on two of my recent posts, a discussion and list about sports in books!)
      Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth (SUPER enjoyable, it’s hilarious and just a fun book all around, with also dealing with some serious things!)
      May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor. I didn’t enjoy this one as much, because one of the characters was kind of a jerk, and it just didn’t really click for me, but it’s childhood friends-to lovers-to enemies-to lovers if I remember correctly. Hope those help!
      That’s a great review, I really enjoyed reading it! Oooh, if you haven’t read the Henna Wars yet, you ABSOLUTELY should, it’s not enemies-to lovers or fake dating or anything, but it’s still extremely enjoyable! (and it’s also Irish haha)

      Liked by 1 person

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