Monday 24 February 2020

#CBR12 Book 7: "A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year" by Jackie Lau

Page count: 104 pages
Rating: 4 stars

After the active interference of his parents and grandparents with the matchmaking extravaganza over Thanksgiving, Zack Wong is very worried that something similar will be repeated for Chinese New Year, especially since two of his brothers now have girlfriends, and the family seem determined that all four Wong children end up in happy couples. To make sure his family can't meddle in his personal life a second time, he talks his good friend, Jo MacGregor, into posing as his fake girlfriend. They even go on a couple of fake dates around town so the story will be more believable.

Jo MacGregor, Mosquito Bay's dentist, doesn't really miss her lackluster fiancee and has tried really hard not to pine over Zach Wong when they meet at the pub once a week to chat and commiserate over their continued single status. She can't really refuse when Zack asks her to pose as his girlfriend, considering her fondest wish is that he ask her to be his for real. If she can't have him forever, she'll settle for being his pretend girlfriend for a short while - it's better than nothing, right?

Of course, with this being a romance, the fake dating between two people with a close friendship and obvious chemistry, soon turns into something a lot more real.

In these very cozy novellas that focus heavily on family and togetherness as well as romance, Jackie Lau keeps playing with popular romance tropes. In this story, she covers the fake dating plot, as well as long-time friends to lovers. Zach has convinced himself he's very happily single after his fiancee left him years back. He doesn't really have time for dating, working as a high school teacher and football coach, but cherishes his friendship with Jo.

Jo keeps herself busy, having taken over her father's dentist's practice in the little town. She doesn't really feel the need to live anywhere more exciting or vibrant, having gone away for a few years for college and work training. For the past four years, she and Zack have had a "support group" as such, meeting up for drinks and chatting about everything at the local pub. Unbeknownst to Zack, however, Jo has been crushing on him for the past two years, but since she knows full well he wants to stay single, she's not going to reveal her true feelings and ruin their solid friendship.

It obviously doesn't take long before the fake dating becomes a lot more like real dating, but Zach takes quite a while to realise his true feelings for Jo, because otherwise, where would the complication be? There are some pretty adorable and hilarious scenes involving Zack and Jo and the extended Wong family, especially a laugh out loud moment during a competitive game of Pictionary. Jo certainly has more of a drive to win than I would.

Only one more of these novellas to go - little sister Amber's turn.

Judging a book by its cover: These little cartoon covers continue to be really nice, this one with lots of amazing food to tempt me, just in case the description of the food over the course of the novella wasn't enough. Just look at that spread, doesn't it make your mouth water?

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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