Friday, May 13, 2022

The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu


It's AAPI month and I've been trying to read as many of the Asian-authored books on my Kindle as I can. I bought THE DONUT TRAP when it went on sale on Kindle a while back... and then never read it! I know, right? The shame! Especially since it's a food-themed romance and I tend to really love those, even though I'm not usually a fan of fluffy romance (food ones being the obvious exception).

Now that I've read it, I'm kind of surprised it has such low ratings! It's very cute and well-written and I really related to Jasmine, the heroine. The many donut references were also on point. That said, there were a couple flaws, so this ended up being a three star review. And you know what that means... it's a bullet-point review! HUZZAH!


👍 The anxiety rep. Honestly, I was surprised at all the hate Jasmine got as a heroine. I felt like her worrying and fretting and stalkerish tendencies were actually pretty accurate for someone (i.e. me) who obsesses over things. I could get on my soapbox and rant about how people take way less from heroines than they do from heroes, and basically seem to look for any excuse to hate on women in fiction for being too-too anything, but we'll save that for another time, yes?
👍 The donut references. I want a matcha donut right now, and let's leave it at that.
👍 The anxiety of being the person in your social circle with a "bad" job. I've been that person. It sucks when people you know are either happily married and/or working at a tech company, and you're the person who can't "adult" working minimum wage with a bunch of teenagers. Sometimes it's literally the only option apart from being unemployed and people judge you so hard for it. So I appreciated seeing that rep here, especially since the heroine went to a four-year college. A four-year college is not a guarantee of a job right after school.
👍 The romance. Alex was really cute and I liked his interactions with the heroine. I also like how they fight about realistic things and not ridiculous things for the sake of drama.
👍 The way the heroine's cultural heritage is integrated into the book. The heroine's parents are Cambodian refugees of Chinese descent who lived briefly in Vietnam, so they can speak Mandarin, Khmer, and Vietnamese. There's lovely descriptions of food (YAS FOOD), and the heroine also talks about the struggle of growing up and finding her own path while bearing the weight of her parents' struggle and hardships, and I feel like that message is probably going to resonate with a lot of people who are the children of immigrant parents. So that was kind of cool.


👎 The writing feels kind of immature. I think this is a reflection on Jas, who is immature, and that's okay because people grow and develop at all stages, but that being said, there is a very "YA" flavor to the writing that's kind of reminiscent of Meg Cabot's flighty, super breathless style of narrating. Everything is OMG!SUCH A BIG DEAL, even when it's not, and that can get exhausting.
👎 Fade to black sex scenes. Do they bang in this one? No, dear reader, they do not. I know some people don't like explicit romances, so if you're a younger teen reader looking for a mature romance without the spice, or just someone who doesn't enjoy graphic scenes, this is the book for you. For me, it was a bit disappointing to read a romance that didn't really delve much into the "romance" side of things.
👎 Um, closure? The whole Michael thing was weird and I felt like the whole sitch with Alex's ex-girlfriend was kind of glossed over. I kept waiting for something to happen but it didn't. 

Overall, this was a pretty fun book and I'm really happy I read it. I think people who enjoy food-themed romance books will really enjoy this one, although WARNING: it will make you crave donuts.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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