You know when you’ve read a book, and you just want to shout about it? Well, that’s me and Donut Fall In Love by Jackie Lau. Here are my thoughts, feelings and non-spoiler review of this adorable adult romance.
Donut Fall in Love Blurb
When Ryan Kwok bumps—literally—into baker Lindsey McLeod in her bakery, he accidentally destroys two trays of donuts. Angry, Lindsey soon discovers who Ryan is, while Ryan realises Lindsey could be the perfect teacher for him before he partakes in a celebrity baking competition show. One which means more to him, than he initially lets on.
As the two begin spending time together, the attraction is instantaneous. Both are quickly swept up in the flirting and romance. But, as all things do, Ryan’s fame and their lives come knocking. Will these two make it through?
Themes in Donut Fall In Love With Me
While the book has a romance at its core, it also takes on a lot of other themes I wanted to make a special point of pointing out.
Both characters are of Asian descent, which is delved into. For Ryan, he feels the additional pressure of being at the forefront of RomCom’s—knowing if his film or project doesn’t do well, this could spell disaster for other Asian actors as the industry may not look to them for similar roles. (I’d love to discuss this more, but I fear spoilers if I do). The book also handles the pressure from culture, familial expectations and the public.
The book also handles and approaches social media, including racism, bullying and the sexualisation of ‘celebrities’ within the book. Donut Fall In Love with me also handles the grieving process with so much care.
I’d (and others) best describe this book as a gender reverse Notting Hill. With Ryan and Lindsey quickly becoming established with us (thankfully) avoiding the will-they-won’t-they, instead choosing to get straight into the thick of it.
I found this book really enjoyable, with a large portion of the time reading it, grinning. It immediately pulls you in—although, as a warning, it does make you crave sweet food. I really now want to try ‘matcha tiramisu’ donuts or ‘chocolate espresso’ donuts. So while this doesn’t factor into my rating, if anyone knows a gluten-free place, hit me up.
The times I wasn’t grinning is because of the themes the characters go through. And for good reason, because these tug on your heart. Especially when Ryan and Lindsey share their grief, and when Ryan visits his sisters and sees her struggling too.
It was really enjoyable the level of depth we got into with both of the characters and while the book deals with the loss of a parent (predating the book) it handles it well. Often allowing room and space for the characters to process in their own way, reminding us that time doesn’t always lessen the pain. This also marries together well with mental health themes, which are handled with care and respect, while remaining believable.
For me, I love when a book handles ‘everyday’ problems. Because while meet-cutes are amazing, they aren’t everyone’s reality. But, the issues Lindsey and Ryan experience are. It’s refreshing, awesome to read and makes anyone experiencing them feel less alone.
The side characters are amazingly written. I personally loved the dynamics between the family members from both sides, with them being authentic (and likely close to home for many readers). Lindsey’s Mum calling her all the time is something I know people will grin at, knowing they have someone in their life who does the same. Same as for Ryan, his Dad not reaching out and shutting him down is likely just as relatable. I also really loved how opposite Ryan and his Dad’s online and ‘real-life’ relationship was, and while the resolution to it is really emotional, it’s funny and sometimes sweet along the way.
I really wanted to mention, and highlight how considerate Ryan was. He has abs, something we learn very early and the reason for him often trending on Twitter. But, he’s also an actual kind-hearted heartthrob. He doesn’t seek Lindsey out begrudgingly, he purposefully chooses her and is super respectful of her feelings and time. Not only does he ask for consent, but he was always in tune—or trying to be—with all of the women in his life. Whether that’s his sister or Lindsey, (or even her friend) and it was so wonderful to read. Although, I know this should be the norm.
My main, and only real critique of the book, is the “conflict” feels somewhat unnecessary.
As all romances go, the couple eventually gets to a point where they fight, and this is where I always judge romance books. Because I’m not good with critiquing spelling or sentences. My field is characters, plots and the core elements of the book, so as I was reading (and grinning) I knew this part would eventually come. It’s the core of a romance book, after all.
And I just didn’t love it in this.
While I do fully believe they were swept up in it all to discuss it, it seemed to be a bigger deal than a conversation. Their ‘argument’/discussion seemed to be forced to follow the usual trope of a romcom, but it didn’t land as well as it could have done. It felt a touch childish for both to just shut down, not discuss, and decide to go the path they do. After everything else we’d learnt, it didn’t seem to match. But, that could just be me.
Thankfully, the ending saves it. And I still think really highly of everything else in the book. I also really enjoyed that Ryan and Lindsey’s friends didn’t hit it off. Because so often everyone finds someone in books such as this—and it was refreshing that didn’t happen.
Rating and Recommendation
My favourite part, the rating.
I really loved this book. It was fun, a great escape from the day-to-day which made me hungry and want to watch romcoms. Which, aren’t bad things at all. I love how it deals with big things and also provides relief in tenser moments, balancing the plot out well.
Star Rating: Four
Would I recommend this: Yes, hands down. And, I’ll definitely read it again.
(AFF) Link to purchase Donut Fall In Love At Waterstones.
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