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Publisher's Summary

The author of The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral returns with a story about finding love in all the wrong inboxes....

Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big, opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages - until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.

There’s just one wrinkle: He has no idea who she is.

The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her....

When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life? 

©2021 Alisha Rai (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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cute fake engagement

First comes like was an entertaining romance. I picked it up based on the interfaith desi/South Asian rep and I wasn't disappointed. I think I've given this author a chance on multiple occasions but where she shines is desi rep. I will probably never co-sign her writing a black woman again but I will absolutely devour when she has one or more South Asian MCs.

This is the 3rd book in this series. I walked into it with low expectations but I didn't need to. Dev and Jia fit well together(though I hardly felt their age difference was relevant as it was only a few years). Sometimes it was hard to follow since SA folk be having so many effing family, sometimes if someone wasn't mentioned every chapter, when they were reintroduced, I forgot them.

Jia was a practicing Muslim of Pakistani descent and without giving any spoilers, she got catfished by an actor who came from an extremely famous family. She was a celeb in her own right as she was a viral MUA. It was sweet how often he watched her videos and validated her career choice.

Dev was sweet, having taken custody of his niece after her father passed. Luna was really in need of reassurance as she was insecure as heck based on her father and how cruel he was before his passing. He also lived with his mother's brother(his mother was Muslim and his ftaher was disowned for marrying her) which he was close to.

I may be in the minority but I actually liked that they got to know each other a lot. I'm not sure this would count as a halal romance but it certainly respected Jia's right to choose whether she wanted to wait for marriage or not. They both read as virgins but it was hard to tell. Dev was super respectful of her being practicing and while being SA, there's societal expectations whether you're Muslim or not, he was concerned about respecting Jia's boundaries.

Some parts were slow of course. It took 26 chapters(there are 30) for them to do more than hold hands. But I realize that was their journey and it worked for them, and the other heroines got their journies that worked for them.

It wasn't a perfect novel and the female narrator at times felt like she was just reading lines vs the male narrator but there weren't a lot of reasons to give it less than a five. I cringed everytime Rhiannon was on screen though. I beg this author, please stop writing Black women if you aren't going to make us nuanced!

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Possibly my favorite book by Alisha Rai

I'd been curious about Jia since we met her in an earlier book, and her story is full of loving and likable people...and family members who surprise the main characters in both good and bad ways. Both main characters work hard to be good people and to grow and have lovely story arcs. Just when I thought I couldn't like Alisha Rai's writing more, she brought us this book and proved me wrong.

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