Hi All! It’s Becky. I love books with fake date romance plots, and I was very excited to read Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan. This book has a lot of amazing aspects, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Title: Counting Down With You
Author: Tashie Bhuiyan
Note: I listened to the audiobook.
Summary: Karina Ahmed has spent her whole life trying to please her Bangladeshi parents. Karina doesn’t want to follow their dreams for her to medical school, but she knows she will never be able to stand up to them. Karina’s life is changed when her parents leave on a 28-day visit to Bangladesh, just as Karina reluctantly agrees to tutor, Allistair “Ace” Clyde, the school’s resident bad boy. Ace complicated Karina’s life more when he introduces her to his family as her new girlfriend. Now, Karina has 28 days to decide how she is going to tell her parents she isn’t going to medical school while also pretending to the girlfriend of a boy she may not only want to fake date.
Warning: This review contains spoilers for the ending of the book.
Review: On the surface, Counting Down With You has everything I want in a great book but, when I went a little deeper, there were a few issues in the book. I love fake date books, and Bhuiyan created an adorable scenario that leads to Karina and Ace’s dating rouse. Ace was a charming romantic lead, and his relationship with Karina was filled with sweet and swoony moments. I enjoyed how their romance slowly developed. Karina and Ace’s transition from strangers to fake dating couple to love was slow-paced and realistic. Plus, I appreciated how the author created a diverse cast of characters. Karina’s family is from Bangladesh, and she attends an American school where she interacts with people from all backgrounds and sexual orientations. The author created an entertaining book that allows teens to learn about other cultures without writing a lesson book. There were some issues with the book. I had a hard time with Karina’s narrative voice, there were several times that her word choice felt unnatural, and she didn’t sound like a teen. Also, I had a problem with the final resolution of Karina’s struggle with her parents. (Spoiler alert!) Karina’s decision to hide parts of her life from her parents indefinitely wasn’t a satisfying resolution. I understand that Karina’s parents would be accepting of her relationship with Ace, but for the book to end with her pretending the relationship didn’t exist wasn’t satisfying. The good outweighs the bad in Counting Down With You, but the novel didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5