Top Ten Tuesday

10 Books To Read If You Love The Fake Dating Trope

20210928 Fake Dating Trope
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Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Top Ten Tuesday!

Today I would like to highlight one of my all-time favorite tropes, and that is the fake dating trope. It is just sooo entertaining to watch two people make a deal to pretend to date, pretend to love each other or pretend to have feelings for each other and then inevitably (of course) catch actual feelings for each other. Just… swoons all over, okay? 

So to share the love, here are 5 YA and 5 Adult books featuring the awesome fake dating trope:

— Young Adult —

THE CLASSIC ONE

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

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THE SAPPHIC ONE

Hani and Ishu's Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
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Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.

Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

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THE CUTESY ONE

the-fill-in-boyfriend-by-kasie-west
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The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

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THE DRAMATIC ONE

Heartbreakers and Fakers by Cameron Lund
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Heartbreakers and Fakers by Cameron Lund

From the author of The Best Laid Plans comes another fresh voiced, hilarious rom-com perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and The Rest of the Story.

Penny Harris just ruined her life.

As one of the most popular girls in school, she’s used to being invited to every party, is dating the Jordan Parker, and can’t wait to rule senior year with her best friend, Olivia. But when Penny wakes up on Jordan’s lawn the morning after his first-day-of-summer bash, she knows something went terribly wrong the night before.

She kissed Kai Tanaka.

Kai, her long-time nemesis. Kai, Olivia’s boyfriend. Penny can’t figure out what could have inspired her to do it–she loves Jordan and she would never hurt Olivia–but one thing’s for sure: freshly dumped, and out a best friend, the idyllic summer she pictured is over.

And despite the fact that Jordan seems to be seeking comfort (and a whole lot more) in Olivia, all Penny can think about is winning him back. Kai wants to save his relationship too, so they come up with a plan: convince their friends that they really do have feelings for each other. After all, no one can resist a good love story, and maybe seeing Penny and Kai together will make Jordan and Olivia change their minds.

But as summer heats up, so does Penny and Kai’s “relationship,” and Penny starts to question whether she’s truly faking it with Kai, if he’s really as terrible as she always thought he was, and if the life she’s fighting so hard to get back is the one she really wants. 

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THE KDRAMA-LIKE ONE

ake It Til You Break It by Jen Nguyen
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Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

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— (New) Adult —

THE ALL-TIME FAVORITE ONE!

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

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THE EMOTIONAL ONE

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
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If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

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THE SUPER SLOW-BURN ONE

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
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The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

A wedding. A trip to Spain. The most infuriating man. And three days of pretending. Or in other words, a plan that will never work.

Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.

That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.

Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic–from NYC and all the way to Spain–for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me.

Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister’s wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie?

Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.

The Spanish Love Deception is an enemies-to-lovers, fake-dating romantic comedy. Perfect for those looking for a steamy slow-burn romance with the sweetest Happily Ever After.

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THE COLLEGE ONE

The Deal by Elle Kennedy
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The Deal by Elle Kennedy

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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THE SCIENCE ONE

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
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The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

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Tell Me:
Do you love the fake dating trope?
Are any of these favorites of yours?

Lindsey xoxo
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50 Comments

  1. I didn’t know there was a fake dating trope. Ha! Books I don’t like as much as everyone else seems to

    1. Oh, glad I could introduce you to this wonderful trope, haha 😉

  2. It is a fun trope! Admittedly I don’t read it a lot but I have enjoyed it- To All The Boys (the Netflix version) was great!

    1. I adored the To All The Boys Netflix series so much, it was indeed so great!

  3. Ah boyfriend material was so cute <3 I'm going to have to look into the Spanish Love Deception.

    1. I love Boyfriend Material so much, the sequel can’t come soon enough 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy The Spanish Love Deception if you decide to try it!

  4. I don’t mind a fake dating storyline on occasion. I have read and enjoyed a couple of these.

    1. It can be a fun trope for sure 🙂

  5. I’ve read most of Elle Kennedy’s books, thanks for the recommendation. Happy reading! https://readwithstefani.com/ten-books-about-books/

    1. Elle Kennedy has some amazing books, I need to read more by her 🙂

  6. The trope really depends on the book, if it is done well I like it, but sometimes it just gives me an icky feeling that someone is fake dating. There are some nice recs on your list, will check them out. Thanks. 🙂

    1. True, the execution is so important when it comes to this trope, it can go both ways for sure.

      1. Yep! Despite it being hit/miss I just cannot resist trying a book out with such a trope. 🙂 Hoping it is one that is good!

  7. Mareli Thalwitzer says:

    Not my kind of trope no, but I am definitely taking a look at The Love Hypothesis. It pops up everywhere, so I guess there has to be something about it.

    Happy TTT!

    Elza Reads

    1. I just finished The Love Hypothesis and it was definitely great, so much to love even if you’re not a fan of the fake dating trope 🙂

  8. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    I adored Boyfriend Material and loved the Deal. Also I have ordered The Love Hypothesis but there is a delay. And I want to read the Spanish Deception!

    1. I just finished The Love Hypothesis and ADORED it! Hope your copy arrives soon and you’ll love it too 🙂

  9. Happy Tuesday! This is one of my favorite tropes. My favorite book that uses it is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I still have to finish the series before I can watch the movies on Netflix.

    If you have a chance I would love for you to check out my Top Tuesday post:
    https://introvertinterruptedcom.wordpress.com/2021/09/28/books-that-got-me-through-my-20s-pt-2/

    Have a good week!

    1. The To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series is so good! I loved the Netflix movies so much 🙂

  10. Oh, what a fun list! You came up with so many different angles to this trope.

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-ten-ttt-topics-i-really-enjoyed-doing/

    1. Thanks! I do love this trope so much 🙂

  11. Stephanie - Bookfever says:

    I love fake dating so much! 😍 I’ve read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Deal.

    1. Fake dating is one of the best tropes for sure 🙂

  12. I do enjoy the fake dating trope, but I haven’t read any of these! More for my TBR!

    1. Haha, these posts are always terrible (or amazing maybe) for our TBRs 🙂

  13. masterspj says:

    From your list I’ve only read Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. I truly enjoyed it.

    Another book I read this year with fake dating was Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
    https://readbakecreate.com/10-indigenous-authors-to-read/

    1. Oh I didn’t know about Better Than the Movies, I’ll need to check it out so thanks for the rec 🙂

  14. Ooh, yes, fake dating is definitely a favourite trope and I can’t wait to read quite a few of these! 😍 I really enjoyed The Deal and TATBILB though. Great list!

    1. Thanks! I can never get enough of fake dating 🙂

  15. I’m a fan of the fake-dating trope. I LOVED-LOVED-LOVED Boyfriend Material and The Love Hypothesis is on hold at the library. I’m going to check out The Spanish Love Deception, and The Deal (LOVE Elle Kennedy).

    Great list!

    My list is here—https://fiftytwo.blog/2021/09/28/ttt-favorite-book-quotes/

    Happy TTT!

    1. Oh, I just finished The Love Hypothesis and LOVED IT! Hope you’ll enjoy it when you read it 🙂

  16. THIS IS MY ULTIMATE FAVOURITE LIST!!! THANK YOU!!!

    1. OMG, THANK YOU! That’s the best compliment 🙂

  17. Oh, this is a fun topic to choose for today’s TTT. Love it.

  18. One of my favorite tropes! I’m currently reading The Love Hypothesis and it’s so good!

    1. Oh, I just finished The Love Hypothesis and you’re right, it’s so good! Definitely a new fave.

  19. What a great list!!! I love this trope, so I’m going to have to check out the ones I haven’t read yet. I have only read about half of them.

    1. Thanks! Hope you’ll find some reads you’ll love 🙂

  20. I do love the fake dating troupe! What a great topic! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s one of my favorite tropes for sure 🙂

  21. Poinsettia says:

    What a fun list! I still need to read To All The Boys. Here is my Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

    1. Thanks! Hope you’ll enjoy To All The Boys when you get to it 🙂

  22. I LOVE the faking dating trope and haven’t read a lot of these so thanks for the recs. 🙂

    1. Hope you’ll find some fun new reads 🙂

  23. Marianne Maurer says:

    Fake dating? Sounds interesting. I doubt I’ve ever read a book about that subject. Might have to explore.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. Hope you’ll enjoy this trope when you explore it 🙂

  24. I’ve not read any of these, but I have read other fun books with the fake dating trope.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/09/28/top-ten-tuesday-335/

    1. There’s definitely no shortage of fake dating books out there 🙂

  25. […] Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads recommends 10 books to read if you love the fake dating trope […]

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