Review: This is How You Fall in Love by Anika Hussain

This is How You Fall in Love by Anika Hussain

This is How You Fall in Love
Anika Hussain
Hot Key Books
Published February 2, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

This is How You Fall in Love

Zara and Adnan are just friends. Always have been, always will be. Even if they have to pretend to be girlfriend and boyfriend…

Zara loves love in all forms: 90s romcoms and romance novels and grand sweeping gestures. And she’s desperate to have her own great love story. Crucially, a real one. So when her best friend Adnan begs her to pretend to date him to cover up his new top-secret relationship, Zara is hesitant. This isn’t the kind of thing she had in mind. But there’s something in it for Zara too: making her parents, who love Adnan, happy might just stop them arguing for a while. She may not be getting her own love story, but she could save theirs.

So Zara agrees and the act begins: after all, how different can pretending to be in a relationship with your best friend be to just hanging around with them like usual? Turns out, a lot. With fake dating comes fake hand-holding and fake kissing and real feelings… And when a new boy turns up in Zara’s life, things get more confusing than ever.

The course of true love never did run smooth, but Zara’s love story is messier than most…

A hilarious and heartfelt romcom, told with a light touch, perfect for fans of TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, EXCUSE ME WHILE I UGLY CRY and HANI AND ISHU’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING.

This is How You Fall in Love on Goodreads

My Review

I haven’t read EXCUSE ME WHILE I UGLY CRY, but I’ve read the other two books the cover copy compares this book to, and I can see the comparison– both the other titles have fake dating scenarios.

Zara is easy to love. Her relationships with her family members felt real, and I loved the big Desi family/community feelings in some of the scenes. The whole story is from Zara’s perspective, so we really saw how she feels about the people in her life. Some passages show transcripts of text messages or online message exchanges, and I especially liked that they showed messages she typed and deleted. Some of those hit me hard.

There are two boys in the book with whom Zara has moments exploring her feelings. The first is Adnan, her best friend and the boy she ends up in a fake dating relationship with. The second is Yahya, a boy she meets randomly and connects with really easily.

I immediately liked Yahya. Adnan was a little more of a challenge. He seems kind of in his own head and does some thoughtless things that have a big impact on Zara’s life, so it took longer for me to see what Zara saw in him and why they were so close.

I liked that this book doesn’t hit all the usual fake dating beats, but it mixed things up a bit. Readers looking for a romance with a South Asian lead will find lots to love here, and readers looking for a fake dating story that defies a few expectations here and there will find THIS IS HOW YOU FALL IN LOVE to be a refreshing, fun love story.

This is How You Fall in Love on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Zara, Adnan and their families are Bangladeshi and British? I think this is set in the UK. A couple other characters are Latine.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Zara opens a gift containing sexy underwear and condoms. References to sex.

Spiritual Content
References to Muslim holidays and celebrations. Zara mentions prayer or Allah a few times.

Violent Content

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THIS IS HOW YOU FALL IN LOVE in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

Comments are closed.