This Time It’s Real is a fun contemporary YA following Eliza Lin who writes an essay about her fake boyfriend—only for it to go viral. So she finds the perfect boy, C-Drama star Caz Song, to play the part.
I. Only. Want. To. Read. The. Fake. Dating. Trope. In. YA. I think it works best from this perspective because high school exists in its own little world where things like who you are dating can feel big and life-changing.
I love books that take place outside of the United States and it was fun exploring and learning more about Bejjing through Kaz and Eliza. I also liked that this book featured positive and supportive parents
Last year I read No Filters and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado which also featured a teen girl lying to the internet. It’s interesting seeing how each author depicts teenagers and their relationship to our social media-saturated world. This book is much lighter with the repercussions, which is odd because the stakes are so much higher in this book; Eliza gets writing and job opportunities based on this no-so-truthful essay and Caz is lying to his very diehard fans.
Overall, this is an easy recommendation if you want a YA romance that is also about finding your place and building better relationships.