When you think of the perfect romance book what do you think? Fake dating? bookstore dates? A bad boy? Well, if you are in the mood for all those things and don’t mind a YA romance check out Counting Down with You.
Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan is an adorable romance featuring a Bangladeshi teen, the school bad boy, and lots of book dates.
Karina Ahmed tries her best to please her parents, even if it means sacrificing her dreams and social life. So when Karina’s parents leave for vacation to Bangladesh, she feels like she can finally breathe. Then when Karina’s teacher asks her to tutor resident bad boy Ace Klyde, she’s hesitant, especially when he’s absent for their first session.
But when Ace shows up for the following session and they get to know each other. Karina knows she made the right choice. Until Karina has dinner at the Klyde house and Ace tells his family they’re dating. Naturally, Karina needs convincing and Ace volunteers to buy her a dozen books a week in exchange.
And Ace turns out to be a better fake boyfriend than Karina could have hoped for, bringing her coffee, buying her sweets, and helping calm her anxiety. But Karina’s convinced it’s all for show, and Ace doesn’t have feelings for her. Besides, her parents are set to return to the country soon, and her life will return to normal. However, does Karina want to return to her old life?
There were many times in this book where I wanted to scream at Karina and tell her Ace is in love with you, stop overthinking, but I think that’s a normal reaction when reading romance stories. Especially Young adult romance.
Mental health is a big part of this story, and because of Karina’s home life, she really goes through a lot of stress. I think the book does a great job of highlighting that issue.
I did like the way Karina’s anxiety was woven into the story. Karina deals with her sudden bursts of anxiety by counting down. This simple grounding technique works well for Karina and could work for readers diving into the story.
Karina deals with her anxiety for the majority of this story, but Ace reminds her to take a few breaths now and then. When Ace and Karina start dating, her anxiety doesn’t disappear, nor does Ace shelter the burden, instead Karina continues to deal with it on her own. I liked this aspect because although Ace does come off as a Prince charming with his money, good looks, and sense of humor, all he can do is provide support. This helps to ground the story in reality and strays the story away from a perfect ending.
Also, Karina’s not only counting down to soothe herself, but she’s also counting down the days until her parents return from vacation, and since her parents cause a lot of her stress, I thought this was an ironic twist.
I recommend Counting down with you if you’re looking for a Wattpad reminisce story (which is not a bad thing!) Muslim rep, Bangladesh teen, strict parents rep, anxiety rep, and a bad boy- smart girl love story.
CW: sexism, strict parents, panic attacks, anxiety, dysfunctional family
What contemporary romance should I add to my list? I’m always open to recommendations.
until next time readers I’ll be living in libros,
More Fake dating book recs!
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