ARC Review: The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu

  • Title: The Donut Trap
  • Author: Julie Tieu
  • Publisher: Avon
  • Release Date: 11/2/21
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★

They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I was intrigued immediately byThe Donut Trap when I saw its adorable cover that features two people sitting on a pink sprinkled donut. My absolute favorite genre of novel is romance that involves food and/or baking. Because of that, I knew that The Donut Trap was going to be right up my alley, and I was right.

Jasmine Tran is a recent UCLA grad living at home and working in her parents’ donut shop, Sunshine Donuts. Her parents are constantly asking her why she doesn’t have a boyfriend and are worried that she will never get married. She longs to find a different job, but she isn’t quite sure what she wants to do with her life. One day, through her friend, Linh, Jasmine is reunited with her college crush, Alex Lai, and she starts to be more hopeful.

It is easy to relate to Jasmine’s struggles as a recent college graduate. I think many of us feel a little lost as we enter the world of adulthood and the workforce. It certainly is tempting to stay in the comfort of the known as Jasmine does. I was glad to see her expanding her horizons beyond her rut of “New Music Mondays” and “Thirst Trap Thursdays.” I wanted to give her a hug and reassure her that it’s okay if she needs a little time to find the right path.

I loved Jasmine and Alex’s relationship. It is very sweet that they liked each other in college without realizing it that their feelings were mutual.They can tease each other and laugh together, but it is always clear that they care about one another. I loved that they each tried to learn more about what the other person cares about. Alex takes Jasmine to a Dodgers game because he knows she loves baseball, and Jasmine goes on several hikes because Alex enjoys hiking. Their relationship feels “right” even though it goes through some rocky points throughout the book.

The Donut Trap also delves into how complicated family relationships can be. Jasmine feels pressure from her parents to find a certain kind of job and to date a certain kind of boy that led to self-destructive behavior and lies. Jasmine and her brother, Pat, share a poignant moment when Pat tells her that he wants to help her but that she’s never asked him for everything. Alex has a tense relationship with his mother that makes him feel like he has to mislead her about Jasmine, which in turn causes friction in Alex and Jasmine’s relationship.

You will absolutely want a donut after (or while) reading this book. I definitely wanted to try the matcha and black sesame donuts that Jasmine encourages her parents to serve at Sunshine Donuts. The shop’s regulars like Sam, who always orders a medium coffee (and pays with pennies when he’s first introduced) really come alive through brief appearances in the story. The reader really gets a sense of the shop and its patrons. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately centered around small family owned businesses, and it is reminding me how important it is to find and support those local businesses.

I highly recommend grabbing a donut and a copy of The Donut Trap when it is released in November.

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