ARC Review: Café Con Lychee



SERIES: Standalone

REPRESENTATION: gay Asian (Chinese & Japanese) American MC, gay Puerto Rican MC

GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Contemporary Romance


First: Just looks at how cute this cover is! The artist has done an amazing job with the bold colours and the colour scheme. As a May release, this just looks perfect for summer reading!

Onto the book itself — CAFE CON LYCHEE is an enjoyable high-school romance with the added angle of ‘our heroes need to safe their parents’ businesses’.

I really enjoyed the establishment of Gabi and Theo’s business adventure — running about between classes as secret delivery boys, and cooking up their own fusion creations. The descriptions of the snacks and drinks — whether in the Mori and Moreno’s shops, or the boys’ mixing of the two — made me want to run out and grab something to eat. Definitely one to read if you’re a bit of a foodie!

Gabi and Theo are both interesting characters, with interests and problems of their own. Personally, I struggled to get a handle on Theo for the first few chapters (where the ‘enemies-to-lovers’ part is strongest). He came across as prickly and too harsh in how he handled Gabi, but it provides for a good deal of tension between the boys. Gabi is adorable and eager to please, and my heart went out to him every time he put his foot in his mouth.

I enjoyed seeing the two boys dealing with their problems, and I feel like this is the strength of the book, rather than being overly focused on the romance. Theo has a lot of issues with feelings of inadequacy and is struggling to live up to his parents’ expectations while under his older brother’s shadow. Gabi, on the other hand, is dealing with his parents’ homophobia, a friend who’s turned into whatever the Homecoming equivalent of a Bridezilla is, and having to give up dance (the one sport he seems to really love).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and read through the majority in a single sitting.

Theo Mori wants to escape. Leaving Vermont for college means getting away from working at his parents’ Asian American café and dealing with their archrivals’ hopeless son Gabi who’s lost the soccer team more games than Theo can count.

Gabi Moreno is miserably stuck in the closet. Forced to play soccer to hide his love for dance and iced out by Theo, the only openly gay guy at school, Gabi’s only reprieve is his parents’ Puerto Rican bakery and his plans to take over after graduation.

But the town’s new fusion café changes everything. Between the Mori’s struggling shop and the Moreno’s plan to sell their bakery in the face of the competition, both boys find their dreams in jeopardy. Then Theo has an idea—sell photo-worthy food covertly at school to offset their losses. When he sprains his wrist and Gabi gets roped in to help, they realize they need to work together to save their parents’ shops but will the new feelings rising between them be enough to send their future plans up in smoke?

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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