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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 5 star ratings
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    A romcom for Passover!

    Hello, fake relationship, my favorite trope! Yes, I read a ton of these, so I’m always looking for something with a new spin on it – in this case, the fake date is for Passover, and the hero is Deaf. The author herself is Jewish and Hard of Hearing, so while I can’t speak for the rep, it’s adorably sweet, fluffy and funny. “Levi probably had come to his senses in the few hours since they’d met. Which would be fine; she’d just go back home, alone, and feel as though she were the one, instead of her ancestors, about to wander the desert for forty years in search of something familiar. Ahh, the good old days, when fleeing a Pharaoh in Egypt would undoubtedly top being single on a Jewish holiday.” I empathized so much with Gaby. Like me, Gaby doesn’t like change, and she especially doesn’t like that every time she goes home her mother has removed one more thing that reminds her of her father. She has a complicated relationship with her mom and feels pressured into being in a relationship. While her mom seemed to love her last ex, he was the absolute wrong person for her and left her feeling small and unworthy and with a lot of trust issues, and she’s not sure she’s ready for another relationship… at least until she starts fake dating Levi. Levi has his own reasons for avoiding going home for Passover, but his involve avoiding his ex-fiancee, Monica. Levi and Monica had been thrown together since they were children because Levi was Deaf and Monica was Hard of Hearing, so obviously their families think they belong together. Monica’s trying to start her own business, but for convoluted reasons, she needs their families to believe she and Levi are still together. Levi’s a people “fixer,” so he can’t quite work up the energy to tell her to knock it off with her games… at least until he starts wanting to turn his fake relationship with Gaby – who doesn’t know about Monica – into a real one. They’ve definitely got great chemistry, and I thought the tension built well. And yes, Levi’s Deafness is definitely part of him, but he didn’t feel like a caricature or token character because of it. There’s a lot in the book about how he’s left out of family traditions – and, well, basically everything – because no one thinks to make accommodations for him, and I think that could be troubling for other readers. Gaby did do her best to include him, and I loved how, in return, Levi asked Gaby what would help her cope better at home, and did his best to be a buffer between her and her mom. As you’d expect, the main issue in their “relationship” is communication – but not because he’s Deaf and she’s hearing. Levi’s an ASL professor and Gaby’s a quick learner, and there’s always texting to fall back on. In fact, the “big gesture” speech actually takes place over text (though still in-person), which added a whole other layer to it. The one thing that was a bit confusing was that Gaby spends a good part of the book thinking that Levi isn’t Jewish, though she never actually asks him and he never says he isn’t. I’m guessing this was a device to give more information about Passover to us non-Jews, in the guise of her explaining it to Levi, but it felt a bit weird to me. Levi’s already got one pretty big secret he’s keeping from her, anyway, and that’s what causes the strain in their relationship. “Gaby shook her head and rubbed the growing throbbing at her temple. “It’s Passover, are you about to torture me for forty years?” Aunt Faith put an arm around her. “You aren’t forty yet, my child, what do you think I’ve been doing since you’ve been born?” Despite everything, I loved Gaby’s family, even her interfering Aunt Faith. While her mom and Gaby have their problems, her mom is motivated by love, and they have a tearful reconciliation talk. As for cons, the ending felt rushed to me, both how Levi’s entanglement with Monica was resolved and Levi’s hiding things from Gaby. I wanted much more groveling from him than we got, especially given Gaby’s previous experience with her ex, but that might just be my particular baggage. Overall, I thought this was a delightfully fun fake relationship book, with plenty of humor and steam. I’ll definitely be looking for more books from the author in the future! I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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    Funny and Different

    Funny! Different! I think those two words aptly describe this story. Levi being deaf, and Gabby, hearing, definitely brings a new perspective to dating. There are miscommunications and periods of silence. As they interact with her family the missteps continue. The dog, Bengi, plays a motor role as ice breaker and showman. It is definitely an interesting story that opens a window in a world that is often closed to outsiders.
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    Delightful slice-of-life romance!

    As I eagerly look forward to Passover with my adult hearing-impaired children, I knew I wanted to read this one based on the premise alone. Don't worry if you're not familiar with either the holiday or the disability; this book is beautifully written to cover all the basics and focuses on the universal themes of family, love, and communication. Gaby wants to avoid the usual questions and matchmaking from her family over Passover, so she bravely asks the gorgeous guy from her gym to accompany her as her fake date. Levi has his own reasons for avoiding his family during the holiday, so he readily agrees. Thus the stage is set for these two to work out their communication issues as Levi teaches Gaby sign language and to address their undeniable chemistry that seems to have no language barrier at all. From the delightfully outspoken Aunt Faith to Gaby's protective sister, Isabelle, and all the other extended family and friends on both sides, this story is filled with memorable characters who are proof that a relationship almost always involves the whole family, especially families as close-knit as the Finebergs and the Millers. I loved every bit of this story, and appreciated the understated authenticity throughout. Levi and Gaby prove that love needs no words, and that hearts can communicate in a language of their own. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
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    Fake Date

    3.5 Stars This was a new author for me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Overall, the book had a good plot and adorable characters but there were scenes that I thought didn’t transition smoothly. I had to reread parts to figure out what was going on. I loved the characters and the “fake date” was a great storyline. The author was able to get across the difficulties people with hearing disabilities face in the daily world. It certainly made me more aware of the obstacles they must overcome and the strength of character they have. I would have liked to have a more detailed ending, maybe giving us a glance at the couple’s future. It was a fun book to read with lots of humor. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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