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The Donut Trap

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Julie Tieu sparkles in this debut romantic comedy, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV show Kim’s Convenience and Frankly in Love by David Yoon, about a young woman who feels caught in the life her parents have made for her until she falls in love and finds a way out of the donut trap. Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend o Julie Tieu sparkles in this debut romantic comedy, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV show Kim’s Convenience and Frankly in Love by David Yoon, about a young woman who feels caught in the life her parents have made for her until she falls in love and finds a way out of the donut trap. Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend or job prospects, Jasmine returns home to work at her parents’ donut shop. Jasmine quickly loses herself in a cyclical routine of donuts, Netflix, and sleep. She wants to break free from her daily grind, but when a hike in rent threatens the survival of their shop, her parents rely on her more than ever. Help comes in the form of an old college crush, Alex Lai. Not only is he successful and easy on the eyes, to her parents’ delight, he’s also Chinese. He’s everything she should wish for, until a disastrous dinner reveals Alex isn’t as perfect as she thinks. Worse, he doesn’t think she’s perfect either. With both sets of parents against their relationship, a family legacy about to shut down, and the reappearance of an old high school flame, Jasmine must scheme to find a solution that satisfies her family’s expectations and can get her out of the donut trap once and for all.  


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Julie Tieu sparkles in this debut romantic comedy, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV show Kim’s Convenience and Frankly in Love by David Yoon, about a young woman who feels caught in the life her parents have made for her until she falls in love and finds a way out of the donut trap. Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend o Julie Tieu sparkles in this debut romantic comedy, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV show Kim’s Convenience and Frankly in Love by David Yoon, about a young woman who feels caught in the life her parents have made for her until she falls in love and finds a way out of the donut trap. Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend or job prospects, Jasmine returns home to work at her parents’ donut shop. Jasmine quickly loses herself in a cyclical routine of donuts, Netflix, and sleep. She wants to break free from her daily grind, but when a hike in rent threatens the survival of their shop, her parents rely on her more than ever. Help comes in the form of an old college crush, Alex Lai. Not only is he successful and easy on the eyes, to her parents’ delight, he’s also Chinese. He’s everything she should wish for, until a disastrous dinner reveals Alex isn’t as perfect as she thinks. Worse, he doesn’t think she’s perfect either. With both sets of parents against their relationship, a family legacy about to shut down, and the reappearance of an old high school flame, Jasmine must scheme to find a solution that satisfies her family’s expectations and can get her out of the donut trap once and for all.  

30 review for The Donut Trap

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    For the love of donuts!🍩🍩🍩 Jasmine has worked in her parents donut shop for… well, her whole life. Even now, after college Jasmine is still expected to spend all her remaining time helping her parents run the store. As the daughter of immigrant parents, the responsibilities and expectations of her were enormous. Her own dreams, wishes and needs take a backseat. After a chance reunion with a previous college crush, Jasmine’s hopes for a real chance at happiness are re-ignited. Fingers crossed her For the love of donuts!🍩🍩🍩 Jasmine has worked in her parents donut shop for… well, her whole life. Even now, after college Jasmine is still expected to spend all her remaining time helping her parents run the store. As the daughter of immigrant parents, the responsibilities and expectations of her were enormous. Her own dreams, wishes and needs take a backseat. After a chance reunion with a previous college crush, Jasmine’s hopes for a real chance at happiness are re-ignited. Fingers crossed her family will accept him.🤞 Totally loved the premise for this book. As a daughter of an Immigrant parent I completely understood the extra pressures Jasmine faced. I just would have liked to have felt her struggle to come into her own a bit more. The romance also was a bit lacking. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Jasmine and her new beau. It came off as an awkward romance.🤷🏻‍♀️ This is definitely a contemporary, women’s fiction novel. But I’d be hard pressed to classify it as romance. Just my opinion. There are many reviews that felt the 💞 that I missed. Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to libro.fm

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meg Cabot

    Loved this book! Such a cute romance, but the main character navigating her way through life after college was what REALLY hit home for me! So dead on. And her family was to die for. I want to live in LA and run a donut shop now (but with her family, not mine. Love you fam, but no).

  3. 4 out of 5

    L.A.

    3.5* Why would you choose this book? Because this girl loves donuts🍩 Jasmine portrays her Asian culture in a dynamic pledge to her immigrant family. When their little donut shop faces financial difficulties due to a rent increase, she finishes college and chooses to put her career on hold and work for them. The devotion to her parents is hard to find in our society. Jasmine's parents have expectations, including her dating experiences. She hid the fact she had dated someone, but now they want to 3.5* Why would you choose this book? Because this girl loves donuts🍩 Jasmine portrays her Asian culture in a dynamic pledge to her immigrant family. When their little donut shop faces financial difficulties due to a rent increase, she finishes college and chooses to put her career on hold and work for them. The devotion to her parents is hard to find in our society. Jasmine's parents have expectations, including her dating experiences. She hid the fact she had dated someone, but now they want to arrange a relationship to a cousin. This is where the loyalty ends. Without disrespecting them, her best friend reminds her of all the friends she could fix her up with to go through her social media and see if she finds anyone she might be interested in. That's when "window guy" comes into place. His real is Alex, also Chinese, and she knows him from washing windows at her college. She is totally interested in him. After a failed family dinner with both sets of parents, she is rethinking her dating experience. This is a cute rom-com, although it is lacking in romance, LOL....but it was a fun, decent read. Thanks NetGalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for this request in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lacey (laceybooklovers)

    3.5 stars! The romance could've been stronger but I really enjoyed reading about a 2nd-generation Chinese-American immigrant heroine, her mess of a life, and her parents' donut shop. 3.5 stars! The romance could've been stronger but I really enjoyed reading about a 2nd-generation Chinese-American immigrant heroine, her mess of a life, and her parents' donut shop.

  5. 5 out of 5

    aarya

    2021 Spring Bingo (#SpringIntoLoveBingo🌷): Flowers Content Notes: (view spoiler)[references to Khmer Rouge and alcoholism (heroine once fainted due to alcohol poisoning during college). (hide spoiler)] Not recapping the premise or plot, but here are my main takeaways: I went into THE DONUT TRAP with completely wrong expectations, realized my mistake halfway through, recalibrated, and ended up enjoying it. The story excels at two things, which are so good that it makes up for my main critique/ 2021 Spring Bingo (#SpringIntoLoveBingo🌷): Flowers Content Notes: (view spoiler)[references to Khmer Rouge and alcoholism (heroine once fainted due to alcohol poisoning during college). (hide spoiler)] Not recapping the premise or plot, but here are my main takeaways: I went into THE DONUT TRAP with completely wrong expectations, realized my mistake halfway through, recalibrated, and ended up enjoying it. The story excels at two things, which are so good that it makes up for my main critique/frustration with the book. 1) The tension between first gen immigrant parents and Americanized 2nd gen children who can barely speak their parents' language. Jasmine's parents have Chinese ancestry but grew up in Cambodia, fleeing the Khmer Rouge to stay with relatives in Vietnam before moving to the USA as refugees. I've often thought that balancing this tension without villainizing the parents is a hard, hard task for writers. Julie Tieu executes it perfectly. Despite every resentful aside that crosses Jasmine's mind, she genuinely adores her parents. She chafes under their expectations while appreciating their sacrifices. There are no villains or heroes here: both Jasmine and her parents mess up and (understandably, if wrongly) say cruel things. There is a huge experiential/communication gap as both parties struggle to be honest with each other and voice their feelings in a way that the other party can understand in their non-fluent language. I never felt that the dynamic was toxic or unfixable. Families are hard, immigrant families doubly so. I don't want to spoil all the parts I loved, but this was the best part of the book and I was so impressed by the nuances. I can't perfectly grasp Jasmine's specific diasporic narrative as it's not my cultural background, but there were enough "yep, this part is familiar " twinges to affect me emotionally. I understood the subtext. I should have been able to keep up and toughen up. To her, it was a simple observation, a matter of fact. To me, it was yet another unnecessary reminder that my life, my work will always pale in comparison to those of my parents. I knew this very well. It didn’t bear repeating. Wasn’t that the point, though? Wasn’t that the narrative for every immigrant and refugee who had come to the United States? To come and build a better, safer life for yourself and your family? If the measure of success was that I was living a more comfortable, easier life than they had, then why was I simultaneously penalized for it? These questions rang in my head, but they were better left unspoken unless I wanted to add inconsiderate and ungrateful to my list of shortcomings. 2) Jasmine as a 22 year old mess, both in college and post-graduation. The feeling of helplessness, of lacking skills, of wondering why all your high school friends are moving on to exciting careers while you're despairing what the point of college even was... yeah. Julie Tieu really nailed it, lolsob. Maybe you won't relate if you haven't gone through this specific post-graduate languishing, but I sure as hell did. “It's hard to talk positively about something that I had to do, you know? Am I happy that I helped bring more business to the shop? Yeah, but it’s a means to an end. Even this job—which I’m not qualified for—is just a way to get out of the shop, but I know I can’t say that when they ask me why I’m interested in working there or what my passion is. What is my fucking passion, anyway? Breaking out of the shop without my parents questioning all my life choices? Which is fucking ironic considering all my life choices have revolved around the things they wanted. It’s all bullshit.” The weakest part of THE DONUT TRAP is... and it feels weird to say this... the romance. Don't get me wrong. It is cute. I like Alex! I like Alex and Jasmine together! I like reading about their dates! I like their flirty texts and teasing! But the romance just wasn't AS good as my first two points. Alex, in particular, feels like an opaque character. It feels like Jasmine's parents are on page longer (or at least equivalent) compared to the love interest. Alex is literally in another continent for the last third of the book. This is all fine, but not exactly what I expected. Then I recalibrated THE DONUT TRAP as a new adult, post-graduation coming-of-age story with a cute romantic arc. There are a few kissing scenes and a closed-door sex scene in the end. It's much more enjoyable if you consume the book via this lens. Notes re: minor frustrations that didn't affect my rating: - casual use of the ableist word "spaz" (heroine uses it to call herself clumsy). I really hope the word can be edited out in the next six months because most people I talked to agreed that the usage is offensive/unacceptable (similar to ret*ard, imo). Maybe people use it casually, but they really shouldn’t. - spoilery complaint: (view spoiler)[I don't understand how Jasmine can get a job without ANY interview, especially in a media/magazine company... Like, I don't care how good your references are or if you know the person who currently has the job you applied for. Not a single interview to personally make a good impression on the hiring manager/boss of the magazine! As someone who is in her early twenties and has ample experience in applying to jobs/internships, I maintain this setup is impossible. I will happily argue with anyone who says otherwise. I get that there's no time to put an interview on-page, so make it off-page then! (hide spoiler)] - There is a very weird, off-the-cuff remark where the hero says that he accessed the heroine's laptop (without permission and when she wasn't in her room) to enable her FaceTime settings. Um. WTF? This is a very odd and upsetting sentence that has zero relevance to the plot. I would be incredibly angry if someone changed a laptop setting without my knowledge! Just... edit this out, please. - There are a lot of pop culture references (which didn't personally bother me because I am ambivalent) but I wonder if THE DONUT TRAP was first written 3ish years ago because some of it felt... casually dated. Just a sense that I got (you might disagree with me! I’m no expert). There are a few basic errors I caught — not a big deal, but the details have to make sense if you're going to include a pop culture reference. For example, the narrator says that one day she listened to a "Taylor Swift album that dropped out of nowhere." Look, I don't know if this is a no-pandemic AU universe or set in summer 2019 (I suspect it is, because there's a reference to the song Despacito being popular two years ago). But Taylor Swift's only surprise albums are folklore and evermore in 2020, two albums that would not exist without a pandemic. Unless I wildly misread the book, there is no pandemic in THE DONUT TRAP! I swear I'm trying not to be nitpicky, but there are enough strange references/errors where I was like... huh, how does this work with the timeline, then? I'm not going to list them all in this review, but this aspect can benefit another edit. If you're going to use pop culture to flesh out your worldbuilding, the details have to make sense! Otherwise it's just going to irk readers who are familiar with that specific piece of pop culture. I also think some clarity wrt the year can be helpful. Is it summer 2019? Why not just say so, instead of vaguely alluding to songs being relevant two years ago (presumably in 2017, as that's when the song came out)? *** I know my annoyances seem like a lot, but the voice and strengths of THE DONUT TRAP make it a four-star read for me. Certainly not devoid of flaws, but I had a lot of fun reading this debut. Excited to see what Julie Tieu writes next! Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    The Donut Trap is a decent read but I think it would have benefitted from fully developed storylines. It's a shame because the author brought some interesting things to the table but it just didn't have a top-notch presentation. Part of the problem is it is difficult to define whether the book falls in the romance genre or if it's a coming of age story. It just drifts from one thing to the next. Jasmine Tran graduated college but with no job prospects, she is back to working at her parents' donut The Donut Trap is a decent read but I think it would have benefitted from fully developed storylines. It's a shame because the author brought some interesting things to the table but it just didn't have a top-notch presentation. Part of the problem is it is difficult to define whether the book falls in the romance genre or if it's a coming of age story. It just drifts from one thing to the next. Jasmine Tran graduated college but with no job prospects, she is back to working at her parents' donut shop. She really hasn't pinpointed what she wants to do with her life, but she knows this ain't it. Unfortunately, with the shop financially struggling she can't up and quit and leave her parents in a lurch. Perhaps, thing will eventually turn around in her favor especially when she runs into her college crush, Alex Lai. Right off the bat, I loved the donut shop setting and was kinda impressed with my restraint in not making a donut run while reading this book. I also was into the chemistry between Jasmine and Alex in the beginning. However, by the end I didn't care one way or the other if they were going to make it as a couple. The issue for me was when the story shifted away from the romance and moved towards Jasmine's relationship with her immigrant parents and her feeling lost when it came to having a career outside of the shop. I think it's great to add substance to a romance but I found it lacking in proper execution. It's pretty far into the story before I was able to get a better sense of why Jasmine was struggling post-college. And even then I can't say I fully understood everything about her and that has more to do with how she was written than anything else. An okay read but it is slightly disappointing as the potential was there for something special but it fell a bit short. Thank you to Avon for providing me with a copy! All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    emma

    few things get my attention more than donuts. in books and in life

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sasa

    I was really hyped for this book. Readers are so rarely treated to Southeast Asian stories centered around characters with a complex heritage. I'm not sure if it's Own Voices in that aspect because the author says in her bio that she's Chinese and born and raised in SoCal. I definitely feel the culture of San Gabriel Valley in this novel because I was raised there and it felt like The Donut Trap was made for me. Everything from the food, language, and the family mannerisms—it's everything us Sou I was really hyped for this book. Readers are so rarely treated to Southeast Asian stories centered around characters with a complex heritage. I'm not sure if it's Own Voices in that aspect because the author says in her bio that she's Chinese and born and raised in SoCal. I definitely feel the culture of San Gabriel Valley in this novel because I was raised there and it felt like The Donut Trap was made for me. Everything from the food, language, and the family mannerisms—it's everything us Southeast Asian kids could relate to. Unfortunately, those were its only strengths. The "slice of life/coming of age" genre is usually my cup of tea, but this was bloated with awkward lulls while the reader is trapped inside Jasmine's mind (the protagonist). When men enter her life, she becomes manic, irrational, and creepy. For example, she broke a ton of work protocols to search for an attractive customer's personal information which is just like...don't do that??? She has an equally unhinged, invasive, steamroller for a friend who encourages this kind of behavior. Jasmine's thoughts read like a chaotic YA protagonist's but written in the style of Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot. To some, this may be appealing but it was a tremendous slog for me to get through. There was also a disappointing lack of romance considering that's how the book was being marketed. I often found the parents and their love to be more interesting than the main character's—which is something I shouldn't be feeling considering they're the reason for much of the conflict! I appreciate that this book exists. Had I read it in the 2000's, I would have been smitten. Unfortunately, it doesn't do it as a 2021 novel. It could be great as an indie movie script but that's wishful thinking. I'll continue to keep an eye out for Julie Tieu's future projects because I really appreciated the memories and emotions she brought out in me, reminding me of my childhood in San Gabriel Valley. At worst, The Donut Trap is a book with a desire to be more than its meandering moments. At best, it's a beautiful love letter to working class, Southeast Asian immigrant parents.

  9. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    read on my blog rep: Chinese-Cambodian-American protagonist and side characters, Chinese-American love interest, Vietnamese-American side character; (Chinese-Cambodian-American author) Alex and I shared more than a mutual attraction. After Sunday’s revelation, I saw him as someone trying to figure out himself and his place in his family, just like me. How could I not have a soft spot for that? As soon as I heard about this book when it was announced, I knew I had to read it! That desire tur read on my blog rep: Chinese-Cambodian-American protagonist and side characters, Chinese-American love interest, Vietnamese-American side character; (Chinese-Cambodian-American author) Alex and I shared more than a mutual attraction. After Sunday’s revelation, I saw him as someone trying to figure out himself and his place in his family, just like me. How could I not have a soft spot for that? As soon as I heard about this book when it was announced, I knew I had to read it! That desire turned out to be worth it because I absolutely adored this book. The Donut Trap follows Jasmine as she strikes up a romance with her old college crush, tries to keep her parents’ shop afloat, and most importantly, escape the donut trap. A year after graduating from college, Jasmine Tran is back living at home, working at her parents’ donut shop. Although they continually nag her about finding a job and a boyfriend, she struggles to find something she wants to do, much as she hates working at the shop. Change comes when her friend Linh sets her up with her once college crush, Alex. Her parents disapprove of him, so she has to see him in secret while also helping keep the store afloat and trying to find another job. From the very first page of this book, I was hooked. Jasmine’s voice shines off the page, and I heavily related to so many of her worries and experiences. She’s also so funny! You can’t help but root for her. This is Tieu’s debut, and I absolutely can’t wait to read more from her! While this book is published as an adult title, I think it would benefit from also being shelved as new adult. Jasmine recently graduated from college and is struggling to find what she wants to do other than just leaving the donut shop. Also, this is a romance book and the romance is a major part of it, but it balances so many other things with the romance parts. I’ll try to expand on this in the rest of my review. read my full review here alternate review: Okay, this book doesn't come out for 7 months but I NEED to share my love for it now! I was hooked from the very first page and genuinely couldn't put it down, which is a rare feeling for me now. Jasmine was such a relatable protagonist; her voice shines off the page and I can't wait to read more from this author! While this is an adult romance, I think it would also benefit from being considered new adult. Jasmine is only a year out of college, aimless and struggling to find what she wants to do. Although the romance is a major part of this book, it also explores Jasmine's complex relationship with her refugee parents and how, even if she hates working at the donut shop, she doesn't want to let them down or leave them with so much work after they've worked so hard to provide for her and her younger brother. I will say that I mostly expected a light rom-com just from the summary, mostly because it sensationalizes some of the events in the book. I mean, everything described does happen but I feel like it plays everything up. Anyways, I got something so much more multifaceted and lovely on top of the cute romance that I expected. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and we're only about three months in. I can't recommend this book enough; add it to your tbr lists now! original review: this book was everything I ever needed oh my god we need more diasporic romance stories like this!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I had a good time with this book! I am somewhat impressed by the fact that I was able to resist the call of donuts despite being the fact that they were mentioned frequently throughout the story. And I do like donuts! I picked this book up because I was in the mood for something fun and light and this book fit the bill. I found this one to be a very enjoyable book. Jasmine has always worked at her parent’s donut shop. She started help This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I had a good time with this book! I am somewhat impressed by the fact that I was able to resist the call of donuts despite being the fact that they were mentioned frequently throughout the story. And I do like donuts! I picked this book up because I was in the mood for something fun and light and this book fit the bill. I found this one to be a very enjoyable book. Jasmine has always worked at her parent’s donut shop. She started helping out when she was young and now that she is out of college she is there all the time. Her parents are immigrants and have always worked hard and expected a lot of Jasmine and her brother. When it is announced that the rent on the donut shop is going up, Jasmine knows that they need to increase their revenue so she comes up with some new ideas with her brother’s help. When her path crosses with her college crush, Alex, sparks fly right away. But is he too good to be true? I liked Jasmine a lot. The romance in this book is cute but it is just a small part of Jasmine’s journey in this story. Jasmine grows a lot in this book. She takes a lot of initiative with the donut shop and has some really important conversations with her parents. She also is working to find a job and move on from the donut shop. I did like the romance in the book and thought that Jasmine and Alex made a great pair once they worked through a few things. Natalie Naudus did a great job with the narration of this book. I thought that she did a great job with these characters and I found her voice to be very pleasant to listen to for long hours at a time. I believe that her narration added to my overall enjoyment f the story. I would recommend this book to others. I found this to be a very well done and entertaining story with fantastic characters. I will be looking out for more books by this talented author. I received a copy of this audiobook from HarperAudio via Libro.fm. Initial Thoughts I liked this one quite a bit. The characters were easy to like and the narration was very well done.

  11. 5 out of 5

    elhyza

    3.5☆ — the donut trap was easily a book i found myself absorbed by with its witty relatable characters, setting locations i'm very much familiar with, fun romance and quite unexpected fast pacing. this book was definitely not romance focused completely but balanced the focus of family, love, and figuring out what to do with one's life on top of parental expectations. i do wish the romance portion was more drawn out, but nevertheless jas and alex made my whole heart burst. the drama, or big fight 3.5☆ — the donut trap was easily a book i found myself absorbed by with its witty relatable characters, setting locations i'm very much familiar with, fun romance and quite unexpected fast pacing. this book was definitely not romance focused completely but balanced the focus of family, love, and figuring out what to do with one's life on top of parental expectations. i do wish the romance portion was more drawn out, but nevertheless jas and alex made my whole heart burst. the drama, or big fight though there was multiple, hit the fan much sooner than expected and wish we got more moments of alexjas before that with how blissfully happy they were. jas' emotions toward her parents were completely understandable in some aspects, i'm proud she found her strength to be able to speak her mind more and in taking charge of her life's path despite her parents' input. o was so charmed by her best friend, linh, fellow army but who was the one able to put this whole story into motion honestly with setting her up with alex and being jas's number one supporter guiding her and being there whenever the other needed them. really would like to see more of these characters honestly with more depth and development to alexjas' relationship, how jas's dynamic with her family becomes and seeing her grow, and just her adventures with her friends and coworkers because she was just such an endearing character with the best dialogue. would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a quick read that's immersive in culture, setting, and family dynamic, charming characters and figuring yourself out with a dash of romance like frosting on top that's the best part!

  12. 5 out of 5

    gauri

    the donut trap is a sweet story about jasmine, struggling to find her footing post graduation. i could relate to her character — the parental expectations and the weird transition from college to corporate world, especially when you yourself don't know what it is that you want to do. her personal growth and familial relationships were good to read about. especially with her being a second generation asian-american immigrant child. calling this a rom-com is misleading to be honest, its more of a c the donut trap is a sweet story about jasmine, struggling to find her footing post graduation. i could relate to her character — the parental expectations and the weird transition from college to corporate world, especially when you yourself don't know what it is that you want to do. her personal growth and familial relationships were good to read about. especially with her being a second generation asian-american immigrant child. calling this a rom-com is misleading to be honest, its more of a coming of age novel with alex and jasmine's romance on the side. its cute, has some adorable moments but also the predictable romance tropes. my gripe would be that this novel didn't really stand out for me — alex and jasmine resolving their breakup was rushed through (heck even their interactions felt off sometimes) and the narrative fell flat in places. i felt like jasmine wasn't trying to keep her life going in some instances. overall i think this is pretty good for a debut, not something amazing but enjoyable if you're in the mood for something like this novel. thank you edelweiss & harper collins for the arc!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    I received an arc from Avon Books and Harper Audio for review Jasmine Tran is trying to find her place in the world like most 20s somethings. She's living with her parents and working at their donut shop while she tries to find a job after college. She also ends up reconnecting with Alex, a guy from her college who she wanted to get to know but couldn't find the courage to. Alex checks off all her expectations for her perfect guy. He's cute, he's Chinese, and he has a good job. Jasmine is awkward I received an arc from Avon Books and Harper Audio for review Jasmine Tran is trying to find her place in the world like most 20s somethings. She's living with her parents and working at their donut shop while she tries to find a job after college. She also ends up reconnecting with Alex, a guy from her college who she wanted to get to know but couldn't find the courage to. Alex checks off all her expectations for her perfect guy. He's cute, he's Chinese, and he has a good job. Jasmine is awkward and a bit of a mess but endearing. She is the child of Cambodian immigrants with Chinese ancestry. It's very relatable how she navigates her more Americanized way of thinking while also taking into consideration what her parents want for her and the sacrifices they've made. She was not good at school despite how hard she studied at first and ended up going off the rails towards the end with partying and recreational drug use. I think many people can relate to finishing college and then realizing they have no clue what they want to do with their lives. Then there's the struggle of finding a job when they want you to have years of experience which you can only gain by finding a job. While she's struggling she sees her peers moving on to great careers while she's wondering what the point of college was as she works a mundane job. Due to a rent hike she finds her parents leaning on her more than ever as she has to help them elevate the shop. This is not a rom-com like the blurb suggests. And I know romance readers say this all the time about books but this was a book that didn't even feel like a romance. It was less about Jasmine and Alex's relationship and more about her personal growth and her familial relationships. I was not surprised to see it under the general fiction category on Netgalley because I definitely felt it belonged there alongside the women's fiction category. The romance is okay but it's not the focal point and it's more the driver for some of the drama with Jasmine and her parents. And then there was this meaningless reappearance of a high school ex that just wasn't necessary and very forgettable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    While this started out great and was a very enjoyable read, I just was not a fan of the romances that were introduced into the storyline because I didn’t feel like they had a lot of chemistry or shared similarities. Some of Jasmine and Alex’s actions were very frustrating and unnecessary, and Jasmine’s life got cleaned up a little too easily for me towards the end. Started out strong but had me feeling underwhelmed by the end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda at Bookish Brews

    Warning: will make you crave donuts 🍩 IN THE BEST WAY? Check out my full review here. ✨ Sweet, relatable, funny, modern romance! The Donut Trap was such a fun romcom. I was laughing right from the beginning. I completely related to Jas internal dialogue the entire time, and I was over the moon to see the small awkward moments of a young adult romance. And I totally went to the Asian owned donut shop near me while reading this, because it had me craving donuts so badly! The Donut Trap follows a 22 Warning: will make you crave donuts 🍩 IN THE BEST WAY? Check out my full review here. ✨ Sweet, relatable, funny, modern romance! The Donut Trap was such a fun romcom. I was laughing right from the beginning. I completely related to Jas internal dialogue the entire time, and I was over the moon to see the small awkward moments of a young adult romance. And I totally went to the Asian owned donut shop near me while reading this, because it had me craving donuts so badly! The Donut Trap follows a 22 year old Jasmine, who has recently graduated college and is back working at her parents’ donut shop while she decides what she wants to do with her life. But getting a job or a boyfriend isn’t so easy when your parents are constantly nagging you about it. Until the universe (or her best friend Linh) seems to be putting Alex, a long lost chance encounter crush from college, back in her path. I was so happy to see the Southeast Asian representation in this book. I say that we don’t see that enough, but I’ve been reading so much of Southeast Asian rep that my soul feels more full. Jasmine’s family escaped Cambodia, lived in Vietnam for a while before finally making it to their final destination, Southern California. They opened a donut shop and have been running it for all of Jas’ life. I loved reading about the donut shop, because I’ve been in many donut shops that are exactly like the one described. I had to go to the Asian owned donut shop near me, where they had some of the same exact specialty donuts mentioned in the book. I was overwhelmed and it was so fun to feel like I was walking directly into this book. The descriptions of the shop and the family were so perfect, I knew exactly what to picture. I loved it. Read more... *I received this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily* Bookish Brews | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr

  16. 4 out of 5

    book bruin

    This was a cute book, but sadly I didn't love it as much as I hoped. I went into it expecting a fun and sweet romance and it actually ended up being more of a coming of age novel with a side of romance. I really related to and identified with Jasmine's struggle with her family and familial expectations. That aspect of the novel was written so well and many of the situations depicted in the novel mirrored my own personal experiences. As a Southern California native and UCLA alum, I loved seeing f This was a cute book, but sadly I didn't love it as much as I hoped. I went into it expecting a fun and sweet romance and it actually ended up being more of a coming of age novel with a side of romance. I really related to and identified with Jasmine's struggle with her family and familial expectations. That aspect of the novel was written so well and many of the situations depicted in the novel mirrored my own personal experiences. As a Southern California native and UCLA alum, I loved seeing familiar landmarks pop up in the story, especially the ones related to UCLA. Unfortunately, the romance aspect of the story fell flat for me and I never felt the connection between Alex and Jasmine. Jasmine is 22 years old, but her thoughts and actions often made her seem much younger. I found myself frustrated a lot by her behavior and I also wasn't a fan of the unnecessary drama caused by her ex. There is one closed door scene, but readers should know that The Donut Trap is more about Jasmine's journey to find herself and that romance is not the focus. Audiobook Review Overall 3 stars Performance 5 stars Story 2.5-3 stars Natalie Naudus gave a fantastic performance. It was easy to distinguish between all of the different characters and I was especially impressed by how Jasmine's parents were voiced. Accents were handled with ease and I'm looking forward to listening to more audiobooks narrated by Natalie Naudus in the future. CW: mentions of escaping the Khmer Rouge and being refugees, alcohol and drug use (resulting in hospitalization), mention of fat shaming *I voluntarily read and listened to an advance review copy of this book*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    September 09, 2020: An ownvoices rom-com? working at a donut shop? reuniting with former crush? GIMME

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy W.

    The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu is a very enjoyable light, funny, multicultural romance. And with a big donut on the cover, I just couldn’t resist this book. This is more than just a romance, it’s an emotional journey for Jasmine, and a journey for her family and her relationship with her traditional hard-working family. After graduating from UCLA, Jasmine Tran is still working in her family’s donut shop in the suburbs of Los Angeles, instead of following her dreams. Except she doesn’t know what he The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu is a very enjoyable light, funny, multicultural romance. And with a big donut on the cover, I just couldn’t resist this book. This is more than just a romance, it’s an emotional journey for Jasmine, and a journey for her family and her relationship with her traditional hard-working family. After graduating from UCLA, Jasmine Tran is still working in her family’s donut shop in the suburbs of Los Angeles, instead of following her dreams. Except she doesn’t know what her dreams are, so her life is on a constant loop, of work, Netflix, and donuts. When an old college crush shows up in her shop, her life begins to change. Alex is everything she’s been looking for, and everything her parents want her to marry. He’s Chinese and fluent in Mandarin, the language of her parents. But, after dinner with Alex, her parents, and his mother turns disastrous, Jasmine is not sure Alex is the man for her or she the woman for him. But, he’s made her realize she has to get her life in order before she can This book has everything I like. A light sweet romance, a family that loves her daughter, but may not show always know how to show their love, and some fun friends to round out the story. I think a lot of people can identify with a woman who finds herself a bit lost after graduating college, and also feel indebted to her family. Jasmine has to find a way in life, and this is her story. I thought the pacing was good, and the characters were all well developed. I thought Jasmine’s relationship with her parents was complex, and Jasmine’s journey to understand herself and what she wants for herself involved understanding her complex relationship with her parents. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    The Donut Trap is deeply charming rom-com that left me hungry for some donuts ! This is perfect blend of family and romance which I find is a really hard thing to balance in a romance books. The dynamic between Alex and Jasmine had me literally grinning from ear-to-ear at points. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for good banter.) Jasmine was such a great narrator and had great humor I love. Also,their romance was adorable. Julie Tieu writing flows and shines with grace and I highly recommend this hea The Donut Trap is deeply charming rom-com that left me hungry for some donuts ! This is perfect blend of family and romance which I find is a really hard thing to balance in a romance books. The dynamic between Alex and Jasmine had me literally grinning from ear-to-ear at points. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for good banter.) Jasmine was such a great narrator and had great humor I love. Also,their romance was adorable. Julie Tieu writing flows and shines with grace and I highly recommend this heartwarming debut filled with captivating characters and an enjoyable plot. Special thanks to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Cute and quick audiobook! I really liked Jasmine. While she wasn't perfect (who is?) and she made a hell of a lot of mistakes, she owned up to them and worked on making herself better and finding her own path, while also trying to maintain close ties to her family (and donuts). As the child of Chinese immigrants, she had to balance being a first generation American and the seemingly impossible expectations of her parents, made worse by a past mistake over a year ago that lost their trust in her a Cute and quick audiobook! I really liked Jasmine. While she wasn't perfect (who is?) and she made a hell of a lot of mistakes, she owned up to them and worked on making herself better and finding her own path, while also trying to maintain close ties to her family (and donuts). As the child of Chinese immigrants, she had to balance being a first generation American and the seemingly impossible expectations of her parents, made worse by a past mistake over a year ago that lost their trust in her and made her work in the family donut shop. While I wasn't really sold on Jasmine's love interest Alex, he kinda warmed up to me, although honestly the book felt more about Jasmine's journey toward adulthood and finding her place (or a place) between American culture and the world of her parents. And, of course, navigating life after college and failed expectations/failure in general. Plus, there are many, many donuts.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yan

    3.5 stars. Cute story. Craving donuts 🍩 now!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    2.5 stars While this was a perfectly average read, I severely lost interest in the last quarter that made the story drag. I can appreciate Jas' personal development- standing up to her parents and branching out on her own, I felt like she was given a pass for a lot of the same reasons she was upset with Alex (her love interest). And the final conflict was a bit convoluted and rushed leaving the story feeling slightly unsatisfying. But with the strong family focused- though frustrating at times - 2.5 stars While this was a perfectly average read, I severely lost interest in the last quarter that made the story drag. I can appreciate Jas' personal development- standing up to her parents and branching out on her own, I felt like she was given a pass for a lot of the same reasons she was upset with Alex (her love interest). And the final conflict was a bit convoluted and rushed leaving the story feeling slightly unsatisfying. But with the strong family focused- though frustrating at times - The Donut Trap is a well balanced contemporary romance.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashlee (bookswithnopictures)

    This book is delightful and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times. There's a great supporting cast - I adore her mother! - and a good character arc for heroine, Jasmine Tran. I felt transported back home to where I grew up and wanted to be friends with Jasmine as she found her way. Jasmine is stuck. Stuck in a shop of full of sugar. Stuck with her parents. Stuck in her ritual music or TV evenings spent on her own. Her friends have moved on and her comfort zone is so appealing. But her b This book is delightful and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times. There's a great supporting cast - I adore her mother! - and a good character arc for heroine, Jasmine Tran. I felt transported back home to where I grew up and wanted to be friends with Jasmine as she found her way. Jasmine is stuck. Stuck in a shop of full of sugar. Stuck with her parents. Stuck in her ritual music or TV evenings spent on her own. Her friends have moved on and her comfort zone is so appealing. But her best friend is leaving for law school and Jasmine needs to shake it up. And she has a lot to work out. Jasmine's awkward monologues are so me and I loved them. My only disappointment, really, is that my LI choice didn't end up being "the one" and I not-so-secretly hate when I'm wrong and root for the other guy. The narration by Natalie Naudus was pretty great. I love her voice and inflections. Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for the advanced copy and Harper Audio for the alc. All thoughts in this review are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    3.5⭐ Thank you so much to Avon and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy of this. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. This sweet contemporary wasn't at all what I was expecting but it still managed to steal my heart in the end. I went into this expecting a fun rom-com, and while this had a really sweet romance in it, I hesitate to call this a romance because the focus is really on the main characters personal journey. In here we're following Jasmine, a messy and lost Gen Z'er, who is tryi 3.5⭐ Thank you so much to Avon and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy of this. All thoughts and opinions are still my own. This sweet contemporary wasn't at all what I was expecting but it still managed to steal my heart in the end. I went into this expecting a fun rom-com, and while this had a really sweet romance in it, I hesitate to call this a romance because the focus is really on the main characters personal journey. In here we're following Jasmine, a messy and lost Gen Z'er, who is trying to navigate her early 20s and find her place in her world and family. She has a strained relationship not only with herself but with her parents and their unfair expectations of her life. She feels trapped working and living with them but has no idea where to take her life after college. This book is heartfelt and raw and difficult to read at times because the things Jasmine is going through are real and frustrating. But I think it was just an accurate depiction of what it's like to be in your 20s and a little lost. I loved all the discussion of finding your place and what it's like to be the child of immigrant parents. There were so many poignant and heartfelt themes that pulled me into this story. But in the end I wanted more romance. Based on this synopsis and marketing of this book, I thought there would be so much more focus on the romance. When in fact, the date the synopsis mentions doesn't even happen until the 60% mark. And I found that somewhat frustrating. The bits of the romance we got were sweet and wonderful, but they were sporadic and infrequent. And while I liked how it ended and where the couple ended up, I was left a little disappointed by the romantic element of this book. Overall, I really loved what this book did and discussed, it just wasn't quite the book I intended when I picked it up. I would say go into this one as a familial contemporary with a hint of romance, rather than a fun, cutesy rom-com. Julie Tieu is a wonderful writer and definitely and definitely an author I will have my eye on in the future. Side note - if you're an audiobook listener, this is narrated by Natalie Naudus who is an absolutely fantastic narrator. She did such an amazing job of bringing each character to life and pulling me into this story. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy audiobooks!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shay | Books Are Magic Too

    I know I may be on the minority of romance readers who LOVE a story that gives us so much more than just the rainbows and sunshine happily ever after relationship, but for me, books like THE DONUT TRAP give me hope. Life is messy, and while I love reading for the escape, to me the best part is being able to feel like the characters are like dear friends, with character growth and troubles that I can relate to much like our main character Jasmine. Maybe it's where I'm at in my own world, but havi I know I may be on the minority of romance readers who LOVE a story that gives us so much more than just the rainbows and sunshine happily ever after relationship, but for me, books like THE DONUT TRAP give me hope. Life is messy, and while I love reading for the escape, to me the best part is being able to feel like the characters are like dear friends, with character growth and troubles that I can relate to much like our main character Jasmine. Maybe it's where I'm at in my own world, but having protagonists who struggle, not just in love but in life, and seeing how they overcome the obstacles put in their way makes the book so much more meaningful to me. While all of the things happening all at once could have seemed overwhelming - a love triangle, her relationship with her family, looking for a new job - to me Tieu wrote this heartwarming debut in a way that had me rooting for her and appreciating how each of us are so much more than just one part of our lives. Thank you to Avon Books for the advance reader copy, and for Julie + @ilashreads for organizing our loveARCtually buddy read and Zoom. I really enjoyed this one, and the glimpse at the variety of Chinese cultures and family dynamics included in this title and hearing Julie talk about her own experience made me love the book even more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I liked this! I am pretty sure I liked this more when I finished it last week and I have to get better about actually reviewing books as I finish them, but this made me hungry which is mostly what I want from bakery books.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    I see donuts, I click add to tbr. It's that simple. I see donuts, I click add to tbr. It's that simple.

  28. 5 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    3.5 Stars Review to come!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Leone-campbell

    Jasmine Tran has just graduated from college. While her friends are moving into adult life, finding a job or career, or as her best friend is doing, going to law school, Jas has come back home to help her parents in their donut shop. She has every intention of trying to find a job, once she figures out exactly what she wants to do, but unfortunately she finds her parents have become too dependent on her at their shop. So while people she went to college and high school with have moved on, she fi Jasmine Tran has just graduated from college. While her friends are moving into adult life, finding a job or career, or as her best friend is doing, going to law school, Jas has come back home to help her parents in their donut shop. She has every intention of trying to find a job, once she figures out exactly what she wants to do, but unfortunately she finds her parents have become too dependent on her at their shop. So while people she went to college and high school with have moved on, she finds herself in a depressing rut. Working long hours at the shop, going home eating dinner and then either watching television or reading, depending on the day. She feels trapped in her life, trying to please everyone, except for herself. All her mother really wants for her daughter is to get a boyfriend, get married and work at the shop. Her mother is always trying to fix her up (with distant cousins) or giving her tips on ways she can make herself more appealing (to boys). She wishes she was her brother, the apple of the Tran’s eye who can do no wrong and already has a career path but is away at school. He is difficult to be compared to. Then Jas gets worse news. The landlord of The Donut Shop has decided to raise the rent. Her parents, never business savvy, have not raised their prices in years. Jasmine now must somehow come up with a plan to save the business, on top of trying to find a job she will finally be able to call her own. But, one day, something happens which will change her life. Jasmine is accidentally reintroduced to a guy she had a chance encounter with when she was at college. She named him “window guy” back then. Hi real name is Alex Lai and he is perfect in every way. He is also Chinese which makes her parents very happy. But for Jas, nothing ever seems to go right. A disastrous dinner ensues where her parents meet Alex’s mother, and no one is happy about anyone. Jas begins to see and feel as if Alex is not quite as perfect as she once thought. What do you do when you want to grow up and don’t want to hurt the most important people in your life? Well, lie of course! So comedy and drama arises as we find Jas trying to navigate life and Alex, an old high school flame her parents never knew about, while trying to get her stubborn parents to agree to some new changes she feels will make the shop more popular. All the while secretly trying to find a job without hurting her parent’s and trying to figure out her own feelings for Alex. And a visit home by her brother does not help the situation. The Donut Trap is a wonderful funny and thoughtful story of family, love and respect. It deals with the inevitability of coming of age and growing up and making adult decisions, trying to not hurt anyone’s feelings, realizing the importance of loved ones and compromise but recognizing the importance of oneself. Thank you #NetGalley #Avon #TheDonutTrap #JulieTieu for the advanced copy. The Donut Trap will be out November 9th.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    As I am finding with many of the “rom-coms” coming out these days, this really wasn’t a rom-com. Yes, there was romance and humor, but it was mostly a story of woman trying to figure out her life. Though, I hoped for more romance, I did enjoy accompanying Jasmine on her personal journey. Post College Funk College is sold as the end all be all for succeeding in life, but many get their degree and find the real world is less than accommodating of their plans. Jasmine lost her way towards the end of As I am finding with many of the “rom-coms” coming out these days, this really wasn’t a rom-com. Yes, there was romance and humor, but it was mostly a story of woman trying to figure out her life. Though, I hoped for more romance, I did enjoy accompanying Jasmine on her personal journey. Post College Funk College is sold as the end all be all for succeeding in life, but many get their degree and find the real world is less than accommodating of their plans. Jasmine lost her way towards the end of college, and post graduation, was working in her parents’ shop and living in her parents’ home. Her best friend, and sort of only friend, was preparing to move across the country to attend law school while Jasmine was stuck in the “gotta make the donuts” loop. Tieu did a great job capturing the emotions of being adrift, and though Jasmine needed quite a big push, it was great to see her start to get her life in order. The Romance I loved the idea of fate bringing Jasmine and Alex back together. This was their second chance to act on the attraction they had for each other back in college, and how could I not love that their one meeting left such a big impression on them. I adore that sort of thing. Though Alex enjoyed professional success, he also struggle with his familial relationships. This gave the couple something meaningful to bond over and added depth to their relationship. Family Ties It was clear that Jasmine loved her family, but she often found herself struggling to connect to them. Her parents came off as stingy with affection, but it was largely related to their experience as refugees. I had so much respect for their experience, as well as the way they worked tirelessly, and Jasmine did too. It was those moments where Jasmine attempted to bridge the gap between her and her parents that I loved the most. Tieu did such a beautiful job exploring the complicated family dynamic, and she did so with warmth, kindness, and humor. I think my biggest emotional responses followed many of the family interactions. They were definitely the shining spots of this book for me. Overall: I would have enjoyed more focus on the romance, but I enjoyed this story very much. It was great seeing Jas figure her post college life out, deal with some of her past trauma, and learn to find balance. Her family wasn’t perfect, but you could tell they loved fiercely, and I am thrilled that I got to share some very sweet moments with them. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

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