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Café Con Lychee | Emery Lee | Book Review

In Café Con Lychee, Theo Mori and Gabi Moreno are no strangers to competition. They are both on the soccer team, each having their own level of play. Theo is the savior of the team while Gabi is lucky if he remembers to tie his shoes properly before a game. These two characters are also in competition outside school with their parents cafés. The cafés sell different products but, are constantly feeling the pressure to out do each other. A new sense of pressure arrives when a fusion café opens nearby and starts stealing their patrons. The two boys begrudgingly come together to figure out a plan to save the cafés.

Theo and Gabi have completely different personalities. Theo is gruff and filled with so much anger. Gabi is more withdrawn afraid to live his truths. He doesn’t want to play soccer but, he is doing so please his father. Growing up in a Puerto Rican family there is no room for error. Similarly, Theo is part of an Asian American family with certain expectations. Both boys are receiving so much pressure and this pressure is bleeding into their dynamic.

This book is told in alternating perspectives which allows the reader to get to know these characters. It also allows you to see the characters as they really are without a mask. This is a slow burn enemies to lovers. There is bantering and a touch of tension between them. The problem for me was their characteristics didn’t feel fully fleshed out. Theo was angry, angry, angry lashing out at whoever gets in his path. This got tiresome relatively quickly. Gabi’s lack in personality wasn’t much better. He was so eager to please. His father was also really problematic and was very surface level macho behavior.

There is a bit of food humor thrown in the out the book which does help break things up a bit. I think there were just too many angsty scenes for me to really enjoy it. Things also felt a bit unreal overall. I really couldn’t see how their plan would actually come to fruition Or be kept so secretive with social media. Maybe I’m just thinking too in depth about all of this.

I wanted to enjoy Café Con Lychee with the premise of two gay characters who had to work together to save their parents cafés. Unfortunately, the premise did not pan out anything like I though it would. It all just felt uneven and never really became fully fleshed out. Like I said though I may be overthinking this entire thing.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher 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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