Café Con Lychee
– Emery Lee –
Quill Tree Books
Published 10 May 2022
I fully expected to love Café Con Lychee. LGBT+ romance, enemies to lovers relationship, food, food and more food.
Theo and Gabi are enemies. Despite playing on the same soccer team, they know to keep their distance (except when Gabi is accidentally crashing into Theo on the soccer field). Their parents both run restaurants in town that compete for business. When a new café in town opens, Theo and Gabi unexpectedly and kind of against both their wishes, team up to fight to protect their families’ restaurants. What ensues is carefully timed, almost a disaster plan to get their classmates on board and brings Gabi and Theo together in way they just didn’t expect.
What is a great premise turned out to be a book that just wasn’t for me, but I hope others enjoy this novel of hijinks as the boys work out a plan to save the restaurants, which includes hiding and delivering food to their classmates during the school day. It was the negativity in this book that really got me down. It starts right from the very first chapter, which seemed to be an endless list of Theo’s complains about his life and everything in it. The writing style, the indistinct voices between our two main characters, although that got better throughout the novel, and the narration of our characters is all negative, the family relationships are negative, the friendships are particularly negative – why is Gabi even friends with Meli if he dislikes her so much?
I did enjoy the character growth though, as both boys learn to open up to each other and their friends and families about their feelings and on that front there are some happy endings to what starts as some pretty broken relationships (complaining about parents, stealing from parents, hating on them but refusing to help out, homophobia, honestly, it just kept getting worse.)
Maybe it’s just me, but I need some positivity in my life and the ending wasn’t enough to change my mind about the journey in this book. I hope others enjoy this enemies to lovers romance.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Sports, sports injury, tennis, gymnastics, athletes, friendship, matchmaking, dating, romance, best friends, chronic pain, back injuries.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Representation: Asian main character. Puerto Rican main character. LGBT+ main characters and main relationship.
Advisory: Sexual references. Frequent coarse language, f*** (47), sh** (86), pi** (28), as***** (22), di** (7), bi*** (7).
Published: 10 May 2022 by Quill Tree Books
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.