Book Review: The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu

Good morning, Bookish Brews fam! I’m here with another book review for you. This is definitely another book I recommend, even though it doesn’t come out for quite some time! Go pre-order it now so you can get it when it comes out! It will definitely make you crave some donuts. 🍩

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Title: The Donut Trap
Author: Julie Tieu
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication date: November 2, 202

* I received this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily *

At a glance: A funny and sweet romance about life just after graduating college, and learning to appreciate your parents as an adult. Plus huge donut cravings!

  • romantic comedy
  • fast paced
  • easy read
  • book about food

Diversity Representation: Southeast Asian MC, Chinese love interest, Chinese American author

Content Warnings: Refugee experience, ableist language, allusions to war (specifically escaping), racism, depression, overdose

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.

I loved the relationship of Alex and his mother, and Jas and her parents. I loved that we could see two very different relationship dynamics, but with similar root problems, and that was how they could relate. I think it’s so important to read these relationships because we don’t hear about them enough. I imagine (perhaps I just would like to hope) that if narratives like this were told more often, there would be less Asian kids resenting their parents as they are growing up more American. I can’t tell you how many Asian friends I’ve had who feel the way Jas does about her parents. I’m so glad that this relationship is being explored here.

A small thing that I absolutely adored in this book was the languages. I loved that Jas parents would speak in three different languages. It was especially SO cool that because of that we were able to see the relationship between the languages through her family. We learned that her parents insisted she learn Mandarin because it was ‘proper’ and to meet a good boy, rather than their native tongue. Which was incredible to read about, because language isn’t always so black and white for who speaks what language. I couldn’t believe that kind of relationship discussion was included. It was such a treat to see the intricacies of the relationship with language in this book. I was really impressed with that!

The one thing that I didn’t love about this book was that it felt a bit jumpy. The narrative didn’t flow between chapters as well as it could have. There was one chapter break where I was extremely confused. I understood why it was done, because the build up to what happened in between the chapters was fun to read about in the aftermath… But it just didn’t flow as well as it could have, and it kind of bothered me. It didn’t lose any of the cuteness, though. It was still a great read!

The Donut Trap was a funny and sweet romance book. I loved how real the donut shop was, and how relatable Jas post-graduation situation was. The modern awkwardness in a new relationship was just so perfect, and the relationship between Jas and her parents was wonderful to read.

The aesthetic of this book is so cute! It’s loving, sweet and full of donuts! What’s better?! The whole book felt like wearing your comfy but cute fit and eating cute donuts with friends. ✨

Julie Tieu is a Chinese-American writer, born and raised in Southern California. She has a B.A. in Psychology, Minor in Education from UCLA and a M.S. in Counseling, College Counseling/Student Services from CSUN. When she is not writing or working as a college counselor, she is reading, on the hunt for delicious eats, or dreaming about her next travel adventure. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her high school crush husband and two energetic daughters.

Her debut novel, THE DONUT TRAP, is a contemporary romcom loosely inspired by the years she spent working at her family’s donut shop. For more information, visit www.julietieu.com. Follow her on Twitter @julietieu and Instagram @julietieuwrites.


Do you like sweet romances centered around desserts? Are you planning on picking up The Donut Trap?! Could you use a funny and sweet romantic comedy? I sure needed one!

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