After graduating college, Jasmine Tran finds herself single and jobless. She moves back in with her parents to help them run their 25-year-old donut shop and falls into a life of monotony; she fills her weekly calendar with things like New Movie Monday, New Music Tuesday, and Reading Wednesday so that she has something to look forward to. She feels trapped in a loop of dread. When her old college crush, Alex Lai, reappears, things start to change. Jasmine is smitten by him, and he's everything her parents want for her: attractive, successful, and Chinese. That is, until a family dinner goes awry, and her newfound relationship gets her parents' seal of disapproval. While Jasmine and Alex's swift romance is adorable, Jasmine's post-college struggles and feelings of uncertainty carry Tieu's thoughtful debut. The Donut Trap isn't just a tale where a boy meets a girl, and they fall in love. It's a family story in which Tieu perfectly builds tension between Jasmine and her parents as she tries to find her own path. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
A floundering heroine struggles to create a meaningful life for herself outside of her immigrant parents' expectations in Tieu's meandering debut. Jasmine "Jas" Tran's parents set up Sunshine Donuts in an L.A. suburb after fleeing the Khmer Rouge and immigrating to the U.S. Jas has worked there since childhood, and after burning out on the pre-med track during her senior year at UCLA, she returns to the shop full-time, giving her parents more opportunities to critique her lack of social life, career, and boyfriend. Enter Jas's old college crush, Alex Lai. The pair start dating, but Alex's own struggles with his Chinese immigrant mother lead to an unfortunate dinner argument that aggravates Jas's insecurities about her career. The narrative gives ample time to the fraught relationship between Jas and her parents, but at the expense of developing the romance between Jas and Alex, who bond over their similar traumas, but share little else. Meanwhile, the friend ex-machina through which Jas eventually finds professional fulfilment strains credulity. Still, the diverse cast and deliciously described donuts make up for some of these flaws. Readers looking for slow-paced, low-stakes romance should find plenty to enjoy. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Nov.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.
Stuck in a rut working at her parents' donut shop, Jasmine Tran finds help in the form of an old college crush, but when their relationship doesn't work out, she must scheme to find a solution and get herself out of the donut trap.Review by Publisher Summary 2
Stuck in a rut working at her parents’ donut shop, Jasmine Tran finds help in the form of an old college crush, but when their relationship doesn’t work out, she must scheme a solution to get herself out of the donut trap once and for all. Original. 50,000 first printing.Review by Publisher Summary 3
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.