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Sugar and Spice
Sugar and Spice
February 15, 2024
Carrie
Carrie
February 15, 2024

Book Review: The Dos and Donuts of Love

Book+Review%3A+The+Dos+and+Donuts+of+Love

Adiba Jagirdar has been known for her young adult romance novels that explore the intersectionality of being Bengali and queer since 2020. After branching out with a historical adventure in 2022, she released The Dos and Donuts of Love last year. It’s a punny, wholesome story following Shireen (SHA-rin), a teenage contestant on the Junior Irish Baking Show. The catch is that she is competing with her newly-ex girlfriend, Chris, as well as a cute ginger called Niamh (NEE-ve). This makes for a story full of complex characters, reality television twists, and delectable desserts.

First of all, most books about both baking and love are cute but predictable, and readers choose them for smiles as opposed to suspense. Sure enough, after Shireen’s first time on the set of the Junior Irish Baking Show, I thought I knew where this book was going, from which girl she’d end up with to who would win the competition. I kept reading for the mouth-watering descriptions of donuts and wow, was I surprised! The Dos and Donuts of Love reads like watching a baking show: drama, both in and out of the kitchen, but not too much that it takes away from the sweetness. In other words, the conflicts were well-balanced between on-set scandals and interpersonal relationships. Each episode of the baking show added another will-they won’t-they moment with both love interests, and all of the chaos around Shireen gave her a realistic path to becoming a confident baker and a thoughtful, self-aware friend.

Another aspect of The Dos and Donuts of Love that I deeply appreciate is the positive, casual representation of a (self-described) fat, queer, Bengali girl, which normalizes joy for protagonists like Shireen. In the early chapters of the book, Shireen mentions that the Bengali community presents conflicting messages about food and weight, but she loves her body. It’s as simple as that, and her weight is not an issue for the remainder of the book. Similarly, her sexuality is never a source of stress. Although Shireen kept her relationship with Chris a secret from her parents, it was simply because of their rival businesses. Shireen has no angst about liking girls and no dramatic coming-out scene. Finally, while Shireen receives online hate for her nationality from some viewers of the Junior Irish Baking Show which in turn affects certain character relationships, the book calls out this racism, and Shireen continues to be proud of her Bengali heritage. Shireen’s confidence shows readers that while being fat, queer and Bengali are integral aspects of her identity, they do not limit her success and happiness as a baker and beyond. Fat, queer, Bengali girls live complicated and beautiful lives like everyone else. This book inadvertently tells the fat, queer, Bengali girls of the world that they are special, interesting, beautiful, normal, and worthy of being the main character.

Overall, The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jagirdar is remarkable because of both its engaging plot and the essential representation it provides. Whether you are looking for a fluffy but fresh romance, a story of succulent sweets, or a book that normalizes characters with intersecting identities, The Dos and Donuts of Love is definitely a do.

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Eliza Gobin, Lion's Roar Staff

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