I picked up The Donut Trap, put it down and then came back to it. Initially, it was presented as a romance, and it really isn’t, so I had to recalibrate my expectations. It is an absolutely lovely, nuanced, coming of age story, and I’m so glad I read it.
Jasmine Tran is a recent college graduate who has stagnated. She barely managed her degree and instead of starting a career and blazing a trail, she is living at home and working in her parents’ donut shop, Sunshine Donuts. She doesn’t know what she wants to do. She doesn’t know how to be the person she thinks she is supposed to be or who her parents think she is supposed to be. Hanging over her uncertainty is the weight of everything her parents have sacrificed to give her a better life.
Meanwhile she is ignoring the group chat of her high school friends who she thinks are doing a better job of being an adult. Mostly Jasmine works and talks to her college roommate, Linh. But Linh is about to move across the country and start law school. Though everything is not coming up roses for Jasmine, she slowly works on making it better. When inspired, she takes initiative, giving us a look at the person Jas will be when she lets go of the burden she has taken on herself.
I loved the way Julie Tieu brought out the complexity and push pull of Jasmine’s relationship with her parents, and her feelings about herself in relation to them. The love between them shines through even as they do not understand each other. I really loved that no one changes dramatically. Small changes and adjustments make huge differences.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley and Avon. My opinions are my own.