Cafe Con Lychee

Café Con Lychee

by Emery Lee
Published on May 10, 2022
Pages: 320
Format: eBook Source: Library

Theo Mori and Gabriel Moreno have always been at odds. Their parents own rival businesses—an Asian American café and a Puerto Rican bakery—and Gabi’s lack of coordination has cost their soccer team too many games to count.
Stuck in the closet and scared to pursue his own dreams, Gabi sees his parents’ shop as his future. Stuck under the weight of his parents’ expectations, Theo’s best shot at leaving Vermont means first ensuring his parents’ livelihood is secure.
So when a new fusion café threatens both shops, Theo and Gabi realize an unfortunate truth—they can only achieve their goals by working together to cook up an underground bakery operation and win back their customers. But can they put aside their differences long enough to save their parents’ shops or will the new feelings between them boil over?

This book was fun. Gabi and Theo have both been raised to think that the other’s family is their family’s enemy. They both have restaurants that are barely holding on. They are the only “ethnic” restaurants in a small Vermont town. Now both of them are threatened by a new cafe that is making super-Instagrammable fusion dishes.

With both sets of parents burnt out, Gabi and Theo each decide to try to save the family businesses. They want to prove that they can change and adapt but stay true to their cultural cuisines.

Theo is gay and out. Gabi is gay and in the closet because of his family’s homophobia. The book looks at how each family reacts to their son’s sexuality. Both Theo and Gabi have internalized messages from their families that may or may not be what their families really think. The importance of open communication is emphasized.

This book isn’t perfect. I don’t really think their plan could have worked and not had anyone notice for as long as it did. But it is a cute gay teen Romeo and Juliet story with some food thrown in.