Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Fiction
Pages: 416
Format: Audio Book
Publication Date: June 11, 2013

Summary:  When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry.

Review: Singapore meets Gossip Girl in this fabulously fun and funny novel. I listened to it on Audiobook after he heard an NPR interview with the author. The plot is hilarious, the characters are interesting and charming, and even though it was a 15-hour audiobook, I would consider it a light read. I also highly recommend it as an audiobook because there’s so much dialogue with lots of Chinese words and saying that I can’t pronounce so it was a joy to listen to. The cultural insight was brilliant because this is not a part of Asia that many people hear about in the mainstream media. I enjoyed learning about this side of Chinese culture for the same reasons people love reading celebrity gossip: it’s entertaining.

I love that Rachel gets thrown into this amazing and glittering world that doesn’t seem to line up with her long-time boyfriend, Nick. Back in Singapore, he’s a big-shot on the radar of all the eligible ladies of Singapore. Rachel’s character reacted to the situations and people in a really unique way. She isn’t completely overwhelmed but she isn’t impervious either. It was a rich balance that I think is normally very difficult to hit when a character faces a bizarre, new scenario. This mix of shock and maturity that Rachel maintains is refreshing and helped her as a character. It also made the other characters react to her in interesting ways, such as the girls trying to get under her skin.

Overall, it was a fun story with delightful characters and the audiobook was very well performed. I enjoyed it as one of my summer reads and I would enjoy listening to the audiobook again.

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