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.
I have been hearing so much about Kevin Kwan's debut novel Crazy Rich Asians that I decided to pick it up for my book review after many months (it's been more than a year!) of hiatus.
Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu, an ABC (American Born Chinese) economics professor, living with her boyfriend Nick in New York. After five years of dating, he suggests that they spend their summer vacation in Singapore, the place where he grew up.
As she arrives in the Lion City, she finds out that not only Nick is rich, he is also an heir of a massive fortune. Rachel is swept into a different world as she steps inside the world of the wealthy while dealing with family drama, gossips and her relationship.
This novel is simply hilarious. It was like Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey, but mostly set in Asia. One of the reasons that I finally picked up this book after avoiding it for so long is because it is set in a city that is close to my heart.
I love how Kevin Kwan describes everything with details (special mention for the footnotes!) whether it might be about Singapore and its history, food (I can't wait to try out those places mentioned in my next trip!) bags, clothes and even their personal jets.
The story is told in first person POV, which also gets confusing because there are many characters in this novel that it was quite difficult to keep track. (I had to check the family tree so many times!) There were chapters which I felt was unnecessary and thought of them as filler chapters.
For a main character, Rachel wasn't too interesting. The other characters overshadowed her and also Nick, who was too passive. As for memorable characters - I can think of Astrid (Nick's cousin), Eleanor (Nick's mother who reminds me of someone I know) and Peik Lin (Rachel's friend).
All in all, Crazy Rich Asians was a fun, light read. It was like a candy I don't usually like but found myself devouring it.
The book's sequel is already out and called China Rich Girlfriend, while the third installment (Kevin Kwan has confirmed it as a trilogy), Rich People Problems will be released sometime this year. Crazy Rich Asians is also set to be adapted as a movie.
Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Chic Lit, Comedy, Romance