Beach Read: China Rich Girlfriend
What’s The Buzz?: I actually reviewed Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians last summer as an ideal Beach Read, when it was out in paperback for the first time. Why? Because apart from being a crazy soap opera of hidden identities, crazy schemes, and unrequited love, it’s also a sizzling look at Asia’s uppermost of upper crust types, including their bizarre spending idiosyncrasies. The book made quite the impact and people were begging for more – and Kwan’s delivered, with a new sequel called China Rich Girlfriend that brings back the same characters a few years later – and then some.
What’s The Plot?: China Rich Girlfriend picks up several years later after the first book, which if you haven’t read it, you may want to pass on reading this piece. Nick is still estranged from his mother, but as devoted as ever to Rachel, his wife-to-be. But before you go expecting another Araminta and Colin Khoo-style affair, think again. Instead, Rachel and Nick are whisked off to China, where Rachel finally has the opportunity to reconnect with her father. Or she would, if he were ever around. Instead, Nick and Rachel spend the summer getting to know her impulsive, wild child brother and his pseudo-girlfriend, a fashion celeb named Colette Bing. Other characters are floating around too. We check in with Astrid, Nick’s beloved and oh so chic yet under the radar cousin, and how her marriage has evolved now that her husband has made money for himself. Some of the most amusing chapters come from Kitty Pong, trashy soap opera star that’s trying to break into the upper crust with some covert training. There’s a ton of other little sideplots and visits that happen throughout as well, to keep fans of the first book happy and giddy with gossip.
Do I Have to Have Read Crazy Rich Asians?: I believe you would, yes. Two of the core storylines – Rachel and Astrid – build off of the first book. That being said, China Rich Girlfriend is NOT a retread of the first book, nor is it as sequential as say, a YA trilogy series. It’s the same group of characters plus plenty of fresh faces, and it takes place in the same uber wealthy world, but it’s basically a new story, with new intrigue. A lot of the characters from the first book take a back seat here, but that’s what makes it so great – Kwan has tons of potential to continue to write about this awesome world while zeroing in on different characters.
How Beachy Is It?: Super beachy! Between the jetsetting destinations, the hilarious asides and footnotes, and the stunning plot twists throughout, China Rich Girlfriend is one dishy read that you’ll love lapping up under the sun. It’s also a treat to dream away the days by reading up on the lifestyles of the rich and purposefully not famous. My one super minor knock against the book is sometimes the author gets a touch carried away with his OTT descriptions (as per when you tour Colette Bing’s insane house), but if you love that sort of thing, you’ll adore the book!
Who Should Read This Book?: If you enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, you’ll dig China Rich Girlfriend too – something I can’t always say about sequels. And if you haven’t read that one, start there, and be glad you’ve got this delightful book to dive into right after. It’s a fabulous pick for anyone who loves sprawling soapy books – think, Peyton Place on steroids – with a dash of fashion and fun thrown in.
The book is available now booksellers everywhere across Canada, with a list price of $32. Of course, I’m giving away a copy of China Rich Girlfriend to one of you lovely readers. Here’s how to enter for your chance to win:
1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by August 26, 2015 – why are you interested in reading China Rich Girlfriend?
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around August 27, 2015 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Follow Random House of Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this dishy book! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.
5) Bonus Entry #2: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.