What I’m Reading: Rich People Problems

From the bookjacket:
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. 

With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. 

As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.

My review: (Which may contain spoilers!)
I’m not going to lie – I was pretty stoked when I first heard that Rich People Problems was going the third instalment of the Crazy Rich Asians “series.” I read the first two books and really enjoyed them, so I was curious to see if the Rich People Problems would be just as over the top.

This book definitely did not disappoint when it came to the ludicrous spending and name-dropped that this fictional family is capable of, but at some points it almost seems to be a little too over-the-top. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole series, it’s that money (an absurd amount of money) makes people unable to see clearly. Every action is driven by jealousy and the desire to one-up your competition.

But back to the book – regardless of self-absorbed nature of most of the characters, it was still just as enjoyable to read as Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend. While at times it was hard to keep track of all the different characters, (which I personally think assists in showing how huge Asian families actually are) I still found myself completely absorbed in the story and rapidly reading through each chapter wanting to find out what kind of insanity was going to happen next.

I also couldn’t help but notice how well Rich People Problems demonstrates how the death of a beloved family member – especially a matriarch – can both bring people together can tear them apart at the same time. Grief can do unbelievable things to a person and Kwan demonstrates this not only with the passing of Su Yi, but also in the collapse of marriage.

If you’ve read the other two books in the series, or even just the first one, I highly encourage you to press on and complete the trifecta with Rich People Problems. I felt that it brought a lot of closure to the main character’s storylines, and it was still a great read. Overall, I’m giving it 4.5 stars out of 5.

 

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What I’m Reading: China Rich Girlfriend

28503789From Goodreads.com:
It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding, and she should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond, a wedding dress she loves, and a fiancé willing to thwart his meddling relatives and give up one of the biggest fortunes in Asia in order to marry her. Still, Rachel mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle.

Then a chance accident reveals his identity. Suddenly, Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor, a world where people attend church in a penthouse, where exotic cars race down the boulevard, and where people aren’t just crazy rich … they’re China rich.

My review:
As the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, I was excited to read China Rich Girlfriend and to see what was next for Rachel Chu and her extended family, and it didn’t disappoint.

Light but still hilarious, I loved the outrageousness of how materialistic the characters were. It’s all completely over the top and hard to believe that people actually live this way, but I suppose when you’re a “simple” North American you’d never be able to catch a glimpse of their lavish lifestyle.

I do wish that there was more story development with Rachel and Nick, rather that just plopping them into the various chapters that involved more of their new-found “China rich” friends. And I really didn’t quite understand the point of including Kitty Pong/Mrs. Bernard Tai in the story as the only tie-in to the rest of the characters was minuscule.

Still, my Asian half related to this book just as it did with Crazy Rich Asians, which only made it more enjoyable for me. I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5, and I’m looking forward to the third instalment coming out in May this year!

What I’m Reading: Crazy Rich Asians

18373213From Goodreads.com:
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
 
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

My review:
Perhaps it’s my Asian genes, but I was really drawn to this book when I was browsing through the online bookstore. It sat on my Wishlist for a while and I finally decided to download it last week. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down!

There are SO many things that made to go, “THAT’S MY FAMILY!” Not the rich part, obviously, but there were elements that I could totally relate to. (My husband lovingly refers to me as ‘Chincy Chow’ from time to time.)

Aside from the bits of relatability, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun, easy read. The lack of character development and plot seems to be a bone of contention with many people who have read the book, but I think the author wanted the main focus of the book to be the ricidulous over-the-top spending of the Singaporean wealthy rather than the character’s inner hopes and dreams. (I noticed that there’s a sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, so perhaps we’ll learn more there.)

I truly enjoyed this book and found myself laughing out loud a lot! Sure, the characters are shallow, but what crazy rich person isn’t? I still gave Crazy Rich Asians 5 stars out of 5.