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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda. Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hir To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda. Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents. Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him. When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community. But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?


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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda. Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hir To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda. Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents. Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him. When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community. But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

30 review for Rent a Boyfriend

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Chao

    Dearest Reader, Rent a Boyfriend is inspired by a real-life practice in some Asian countries where women hire fake boyfriends to bring home, commonly at Lunar New Year, to alleviate the pressure from family to find a husband. For this novel, I adapted this practice into a fictional diaspora version, with all details—including the company Rent for Your ’Rents—created to better fit the American setting. This book has: • Fake dating • Dual POV • College-age protagonists • Taiwanese-American characters • H Dearest Reader, Rent a Boyfriend is inspired by a real-life practice in some Asian countries where women hire fake boyfriends to bring home, commonly at Lunar New Year, to alleviate the pressure from family to find a husband. For this novel, I adapted this practice into a fictional diaspora version, with all details—including the company Rent for Your ’Rents—created to better fit the American setting. This book has: • Fake dating • Dual POV • College-age protagonists • Taiwanese-American characters • Holidays! (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and Chinese New Year) • Humor, puns, banter, romance I hope you enjoy reading! Gloria

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly (Deity of Books)

    Chloe Wang or Jing Jing is a college freshman majoring in economics. She has pressure from her parents to marry Hong Bo, a wealthy asshole. Does Chloe like Hong Bo? Of course not. Well then, does Hong Bo like Chloe? NO. She decides to hire a fake boyfriend from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company that specializes in providing fake boyfriends, to try to stop her parents from forcing her to marry Hong Bo. Drew, the other main character, is the fake boyfriend. He was disowned by his family after choosin Chloe Wang or Jing Jing is a college freshman majoring in economics. She has pressure from her parents to marry Hong Bo, a wealthy asshole. Does Chloe like Hong Bo? Of course not. Well then, does Hong Bo like Chloe? NO. She decides to hire a fake boyfriend from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company that specializes in providing fake boyfriends, to try to stop her parents from forcing her to marry Hong Bo. Drew, the other main character, is the fake boyfriend. He was disowned by his family after choosing to drop out of college to pursue a career in art and became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to earn money. So what will happen when Drew and Chloe start to fall for each other? I really enjoyed how authentic this book was. This book included the tone markings with Mandarin words and the author also explained the system and significance of tone markings in the beginning of the book. I have not read many books that include tone markings with mandarin words and explain them. I really liked that it was explained so that readers who don’t understand Mandarin would be able to understand the reason for the tone markings. The plot and characters are okay. I don’t think that they are too special or unique. I don’t think that I actually liked any of the characters and their personalities. I liked their internal conflicts more. The inner conflicts that were written in this book were so good and so true. My favorite was probably Drew’s inner conflict. Chloe’s conflicts are very real. She doesn't feel like she is being herself because of her parents. Even with that, I liked how she tried not to change for her parents and kept true to herself. I’ve never read any books with a fake dating trope so I didn’t know what to expect, but I enjoyed it. I was really worried about the romance because I was scared that it was going to feel really forced and unnatural, but that wasn’t the case. The romance was really sweet, cute, and natural. But there are some parts that I felt were a bit cringy and sappy. The parents don’t have a POV of their own in the actual story but you could understand the parents’ perspectives through Chloe and Drew. I think this part was written extremely well. The author really nailed the thoughts of Taiwanese parents (and Asian parents in general). I liked how both Chloe and Drew didn’t give in to their parents’ requests/wishes and believed in themselves. This was a very thought-provoking novel and I would definitely recommend this book to you! Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    11/10/2020: HAPPY PUB DAY, RENT A BOYFRIEND! 🥺🥺 Y'alllll I could totally see a rent-a-boyfriend service BOOMING on the subtle asian dating Facebook group. Someone get on that stat! ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ 3.5 stars! (Or maybe mooncakes would be more appropriate!? 🥮🥮🥮✨) Some of the lighthearted parts of this book were laugh-out-loud funny and SO relatable. The rest was... clichéd and saccharine as hell and waaaay too sappy for my tastes. Some of the painful bits were moving and poignant and SO relatable. Th 11/10/2020: HAPPY PUB DAY, RENT A BOYFRIEND! 🥺🥺 Y'alllll I could totally see a rent-a-boyfriend service BOOMING on the subtle asian dating Facebook group. Someone get on that stat! ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ 3.5 stars! (Or maybe mooncakes would be more appropriate!? 🥮🥮🥮✨) Some of the lighthearted parts of this book were laugh-out-loud funny and SO relatable. The rest was... clichéd and saccharine as hell and waaaay too sappy for my tastes. Some of the painful bits were moving and poignant and SO relatable. The rest was... over-the-top and cringey and a smidge heavy-handed. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ I was trolling YouTube the other day when I came across an interview with Constance Wu, where she says something that really hit me hard. She talks about how she didn’t tell her parents about a traumatic event that had happened to her at school, and when the (white) host asks her why, she explains, simply, that she wanted to protect her parents. That it’s a dynamic that forms between immigrants and their children: we want to protect them as much as they do us. This was certainly the case in Rent a Boyfriend. Chloe Wang leads a double life: in Chicago, she’s Chloe, the econ major with a fiery personality. In Palo Alto, under her parents’ roof, she’s Jing-Jing—meek, deferent, and unsure of herself. As Jing-Jing, she’s supposed to be engaged to a dude her parents picked out ages ago, the misogynistic and superficial Hongbo. So Chloe decides to take drastic measures: she’ll hire a fake boyfriend. Enter Drew Chan, the sweet and sensitive artist who’s been disowned by his family for daring to pursue his dream. When the two of them become friends—and then more—they each find the courage to navigate paths that had never seemed possible before. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ What I appreciated most about this book was its embracing of ambivalence. As a child of Chinese immigrants, I know. I know how our relationships and love are complex and painful and filled with contradictions that don’t make sense to most people, but are nonetheless very, very real. It’s a daunting task to try and represent this sort of relational complexity, and Rent a Boyfriend does an admirable job of capturing a piece that really resonated with me. In fact, I think it will resonate with anyone who’s had to straddle two worlds that aren't always in alignment: the one dictated by people you love, and the one you wish to someday carve out for yourself and yourself only. Chloe and Drew don’t shy away from calling out her parents’ problematic beliefs when they crop up. The book is unafraid to critique the toxic aspects of Taiwanese/East Asian culture, from fatphobic body-shaming to the belief that a woman’s inherent worth lies in her dating (and marrying) a suitable man. Chloe drags her mom’s fixations on thinness and moral purity, and the book examines the stigma that Taiwanese culture attaches to dropping out of college. There were MANY Asian-themed puns and so much good food that my mouth was watering (that hot pot scene?? Lord have mercy). Chloe and Drew engage in some hilarious text banter, and the humour in this book was so much crasser than I was expecting!!! It was awesome. Even if I had to read the words “shrivelled vagina” like eight times. Bottom line: Rent a Boyfriend is essentially an amalgam of subtle asian traits memes and it really made me feel seen. Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 4 out of 5

    emma

    i spent the first third of this book thinking it'd be at least a 4.5 star read. ...i don't want to talk about it. review to come / probably 2.5 ----------- buddy reading possibly the cutest book ever with the cutest person ever i spent the first third of this book thinking it'd be at least a 4.5 star read. ...i don't want to talk about it. review to come / probably 2.5 ----------- buddy reading possibly the cutest book ever with the cutest person ever

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mrinmayi

    Ughhhh...I have to wait another month for this book!! I am soooo excited to pick this up!! So till then, I will just make memes!! As the blurb says..the MC's parents won't help him pursue his "Arts" dream career Mrin checking to see if this site actually exists Just in case ... How it feels trying to find the guy that your family would actually like End result is... *you're Trust me if this RENT A BOYFRIEND service was real...it would be a hit!! Update 1 This book 'speaks' to my soul😂 the MC seems relatab Ughhhh...I have to wait another month for this book!! I am soooo excited to pick this up!! So till then, I will just make memes!! As the blurb says..the MC's parents won't help him pursue his "Arts" dream career Mrin checking to see if this site actually exists Just in case ... How it feels trying to find the guy that your family would actually like End result is... *you're Trust me if this RENT A BOYFRIEND service was real...it would be a hit!! Update 1 This book 'speaks' to my soul😂 the MC seems relatable??!! Don't know but I have this "connection" with her xD Now, where do I submit this form for renting a boyfriend??!! that protocol in the blurb made me laugh "“Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” " I made my requirements "protocol" 1]Should be loyal (THIS IS A MUST) 2]Should laugh at my dad's joke, no matter if they are bad puns 3]Bibliophile 4]Should get Harry Potter & "The Lunar Chronicles" reference 5] Should be an introvert...(I talk enough for 5 people😂 My parents would prefer some peace) 6]SHOULD LIKE BIRYANI!!!! 7]Please be a dog person 8]Extra points if he is grumpy!!!😂 umm..that's it I guess😅 I think I will add more LATER For now..these are my priorities 😂🤣

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    OMG THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE PLOT TO A MANGA I NEEEEEEEEED IT Seriously, dying for a copy of this because Gloria Chao is SO nice AND AMERICAN PANDA was the bomb dot com. So obviously I need to be all over this like green on pistachios.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    Well that was really cute and funny but way too long. This started out so well and there were a few laugh out loud moments and I absolutely loved the dynamics between Chloe and Drew. The story was engaging and the family completely adorable in their craziness. I won't do any spoilers but there was a point where the story could have ended and I would have loved it. But it didn't end. Then there was another point where it could have ended and I would have been happy. But it didn't end. Then there w Well that was really cute and funny but way too long. This started out so well and there were a few laugh out loud moments and I absolutely loved the dynamics between Chloe and Drew. The story was engaging and the family completely adorable in their craziness. I won't do any spoilers but there was a point where the story could have ended and I would have loved it. But it didn't end. Then there was another point where it could have ended and I would have been happy. But it didn't end. Then there were a few points where it should have ended but it didn't. I started becoming a bit bored with the attempts to wrap everything up so neatly because the story really started to drag for me. I think it needed an editor to cut chunks out of that last section so it didn't lose the wonderful tone and pace it had throughout the first three-quarters. Still a lovely read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ilsa➹

    *sigh* you know when a book has such a promising blurb, and you pick it up, and it also has a promising beginning, so now you're pretty sure you're going to LOVE this story...and then you don't? yeah, i know the feeling well. the actual fake dating story line of this (which lasted until 30 percent in) was super cute and I was smiling like an idiot!! There was so much adorableness and "omg is this real or not? are we still pretending" and that's exactly the kind of yearning I am here for. Unfortuna *sigh* you know when a book has such a promising blurb, and you pick it up, and it also has a promising beginning, so now you're pretty sure you're going to LOVE this story...and then you don't? yeah, i know the feeling well. the actual fake dating story line of this (which lasted until 30 percent in) was super cute and I was smiling like an idiot!! There was so much adorableness and "omg is this real or not? are we still pretending" and that's exactly the kind of yearning I am here for. Unfortunately, the rest of this fell flat for me. Certain plotlines started to just repeat themselves over and over again, way too many times. The book Parents: Chloe get married to Toxic Rich Asshole please!! Chloe: No!! Andrew: omg i'm sorry this sucks what can i do for you? I want to support you as much as I can! over. and over again. and at first i was really enjoying the discussion of arranged marriages and her parents' roles in that, but after a while i couldn't care less. chloe's perspective was genuinely interesting to read about though, and i loved seeing her character development. Drew on the other hand, was way too much of this Perfect Selfess Guy. He hardly ever messes up, says and does all the right things, and is in general, BORING with a capital B. Genuinely, I could nkt stand how boring and sweet Drew was - the relationship was way too healthy for my liking. I know this sounds really toxic and stupid but ... When every conversation goes along the lines of "I'm so sorry I'm here for you take whatever you need from me I care about you so much uwu🤪🤪🤪" then what do you WANT me to say. in conclusion, my toxic ass couldn't deal with the overload of sappiness in this book and how repetitive it felt.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Seriously cute, seriously touching, and seriously good. This was such a refreshing read full of so many emotions. I truly enjoyed every single page from the background of the characters, to the ethnicity, to the heart warming slow burn romance, this was a read perfect to get away for a few hours, let go, and just be. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This was my first Gloria Chao's book, but I'm sure it won't be the last! Even though it has a trope at its core that we all have seen multiple times, it was not used in the same old way. Here fake dating is taken to a whole other level and Chloe actually hires Drew to pretend to be her fake boyfriend for the holidays, so that she can get her Chinese parents off her back and not marry Hongbo, a disgusting guy her parents want to set her up with. The premise is obviously what drew me in, but in th This was my first Gloria Chao's book, but I'm sure it won't be the last! Even though it has a trope at its core that we all have seen multiple times, it was not used in the same old way. Here fake dating is taken to a whole other level and Chloe actually hires Drew to pretend to be her fake boyfriend for the holidays, so that she can get her Chinese parents off her back and not marry Hongbo, a disgusting guy her parents want to set her up with. The premise is obviously what drew me in, but in the end I stayed for the characters, Chloe especially. First of all, I felt for her, she had to endure so much because of her family's beliefs and expectations. There were points that were heartbreaking to read because all they seemed to care about were appearances, instead of Chloe's own true happiness. The relationship between Chloe and her mother was probably the hardest one to read, I hated seeing Mrs. Wang treat her daughter so badly and preach to her such misogynistic views. It just got on my nerves, but I guess that was the point. The family dynamics were complicated and painful, but they definitely were depicted well. I was rooting for Chloe and her happiness so bad. Drew was such a sweet guy, I really liked him. Seeing him put up the Christmas tree was just the sweetest thing ever, and also the easiest way to my own heart. I believe that Chloe and Drew had good chemistry and I enjoyed their conversations so much. Rent a Boyfriend has definitely become one of my favourite fake-dating books!

  11. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    I've read all of Gloria Chao's books so far, and I really think Rent a Boyfriend is my favourite of hers to date. - Follows Taiwanese-American teens Chloe (known as Jing-Jing to her family and community), a college teen who hires Drew, an artist, as her boyfriend over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Lunar New Year to disentangle herself from a preposterous proposal with the local yet rich asshole. - This is a warm, empathetic, and nuanced story that blends fluffy and romantic with serious and incisi I've read all of Gloria Chao's books so far, and I really think Rent a Boyfriend is my favourite of hers to date. - Follows Taiwanese-American teens Chloe (known as Jing-Jing to her family and community), a college teen who hires Drew, an artist, as her boyfriend over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Lunar New Year to disentangle herself from a preposterous proposal with the local yet rich asshole. - This is a warm, empathetic, and nuanced story that blends fluffy and romantic with serious and incisive. - Chloe and Drew's romance was so gorgeous and wonderful - fake-dating trope at its finest, where the two characters were initially guarded but eventually let each other in to the messiness and intricacies of their lives. - But I also loved how there was a nuanced exploration of classism (in terms of rich vs poor families and attitudes towards college), sexism, and stigmas in Asian communities. - The family dynamics in this book was great - truthful and honest in the issues young Asian people face and have to confront, yet also humanising (though not apologetic) in its depiction of Chloe's parents. - I had so much fun reading this! A fantastic contemporary, one that I'll recommend for anyone who loves the fake-dating trope and unabashed portrayal of messy families. Trigger/content warning: anti-fat rhetoric (challenged), sexism (challenged), familial conflict, ill loved one, anti-gay rhetoric (challenged)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hsinju

    The full schedule for the tour is here on Hear Our Voices Book Tours’ website. Check out my blog (post will be live at 10am Central Time, November 13th, 2020) for Taiwan travel recommendations and more of my thoughts on this book! 🥮🥮🥮 [EN] Content warnings: sexism, misogyny, classism, fatphobia, arranged marriage, manipulation, disowning, homophobia, a few references to the HP series “[...] I’m my own knight in shining armor” — Chloe As a born-and-raised Taiwanese, I was incredibly excited when I fir The full schedule for the tour is here on Hear Our Voices Book Tours’ website. Check out my blog (post will be live at 10am Central Time, November 13th, 2020) for Taiwan travel recommendations and more of my thoughts on this book! 🥮🥮🥮 [EN] Content warnings: sexism, misogyny, classism, fatphobia, arranged marriage, manipulation, disowning, homophobia, a few references to the HP series “[...] I’m my own knight in shining armor” — Chloe As a born-and-raised Taiwanese, I was incredibly excited when I first heard about Rent a Boyfriend, a Taiwanese American, fake-dating YA romance. I knew that even though I didn’t grow up in the US, there would be elements in Chloe and Drew’s story that I would recognize. What I didn’t expect was how much of my own life I saw in the book. Were we all pretending, putting on a better face to fool everyone around us, even our family? [...] Did anyone else go by two names and feel like that separated who they were? — Chloe Chloe Jing-Jing Wang (19, Taiwanese American) is an economics major at UChicago, much to her parents’ dismay. That and the fact that she doesn’t make an effort in dating. When the seemingly eligible bachelor neighbor Hongbo Kuo (25) suddenly proposes to her, Chloe’s parents jump at the chance to marry her off, for fear she might not get a better husband. But Chloe doesn’t plan on sitting around as life happen to her. For Thanksgiving, she hires fake boyfriend Andrew (real name: Drew Chan, 21, Taiwanese American) from Rent for Your ’Rents to convince her parents that a) she does date, and b) her boyfriend Andrew is perfect—son of surgeons and on his way to med school. While everything in Chloe’s life suddenly becomes an ever-growing lie, her and Drew’s feelings for each other is everything but fake. I thought this was going to be a very light-hearted story with hilarious disasters surrounding Chloe’s huge charade, and in a way, it was, but there were also many conversations that hit home so hard that I find it painful, too. Growing up, I’ve heard countless variations of the comment, “Aiyah, Jing-Jing, I pick at you because you’re my daughter, [...] That’s how I show I care. I want you to be the best.” I used to equate being scolded as being loved. And to catch glimpses of my life depicted vividly in this book was both incredible and terrifying: the little ticks and quirks of the parents, the sense of disconnection with tradition and culture, and even some of the baffling values and beliefs. “If you don’t eat enough, you get in trouble, and two seconds later they turn around and tell you you’re too fat, right? You just can’t win! With . . . anything.” — Drew Some might think it is ludicrous Chloe’s and Drew’s parents behave the way they do—I wonder, too, but to a certain degree, it is also very true. While I am not sure if Chao had intended to exaggerate all the polar-opposite values Asian Americans face growing up, I wasn’t surprised by any of the dialogue, because I have personally heard tamped down versions of the same things—either directed to me or a friend. “For me, your poor mǎmá who is constantly worrying about you so much her blood pressure is high. Don’t send me to the grave early!” — Chloe’s mother In Rent a Boyfriend, all the parents are problematic, and we also have the awful spoiled rich boy Hongbo. I think his character embodies, and is almost a caricature of, snobby, pompous rich guys, and is a stark contrast to guāi (good, well-behaved) boys which parents prefer their daughters to date. The story also briefly touches upon homophobia within the Asian community, and how some Rent for Your ’Rents clients hired fake dates because they weren’t ready to come out. The story is told in both Chloe’s and Drew’s first-person points of view, letting the readers in more on Chloe’s motives and Drew’s backstory. I love the contrasting themes in the story, such as Chloe’s initial rejection and Drew’s embrace of their cultural roots as well as the balance between falsehood and truth—though Drew fakes for a living, he is true to himself. And I especially love and deeply appreciate the uses of Mandarin and one Taiwanese phrase in the dialogues. I am not sure what the reading experience would be for non-Mandarin-speaking readers, but I love that Rent a Boyfriend really talked me. There were so many instances I laughed out loud because the word choices were so on point. And there are also many details that connect the whole story well. “We’re older. We have life experiences. Haven’t we taught you to respect your elders?” — Chloe’s father Drew is incredibly sweet. I love him from the beginning while Chloe fails to treat him well. We see both of them working through their own issues—Chloe’s identities and Drew’s dreams—before they can finally come together with a believable future. And I love how much potential their future holds. Though almost every other character is not very nice, minor characters such as Drew’s roommate Jason, also a Rent for Your ’Rents operator, and his boyfriend Marshall are truly what friends are for. The way Chao integrated Taiwanese culture into the story is wonderful. Rent a Boyfriend is not only a sweet romance, but also a soul searching journey. The larger story is about being in touch with all of oneself, that bad memories and misunderstandings should never taint one’s wholeness. I received both physical and electronic ARCs from Simon and Schuster via Hear Our Voices Book Tours. 🥮🥮🥮 [ZH-TW] Note that this is an almost direct translation. I wrote the review in English and translated it to Chinese. 內容警語:性別歧視、厭女、階級主義、肥胖歧視、媒妁婚姻、操縱、斷絕親子關係、恐同、提及哈利波特內容 身為土生土長的臺灣人,我初次聽到Rent a Boyfriend(意譯:租男友)這本臺裔美人、假約會的青少年愛情小說時興奮無比。雖然我並非在美國長大,我相信Chloe與Drew的故事會有我認得的文化元素。但我完全沒想到這本書會這麼反映我的人生。 王晶晶(Chloe,19歲,臺裔美人)不顧父母反對在芝加哥大學主修經濟學。王夫婦也對於Chloe不打扮、約會感到失望。當看似黃金單身漢的Hongbo Kuo(25歲)前來提親時,王夫婦迫不及待嫁女兒,害怕錯過這千載難逢的機會。但Chloe不願生活完全被打點。感恩節時,她聘請Andrew(真名:Drew Chan,21歲,臺裔美人,畫家)扮演假男友已說服父母她的確有在約會,而且有一位完美男友:醫生世家並準備從醫。當Chloe的人生變得處處都是騙局,只有她與Drew之間的感情才是真的。 我原本以為這會是一個輕鬆且充滿Chloe荒唐災難的故事。的確是,但當中也有很多對話令我感同身受,讀其來也是有所痛處。從小,我常常聽到類似這樣的話語:「唉呀,晶晶,我挑你毛病是因爲你是我女兒啊⋯⋯這表示我在乎你。我要你做到最棒的自己。」我曾經以為被叨念就是被關愛。而看到我生活的一部份這樣繪聲繪影地呈現在書中令我不敢置信且倍感驚嚇:父母的一些小行為、與傳統及文化感到失聯,乃至於一些荒誕的價值與信念。 也許有些讀者會覺得Chloe與Drew父母的行為太過誇張。雖然我也有些顧慮,但某種程度而言,卻真實無比。我不確定作者是否刻意誇大亞裔美人成長受到的價值衝突,但我並未對任何對話感到驚訝,因為我多多少少都有聽過或聽人轉述過類似的言論。 在Rent a Boyfriend中,所有的父母都不適任,此外還有糟糕透頂、被寵壞了的富家子弟Hongbo。我覺得他這個角色代表所有勢力、自大的有錢人,恰好與父母們挑女婿時所求的「乖」呈現強烈對比。本故事也稍微提及亞洲社群裡的恐同現象,像是有些人會因為還沒打算出櫃而租男友度過家庭聚會。 故事透過Chloe與Drew兩人的第一人稱視角闡述,讓讀者更能了解Chloe的動機與Drew的背景。我非常喜觀故事中的對比主題,像是起初Chloe與Drew分別對自己文化根源的排斥與完全接納,以及真與假的平衡:儘管Drew以假扮男友維生,他事實上更是忠於自己。我特別喜愛書中對話使用的華語以及一句臺語。我並不確定不會華語的讀者會有什麼樣的閱讀經驗,但我喜歡Rent a Boyfriend和我對談到的感覺。閱讀過程中,有數不清的用字精確到令我捧腹。書中也有許多細節將整個故事連串起來。 Drew非常地真摯善良。我從一開始就很喜歡他,但Chloe一直對他不佳。我們看見他們先面對各自的挑戰——Chloe的身份與Drew的夢想——才擁有可信的共同未來。我也非常喜愛他們的未來是如此的充滿潛力。雖然幾乎所有其他角色都不友善,小角色如Drew的室友Jason與他的男友Marshall呈現出真正的友誼。 作者將臺灣文化整合進整個故事令人激賞。Rent a Boyfriend不只是個可愛甜美的愛情故事,更是追尋自我的旅程。巨觀而言,這個故事更是關於尋求深根自己的一切,以及即使過去發生過不好的事情,一個人的完整性並不應因此受到威脅。 🥮🥮🥮 Check out my teaser post on Instagram here!

  13. 4 out of 5

    booksneedcaffeinetoo

    I SEE FAKE DATING AND I MUST BUY (update: have you all SEEN that GORGEOUS COVER?!??)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    This book in a nutshell: - Girl needs a reason to decline a proposal from the most awful person ever - Hires professional as a fake boyfriend who should get her parents' approval - But... are there feelings, maybe? - Bonding over mooncakes at midnight - Baking cookies together at Christmas - Drama, struggles, but also Fluff This book has such a perfect balance between being a fun romcom and dealing with deeper issues, like how the main character struggles in her relationship with her parents and in her This book in a nutshell: - Girl needs a reason to decline a proposal from the most awful person ever - Hires professional as a fake boyfriend who should get her parents' approval - But... are there feelings, maybe? - Bonding over mooncakes at midnight - Baking cookies together at Christmas - Drama, struggles, but also Fluff This book has such a perfect balance between being a fun romcom and dealing with deeper issues, like how the main character struggles in her relationship with her parents and in her cultural background because of her parents' expectations of her and the way her community judges her and the focus on needing to save face.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Rent a Boyfriend is my third book by this author. It is a contemporary romantic comedy. But with a younger feel. It is not really YA (the narrators are 19 and 21). It focuses on the cultural aspects of being a Taiwanese American and dealing with Asian parents. The narrators are 19 year old Chloe (1st person POV). And 21 year old Drew (1st person POV). Chloe's family lives in Palo Alto, California. She goes to school in Chicago. The book's main focus is on the different holidays (Thanksgiving, Chri Rent a Boyfriend is my third book by this author. It is a contemporary romantic comedy. But with a younger feel. It is not really YA (the narrators are 19 and 21). It focuses on the cultural aspects of being a Taiwanese American and dealing with Asian parents. The narrators are 19 year old Chloe (1st person POV). And 21 year old Drew (1st person POV). Chloe's family lives in Palo Alto, California. She goes to school in Chicago. The book's main focus is on the different holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chinese New Year...). I have enjoyed this author's previous books. And I really like experiencing different cultures. The idea of Asian people having to rent boyfriends to please their critical parents is a crazy but fascinating idea. I was a bit confused at first because it does not tell us the heroine's age until 1/3 of the way through the book. Honestly from what I read I thought that she was a few years older. So I wish that had been made clear earlier. I enjoyed the idea of this book. The beginning was maybe a bit slow for me. But overall it was cute. The ending was super strong. The last 10% was my favorite. Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    So fun! I didn't know, from this aggressively pink cover, that this was a Christmas book, and YET, it takes place from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, with a good chunk of it at Christmas. Loved the descriptions of blending Taiwanese traditions with American, and it was heartbreaking/fascinating to read about the struggles of American-born Taiwanese/Asian children vs. their immigrant parents. This was not, despite the cover (again, SO PINK!) a fluffy cotton candy read, but one that dealt with s So fun! I didn't know, from this aggressively pink cover, that this was a Christmas book, and YET, it takes place from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, with a good chunk of it at Christmas. Loved the descriptions of blending Taiwanese traditions with American, and it was heartbreaking/fascinating to read about the struggles of American-born Taiwanese/Asian children vs. their immigrant parents. This was not, despite the cover (again, SO PINK!) a fluffy cotton candy read, but one that dealt with some really serious issues. I loved it, and like all the best books, it also made me hungry for the foods she talked about- except Frankenbao, that sounds bad.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeann (Happy Indulgence)

    Who's tired of the fake dating trope? Definitely not me! Especially when it involves a college student hiring a fake boyfriend just to trick her parents into thinking that she's nabbed an eligible bachelor. I adored Rent a Boyfriend so much! We often hear about traditional Chinese parents being super strict and being "tiger moms" and in this case, that's what Chloe is experiencing here. Her relationship with her father is strained, especially since he never really communicates with her, and her m Who's tired of the fake dating trope? Definitely not me! Especially when it involves a college student hiring a fake boyfriend just to trick her parents into thinking that she's nabbed an eligible bachelor. I adored Rent a Boyfriend so much! We often hear about traditional Chinese parents being super strict and being "tiger moms" and in this case, that's what Chloe is experiencing here. Her relationship with her father is strained, especially since he never really communicates with her, and her mother's critical and judgmental words are enough to give anyone a headache. It's no wonder that Chloe hired Drew to impress her parents after all of the pressure she is under. As a Chinese-Australian who is struggling to communicate and relate to my parents, this book really hit home that many other Asians in diaspora feel exactly the same way. Chloe feels like she has to hide who she really is just to make her parents happy, and then when she realises that she is sacrificing her own happiness for their expectations that she will never live up to, she starts seeing things in a different light. I loved how she could connect to Andrew, despite being from different social standings and upbringings, and how they bonded over empathy and kindness. Andrew himself was totally swoonworthy - he's obviously learnt how to take cues from others, and he's incredibly empathetic and helpful as well. He has his own journey to go through here, especially after meeting Chloe, and I loved seeing the character growth and the steamy moments between the two of them. Rent a Boyfriend is a lot of fun and highlights the complicated relationship that a "good filial daughter" and her traditional strict Chinese parents, and the wealthy community in which they reside. It also addresses the lack of communication between parents and daughter and the secrets that are kept behind closed doors. Check out Happy Indulgence Books for more reviews!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. Hello, yea, this is Celia, and I have something to say. This book hit all the sweet spots for me, and I now know to make congee and I'm going to eat it all the time. That being said, thank you Edelweiss, and the publisher for the arc. Chloe needs to get her traditional Taiwanese parents off her back so, for Thanksgiving break, she hires a boyfriend from Rent for your 'Rents as a stand-in so they'll back off trying to get her to mar I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. Hello, yea, this is Celia, and I have something to say. This book hit all the sweet spots for me, and I now know to make congee and I'm going to eat it all the time. That being said, thank you Edelweiss, and the publisher for the arc. Chloe needs to get her traditional Taiwanese parents off her back so, for Thanksgiving break, she hires a boyfriend from Rent for your 'Rents as a stand-in so they'll back off trying to get her to marry sleazy Hongbo. But against all the rules (duh) Chloe begins to fall for Andrew and soon neither can tell one lie from another. Secrets emerge in an almost hilarious showdown with both strict hymen obsessed parents and a girl who just wants to say, "eff it all," but can't for so many reasons. I loved the heart of this book. Chloe wants nothing more than to shed the toxicity of her Taiwanese roots and show her parents that she is not a prize to be won, nor does she need a man to make a future for herself. The easy dip into romance had me smiling. Andrew and Chloe fit together so seamlessly that I wondered why it took them so long to notice. As a white woman, I don't have much experience with Chinese culture and family dynamics other than what is portrayed in film and television. Despite that, I did enjoy learning the foods and terms that I had not heard of before. What I could relate to is the dynamic of children and their parents, and how there is love there but there is also pain, guilt, and some resentment. Chao painted a realistic picture of how hard love can be, and the ways we all sometimes have to accommodate feelings to spare our own. Overall, an enjoyable read with a great ending.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Based on a real practice in some Asian countries, Rent a Boyfriend follows a Taiwanese girl named Chloe who rents a fake boyfriend (Drew) for the holidays (home from her first year of college) in hopes of dissuading her family from pressuring her to be with this really awful guy from a wealthy family in her community. Except real feelings develop and things get very...complicated. This is a book about familial expectations, cultural gaps with immigrant parents, and the struggle to be who you are Based on a real practice in some Asian countries, Rent a Boyfriend follows a Taiwanese girl named Chloe who rents a fake boyfriend (Drew) for the holidays (home from her first year of college) in hopes of dissuading her family from pressuring her to be with this really awful guy from a wealthy family in her community. Except real feelings develop and things get very...complicated. This is a book about familial expectations, cultural gaps with immigrant parents, and the struggle to be who you are, keep a relationship with your parents, and not completely reject your cultural identity. It's also a love story with an eye-catching premise! There is a lot to like here and it tackles a lot of complex issues as we slowly get to know Chloe, her parents, and some of the reasons for their differing perspectives. Meanwhile Drew has his own complicated story and difficult relationship with his parents to navigate as he falls for his client. I do think this book is too long and suffers a bit due to pacing, but overall I enjoyed my time with it and appreciated how all of these topics were handled. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    nitya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am forever a sucker for the fake dating and friends to lovers tropes (with bonus soft boys who trust and respect women and can bake/cook!) And I was hoping for some dire consequences for Hongbo and his awful family but a broken engagement is better than nothing. 4 mooncakes! 🥮🥮🥮🥮 Content warning: sexism and internalized misogyny, classism, some fatphobia, parent with terminal illness (cancer), delicious food descriptions (seriously don't read this when you're hungry), references to the Harry Pot I am forever a sucker for the fake dating and friends to lovers tropes (with bonus soft boys who trust and respect women and can bake/cook!) And I was hoping for some dire consequences for Hongbo and his awful family but a broken engagement is better than nothing. 4 mooncakes! 🥮🥮🥮🥮 Content warning: sexism and internalized misogyny, classism, some fatphobia, parent with terminal illness (cancer), delicious food descriptions (seriously don't read this when you're hungry), references to the Harry Potter series (this book was most likely written before Rowling showed her ass but I will include it anyhow)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isabel (The Reader & The Chef)

    *Thanks to MTMC Tours and the author for providing the review copy. All thoughts are my own* "Game. On. All I had to do was convince my parents that Andrew was the love of my life and theirs. Piece of (moon)cake, right?" I enjoyed reading Rent A Boyfriend, fake dating is one of my favorite bookish tropes so I has so happy to read it!! Chloe and Drew are the main characters of this story and after meeting in one of the most unconventional ways (Chloe hired Drew to be her boyfriend for Thanksgiv *Thanks to MTMC Tours and the author for providing the review copy. All thoughts are my own* "Game. On. All I had to do was convince my parents that Andrew was the love of my life and theirs. Piece of (moon)cake, right?" I enjoyed reading Rent A Boyfriend, fake dating is one of my favorite bookish tropes so I has so happy to read it!! Chloe and Drew are the main characters of this story and after meeting in one of the most unconventional ways (Chloe hired Drew to be her boyfriend for Thanksgiving), everything unravels into a slightly disastrous situation. I loved reading their different POVs and I also felt so much for their personal struggles from Chloe's pressure to get engaged to Drew's falling out with his parents due to chasing a career they didn't approve. It also has delicious descriptions of food, so be warned, make sure to have a snack before reading or else you will get hungry! All in all it was a great read for me and I had fun reading this rom-com!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Clever Reader

    *** Thank you Netgalley for approving me in exchange for an honest review! This book was so adorable! Chloe's parents are pushing her to marry Hongbo, the most eligible bachelor, but for reasons Chloe has no idea. She despises Hongbo after he takes her on a date to a strip club. When her parents invite her home she panics and decides to hire a boyfriend to try to get her parents to understand how much she does not want to marry Hongbo. Chloe "rents" a boyfriend to temporarily deter her parents in *** Thank you Netgalley for approving me in exchange for an honest review! This book was so adorable! Chloe's parents are pushing her to marry Hongbo, the most eligible bachelor, but for reasons Chloe has no idea. She despises Hongbo after he takes her on a date to a strip club. When her parents invite her home she panics and decides to hire a boyfriend to try to get her parents to understand how much she does not want to marry Hongbo. Chloe "rents" a boyfriend to temporarily deter her parents intentions but the more time she spends with Drew the more she starts falling for him. They genuinely just click but as time goes on and the lies pile up things start to get messy. Drew's job as a "rented" boyfriend is lucrative. His love for Art has led him to drop out of college which has caused tension with his family. When he meets his client Chloe and things start getting more and more serious despite their "fake relationship" he starts to worry what she'll think if he tells her what his dreams really are. In a world where higher education is important to gain status in the community both Chloe and Drew keep their true dreams to themselves but over time they realize they can't continue hiding their true selves. These two are definitely meant for each other but can they get out of the mess their fake relationship has created for them? Will they be able to wipe the slate clean and have a true relationship together? If you love Gloria Chao's previous books than you'll definitely love this one! I recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance!

  23. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    this sounds like a k-drama plot I'm in this sounds like a k-drama plot I'm in

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    3.5 stars I am a sucker for fake dating and I loved the idea of this one. I really liked Chloe and Drew. They’re both smart, good people who are looking to make their place in the world. I enjoyed their instant easiness and the open communication they had. Chloe’s parents were hard to read at times. Even though I knew they meant well and loved her in their own way, some of their words and actions had me cringing. Plot wise, it did get a bit repetitive. Scenes and even some conversations felt lik 3.5 stars I am a sucker for fake dating and I loved the idea of this one. I really liked Chloe and Drew. They’re both smart, good people who are looking to make their place in the world. I enjoyed their instant easiness and the open communication they had. Chloe’s parents were hard to read at times. Even though I knew they meant well and loved her in their own way, some of their words and actions had me cringing. Plot wise, it did get a bit repetitive. Scenes and even some conversations felt like they were following a precise pattern. However, the obvious growth of both Chloe and Drew was fantastic to read and the last few chapters were some of the best. Overall, it was easy to root for these two and I loved the cultural aspect of it. I’m always here for the food descriptions and a lot of the food in this story sounds amazing. **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mehsi

    flailsThis was an amazing cute fun wonderful realistic book! Gloria Chao did it again! I finished the book some days ago (writing this one on the 18th of November) and I just CANNOT find the words for this amazing book. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, laughter, a few tears, cheering for Drew and Chloe to get together. But here I am. I am going to try to throw my emotions on this page. Sorry if it is chaotic. Sorry if it is a mess. I blame the book. 😛 I will make a list of all that I loved in flailsThis was an amazing cute fun wonderful realistic book! Gloria Chao did it again! I finished the book some days ago (writing this one on the 18th of November) and I just CANNOT find the words for this amazing book. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, laughter, a few tears, cheering for Drew and Chloe to get together. But here I am. I am going to try to throw my emotions on this page. Sorry if it is chaotic. Sorry if it is a mess. I blame the book. 😛 I will make a list of all that I loved in this book. ♕ The characters were just amazing. We see both Chloe’s and (An)Drew’s POV. Chloe who tries to keep her parents happy and tries to understand them, but also wants to get out from the arranged marriage they set up. Drew who just wants to do art but isn’t accepted by his parents. I was rooting for both to make their wishes clear and that people would understand them. For once. ♕ I loved that this took place over various holidays. We see Christmas, Thanksgiving (which we don’t have here but which still sounds awesome and I would love to experience it), New Years and Chinese New Years, there is Valentine’s Day. While there are other days in between the holidays definitely get most attention. ♕ All the food. Though please, not the fusion food that Chloe’s mom has made, those sounds just beyond gross. But all the other things? I would love to try them. I would love to try mooncakes for instance, they sound amazing! I heard about them before but finding a store here that sells them isn’t easy. And this year there is corona, so there is no chance at all as I am not a fan of being food on the internet. ♕ That the book also has texts, phone messages. I always love it when books add these things. ♕ How Drew and Chloe got together. It wasn’t instantly BOOM together, instead it was slowly, though we could see that both were interested in the other. It got quite cute and I was delighted when the two did get together. I don’t see this as a spoiler given the book and everything. They make such a cute couple. I also like that their road was free of bumps. They had some things to discuss and there were some things that they bumped against. But they talked. They fought a little. They said their sorry’s. ♕ While the parents were hit/miss, I did think they were written very well. Despite all they did they cared about Chloe in their own way. The marriage, while of course a bad idea, was done because they wanted to have their daughter safe and well-off. Especially what we learn later about the dad (which Chloe had to find out in her own way which made me sad though also had me laughing that the doctor fell for it) I can imagine that their parents just wanted to make sure everything was fine. Yes, it wasn’t the best way. And yes, the mom was quite horrible at times, especially with how she was pushing for beauty and kept making remarks. But as I said, despite this I could see their love. I could see they cared. ♕ While not the same culture (plus my parents wouldn’t even think of arranged marriage), I did recognise some things in the parents. My parents also had (since I have no contact with them anymore) pretty high expectations, they don’t always talk about everything that happens (important for me things). ♕ The cover is just adorable! Cute! Love it! ♕ I loved it when Drew and Chloe had a couple of days together and there was just so much kissing. Cute! ♕ I loved the renting service and what we all learn about it. While it is sad that it is needed and that parents focus so much on a partner, the idea is fun and I love that you can sign up for it and learn all sorts of new skills. ♕ It was fun seeing Andrew be both Andrew and Drew while doing the fake (at first) boyfriend stuff. Especially now that I have finished the book I can see he plays a role but that there is also enough Drew in Andrew. I hope that makes sense. 😛 ♕ Drew’s art. While we don’t see it I could imagine how it looked and I would love a piece of art. I love moons. I love starry skies. ♕ The ending just made me smile so much. ♕ While maybe not the best of ideas, I had such a big laugh on how she got out of the marriage with Hongbo. Yes, it got her into trouble, but boy, that is one way to state your wishes when none work. All in all, I could probably continue talking about this book a bit more, but I think I got most important things out in the world. I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this fun and cute and at times funny but then would make you tear up again book to everyone~ Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joana ♡

    Wholesome but tackled very important themes

  27. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Tw: homophobia While reading Rent a Boyfriend I was entirely immersed. Not having notes for a book can go either way, but for me, I could not stop reading. In Rent a Boyfriend, Chao balances endearing and relatable characters with fake dating and a plot that will captivate you. What I particularly loved was how Chloe, and Drew, balance their identity with their own future. For Chloe, (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Tw: homophobia While reading Rent a Boyfriend I was entirely immersed. Not having notes for a book can go either way, but for me, I could not stop reading. In Rent a Boyfriend, Chao balances endearing and relatable characters with fake dating and a plot that will captivate you. What I particularly loved was how Chloe, and Drew, balance their identity with their own future. For Chloe, it becomes difficult to separate her own wishes with her parents, especially considering their sacrifices. Having your wishes go against your parents is no easy struggle, but for Chloe there's more at stake as she must balance their different beliefs and participation in Chinese culture. Chao is able to make the food, traditions, and the conflicts for Chloe and Drew come alive. I truly felt for the ways she wants to balance her love for her parents with her necessity to fight for her future. Rent a Boyfriend is dual POV, allowing Drew's perspective to shine as well. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janani(ஜனனி)⁷

    sooo relatable. asian parents. sigh. ------- i'm a simple girl. i see fake boyfriend. i click want to read. sooo relatable. asian parents. sigh. ------- i'm a simple girl. i see fake boyfriend. i click want to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    maegan

    This was bland. Like boiled chicken breast kind of bland. The book follows Chloe Wang, a Chinese-American 19-year-old student, that decides to rent a boyfriend, and Drew Chan, aka the boyfriend. Together they spend a good chunk of the book trying to convince her parents to drop the idea of making Chloe marry an old-time friend's son, Hongbo; and dealing with family conflicts and their parent's expectations. Reading about a different culture from mine was eye-opening and interesting, but that's abo This was bland. Like boiled chicken breast kind of bland. The book follows Chloe Wang, a Chinese-American 19-year-old student, that decides to rent a boyfriend, and Drew Chan, aka the boyfriend. Together they spend a good chunk of the book trying to convince her parents to drop the idea of making Chloe marry an old-time friend's son, Hongbo; and dealing with family conflicts and their parent's expectations. Reading about a different culture from mine was eye-opening and interesting, but that's about all I can say about this book. It read like a soap opera. The drama tried too hard to drive a plot that otherwise didn’t have all that substance, at least not enough to warrant 400 pages. The characters were also disappointingly one dimensional, but the one that takes the cake is Hongbo. He was painfully charicaturesque. To be honest, us readers were rooting for Drew from the very beginning without making Hongbo’s character so goddamn awful and unrealistic. “You’re just attracted to the attentiveness you paid for, the part he’s playing, the rational part of my brain told me. It’s the same as being attracted to a character in a movie—a.k.a. not real, not pursuable.” This statement is just valid for the first 20% of the book because right after that the insta-love invited itself to the party. After just shy of three days, both Chloe and Drew couldn't stop thinking about each other, which bothered me immensely because there was no buildup! Like, at all! There are also a few other very bland conflicts along the way that take up a good chunk of the book which utterly bored me because once Chloe and Drew get together (which happens before the 40% mark) there was really no point to the rest of it. I also feel the need to mention that there were absolutely no character descriptions whatsoever. I wasn’t able to properly imagine any of the characters and just had to randomly imagine their features or slap a famous actor/actress face on top of them to be able to continue focusing while reading, and then suddenly I’d be thrown off by a random description of someone’s eyelids and I’d be like “WAIT A MINUTE, I MUST REIMAGINE THEIR FACE WTF”. I'm aware that there's people out there that don't care about this kind of thing, but it truly bothers me A LOT. To wrap it up, I expected a cute rom-com but to be honest, this was anything but. I had to skim through the last 20% because I couldn't continue punishing myself. It was boring and uninspiring and I'm happy it's over.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shenwei

    also posted on my blog It just occurred to me that I never reviewed either American Panda or Our Wayward Fate, so this is my first time really gushing about Gloria’s books/writing here. American Panda captured my heart with its mix of humor and heart back in 2017 when I was lucky enough to read the ARC ahead of its early 2018 release. Gloria has a signature style that has appeared in each of her books, including Rent a Boyfriend. It’s an unapologetic celebration of and tribute to the language and also posted on my blog It just occurred to me that I never reviewed either American Panda or Our Wayward Fate, so this is my first time really gushing about Gloria’s books/writing here. American Panda captured my heart with its mix of humor and heart back in 2017 when I was lucky enough to read the ARC ahead of its early 2018 release. Gloria has a signature style that has appeared in each of her books, including Rent a Boyfriend. It’s an unapologetic celebration of and tribute to the language and culture of Taiwanese and Chinese Americans, full of tongue-in-cheek puns and allusions. While Rent a Boyfriend has mostly been hyped as a romcom with the fake dating trope, and it definitely did make me laugh out loud multiple times, it’s also very much a sentimental coming-of-age story that explores the complicated relationship between diaspora kids and their parents and culture. Both Chloe and Drew struggle to reconcile what they want for themselves with what their parents want for them. Drew puts up a front around everyone but his family and paid the price when he decided to drop out of college and pursue art. Meanwhile, Chloe has been playing the role of the perfect daughter in front of her parents and is realizing just how suffocating and unsustainable it is. When their paths cross, they begin to push each other onto a path toward being confident in their true selves. The romance between Chloe and Drew is a mix of playful inside jokes and deeply vulnerable heart-to-hearts. Both Chloe and Drew have deep-seated insecurities that have held them back, and their budding romance brings all of those issues to the fore in messy ways. The thrill and joy of finding someone who gets them is shadowed by the lies they’ve constructed and the secrets they’ve kept close to their hearts to protect themselves after being hurt by those they love most. These tensions and conflicts are explored throughout the book, establishing its emotional core and fueling Chloe and Drew’s character arcs. Although the romance is central to free story, I’d argue that the biggest conflict within the story is between Chloe and her mother. Chloe desperately wants her mother to be happy but resents shrinks under the constant criticisms she receives from her. Money, appearances, and purity are everything to Chloe’s mother. Their mother-daughter relationship is poisoned by internalized misogyny. Chloe tries her best to push back against these oppressive ideals, with limited success. She later learns that there is a reason behind it all, and the story balances understanding where her mother is coming from with breaking the cycle of toxicity. As the comp to The Farewell hints, there’s a hidden cancer diagnosis in the story. Chloe finds out her parents have been hiding her father’s cancer from her and it is a source of sadness and fear for her. She struggles to understand why they would keep something so important from her, among other things. This aspect of the story hit very close to home for me since I also experienced something similar, albeit on a milder level, when my family hid my mom’s cancer diagnosis from me for a week to keep it from affecting my mental state while preparing for a college interview. Even knowing why they did it, it still hurt. Overall, Rent a Boyfriend was such an emotional experience. I was so invested in Chloe and Drew’s stories. I laughed and sighed and teared up at various points in the story. I think it’s my new favorite from Gloria. Content/Trigger Warnings: misogyny, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, classism homomisia, cancer

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