By: Kevin Kwan
Published Year: 2013
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
I think there were quite a few times I was drawn in by the cover, but the title threw me off and I don’t really remember reading the summary before. Recently, a trailer came out for the movie adaptation and I watched it and just thought “what? That’s what this book is about?! This is completely up my alley!” So honestly, I don’t know where I went wrong. Maybe it was the original cover didn’t catch my eye? Who knows?
What I thought
This was such a fun book and I honestly cannot wait to see the movie now.
Rachel and Nick are professors in New York, but little does Rachel know that Nick is much more than that. Nick invites her to spend the summer with him in Singapore when he has to head back for his best friend’s wedding. What he doesn’t prepare Rachel for is that is family is basically Chinese royalty and the wedding is of Royal Wedding caliber. When she arrives, she is judged upon the background of her family and people assume she must be a gold digger.
While that was all in the summary, what I didn’t expect was the switching between all of the family members for different stories. It was hard to keep family members straight, but Nick’s cousins Eddie and Astrid had pretty significant story lines as well as his mom Eleanor. In fact, I actually found myself more interested in Astrid’s story line as the book went on than I did in Rachel and Nick’s.
In all honesty, I wasn’t that crazy about Nick. Maybe it was because there was so much going on, but I wasn’t sold on the romance between him and Rachel. They didn’t interact much and I didn’t get that spark. It made it a little hard to root for them as they faced challenges. I found myself not feeling upset when (of course) they hit rough patches and I wasn’t sure if they would end up together or not. I’m hoping that the movie focuses on that a little more by weeding out some of the unnecessary details.
That is probably my biggest issue that I had with this book. I know that movies have to cut a lot out of books when they adapt them and I think there is a lot that can be removed in this book. I did not care at all for Eddie’s storyline and felt it didn’t bring much to the overall story. It felt like it took a long time to get to the wedding, but at the same time didn’t feel like much had happened.