While I do read more than most and am usually willing to try new books, sometimes it can take me a little while to jump on new books. Sometimes I will read a book solely because of its cover, and sometimes it doesn’t affect the decision at all. Today’s series started out as a sleeper for me, but turned out to be one of my favourites now! It’s perfect for entertainment, for relaxation, for an afternoon when you just want some fun- Crazy Rich Asians!
I was working in a bookstore when Crazy Rich Asians came out, and the simple pink title over a cover of gold glitter didn’t really do anything for me. I wasn’t even really interested in reading the back, which is rare for me! (If I am remembering correctly, I seem to think that there wasn’t actually much of a description, which didn’t help sell me.) However, Kobo was having a sale last spring, and I grabbed the first book for $3.99. I left it for a few weeks, and I decided on a Saturday afternoon that I would try it…
A Whole New World
Turns out I lost the rest of my Saturday, and some of my Sunday- I couldn’t turn my Kobo off! Kevin Kwan’s CRA looks at the super rich Chinese families that most of us have never heard of. It might be that I’m just uninformed, but this is a whole new culture/society that I had no idea existed. Bloodlines and family mean everything, money simultaneously is important and meaningless, and their problems are more like ours than you would think. You’ve probably heard stores about difficult in-laws, gossipy “friends”, and wedding planning no matter who your friend group is, and Rachel and Nick’s lives are the same! The super rich lifestyle paired with regular problems we all face is the perfect recipe for an interesting book.
The Family Trees Are Useful
Kwan helpfully provides several family trees at the beginning of each novel, and they are your key to understanding the connections! His characters are from large families, have married amongst themselves, and it can take a few chapters to cement who someone is. (They also come in handy when you might not remember all of the connections from the previous book(s).) If you are looking at them on an e-reader or tablet, you are going to want to zoom in. Also, if you are in doubt at all, go back to the trees! Part of what makes these books so interesting is how complicated these social groups are but the lineages are key.
It’s All About the Slow Build
A lot of authors can write a fun summer read, but few can continue building their series like Kwan! Things move quickly within each book, and each book slowly builds on the next. We start with a fairly large circle of characters that becomes more and more interconnected and grows along the way, without any of it feeling overwhelming or forced. After just finishing the third book in the series, Rich People Problems, I realised that although we still have the same fun energy that keeps you reading, all of the characters that we’ve loved since Crazy Rich Asians are far more complex and interesting than when we first met them.
This is a fun, fast-moving, lovable series that you will not be able to put down! I’ve read and listened to all three books- both are highly enjoyable and will be the perfect afternoon escape in the summer. Grab a drink, and settle in!
What is your number one summer book recommendation?