Book Review: China Rich Girlfriend by Keven Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2)China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 16, 2015
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

I adored Kevin Kwan’s debut novel Crazy Rich Asians. You may recall that in my review of Crazy Rich Asians, I wrote that I hoped Kevin Kwan wrote a sequel. Well, apparently Kwan totally reads my blog because he did! If you haven’t read Crazy Rich Asians, you’ll probably want to read it first. You’ll get more out of China Rich Girlfriend if you know more about the characters.

***This review will have spoilers for Crazy Rich Asians.***

On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.

China Rich Girlfriend picks up about two and half years after Crazy Rich Asians ended. Nick and Rachel are finally getting married, assuming Nick’s meddling mother will stay out of the way. They are also searching for Rachel’s birth father, which brings them to Mainland China. If you thought the ultra wealthy class of Singapore in Crazy Rich Asians was over the top outrageous, you haven’t seen nothin’ yet! China is all about new money billionaires who have it and want to flaunt it unlike the discreet rich in Singapore. As unfathomable as some of the things the billionaires in this book do, they are actually true to life. Kwan spent time in China researching this book. He has said that he actually had to tone some of the crazy things the wealthy do because even though they actually happened, they would not be believable to the reader.

In addition to catching up with Rachel and Nick, we also get to see what Michael and Astrid and Kitty and Bernard have been up to. A whole new cast of characters who live in China and Hong Kong are introduced as well. My favorite new character is Corinna, a consultant who helps new money Asians integrate into the billionaire class. She teaches them how to act and dress refined and lets them in on insider information like which hotel is the right one in which to have high tea and that one refers to the Mandarin Oriental hotel as simply “the Mandarin”. I think the funniest part of this book is the memo she sends to a new client outlining everything she must to do fit in with the ultra-wealthy. She gives her a reading list with books like Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina on it. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen is on the list but crossed out! I’m going to assume that means that Kwan thinks Franzen is as big of an ass as I do.

As always, I must point out any references to Unitarian Universalism since they are quite rare in popular culture. In this book, a character says, “I didn’t really care for that we-are-all-nature Unitarian minister.” So funny!

I didn’t think this book was quite as good as Crazy Rich Asians but I still liked it a lot. Kwan uses footnotes in this book in the same way he did in Crazy Rich Asians. They are informative but also sometimes so droll I was laughing out loud. If you enjoy comedies of manners and laughing, this book is for you. Kwan has said he originally planned Crazy Rich Asians to be the first book in a trilogy. I hope he sticks to his plan because I want to visit these characters again.

(I received this book courtesy of Amazon Vine.)