Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao: 15 Thoughts While Reading

Thank you to Hear Our Voices and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this wonderful YA rom-com and including me on this Blog Tour!

Synopsis

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?

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 320 pages

Links:

About the Author

Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fateand Rent a Boyfriend. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her husband on the curling ice or hiking the Indiana Dunes. After a brief detour as a dentist, she is now grateful to spend her days in fictional characters’ heads instead of real people’s mouths.

Her award-winning books have been featured on the “Best of” lists of SeventeenBustle, Barnes & NoblesPopSugarPaste Magazine, and more. American Panda received four starred trade reviews, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie Next Pick, was a YALSA Teen’s Top 10 Pick, and on the Amelia Bloomer List.

Links: Author Website Twitter Goodreads Instagram

15 Thoughts I Had While Reading

  1. I love Chloe’s “mooncake points” aka her way of measuring her parents’ approval of either her boyfriend or herself.
  2. I low-key love that Chloe sort of has this “dual identity,” a version of herself when she’s at home (Jing-Jing), but wants to be her authentic self (Chloe). Drew has a similar dual identity, acting as “Andrew” when he’s being a fake boyfriend and wanting to just be himself when he’s off the clock. Bonus: This book shows scenes in Chloe and Drew’s POVs, though the story centers more on Chloe and her relationship with her family.
  3. I seriously wish that Chloe’s dad could’ve been more open and honest about how he regards Drew. He seemed very supportive of the relationship.
  4. Fun Fact: There’s a more famous Chloe Wang. You might know her better as Chloe Bennet aka Daisy from Marvel’s Agents of Shield. Before she became an actress, she was a pop star and one song came to mind as the chemistry between Chloe and Drew began to develop.
  5. The guy that Chloe’s parents want her to marry is a serious douche canoe and the excuses Chloe’s mother makes for him are a sorry sight to read. Double standards abound within Chloe’s family and their Chinese community. Mr. All-Wrong-For-Chloe is a shining turd example of the patriarchy! (Insert patriarchy jingle from Buffering Podcast here.)
  6. A lot of emphasis is put on one’s reputation within a community. I basically wanted to blast Taylor Swift’s “I Did Something Bad” during one particular scene centering on Chloe!
  7. I seriously imagine Drew having an Instagram account devoted to his art. He could make some serious merch from the little cartoon sheep, similar to this Instagram account.
  8. The word “verisimilitude” came to mind while reading through Chloe and Drew’s relationship. The word means “something having the appearance of truth.” It summarizes their fake dating perfectly!
  9. I had to unpack my bias about the value of a college education because I wasn’t sure why Drew didn’t go to somewhere like the Art Institute and Chloe had to set aside her own biases.
  10. I had a feeling that Gloria Chao really leaned into her previous career (she used to be a dentist) when she wrote the scene that centered on Chloe’s dad.
  11. I don’t understand why studying economics is frowned upon in these strict Chinese families. I’m speaking as a Filipino, but economics leads to a career in business, which is equally as lucrative as law or medicine.
  12. Given that Chloe’s dating a guy named Drew and that I’m a Taylor Swift fan, this song inevitably came to mind.
  13. Mahjong is featured in this book. I was instantly reminded of the famous scene from Crazy Rich Asians (which incidentally is a movie-exclusive scene). Even though I’m Filipino, I have very vague childhood memories of the various aunts in my very expansive extended family playing mahjong for money, though I never played it myself.
  14. Can this book have a sequel? No spoilers, but stuff they showed towards the end opens up the possibility of a majorly awesome sequel that centers more on Drew.
  15. I like the way that Gloria Chao included Chicago as a secondary setting, both in this book and in Our Wayward Fate. As she considers that city home, Chicago is her equivalent of Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice or Brigadoon. I look forward to seeing an entire story set in Chicago someday.

If you want to know more, check out my review of this book on Goodreads and get this book! It’s such a fun read and perfect for early holiday season rom com feels without buying into the Hallmark bandwagon.

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