Sunday, March 28, 2021

Rent a Boyfriend


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?  - excerpt from Goodreads.

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao  is not only a sweet YA romance book, it is more than that as it talks about cultures, family values and also breaking out from expectations. I quite loved this book as it highlights how the typical Chinese beliefs on marriage and love. Chloe struggles with letting her parents to know the truth and her resentments of their choices made for her. She started as trying her best to avoid their judgements and decisions by hiring a fake boyfriend to bring him for the holidays. This is quite common as in big family gatherings of festivities, the elderly be it a relative or your parents' friends will always ask "When are you getting married?" if you have a boyfriend. If you are single they will ask "Why are you single?" and then comment on the things that they think makes you single. They really think they know you or they have the wisdom to judge these things, I definitely have experienced these many questions and I always answer politely but inside me I'm pretty hurt and upset.

I could easily resonate with this book because I understand how parents have expectations and they think they know best. Although my situation is entirely different but the concerns from my parents are similar. They want what's best for you but they never asked what is it that makes us happy. They try to give you the best they can but also at a cost that we didn't ask for and if they asked us we would gladly share that burden with them. This is a barrier that is quite hard to be broken and it lives strongly in a Chinese upbringing.  

The characters are definitely real and have justifiable reasons for their actions and feelings. I love how they can grow and confront their fear. I also love how the small steps Chloe took are able to also help her parents grow as well. Having the whole family grow together and come out stronger is a plus point for anyone. The interactions and conversations in this book was great and much needed to hopefully help readers understand their backgrounds better. I love how the point of views were alternated between Chloe and Drew. Another plus point is the author putting in effort of giving each chapter a title as it serves as a sneak peak as what's to come., although I never could have guess what's next.

Generally, the timeline of the book is paced quite well, it doesn't feel rushed. Even though there are time gaps here and there but you get the gist of a normal day happened for them. Ultimately the use of mandarin words gave this book so much character and life because those words carry culture, acceptance of heritage and knowledge that where ever in the world you are, however you grew up, the commonality of language is our similarity and also a type of bond we all can understand together. This is a great book and I truly wished those who read this that aren't Chinese will understand us a little bit better. I am definitely looking forward to more books by this author as to how she can continue to share our culture to the world.

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