Rent a Boyfriend Review | Gloria Chao

Nov. 12, 2020

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

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What would you do if you met your supposed boyfriend the same moment your parents do?

That's the situation Chloe Wang is in when she meets Drew Chan for the first time. Gloria Chao brings the concept of renting a boyfriend, a practice common amongst Asian countries, over to the US in her novel, Rent a Boyfriend. While Drew is under the guise of Andrew at the Wangs' residence over Thanksgiving, Chloe or Jing-Jing, which is her Chinese name, romances her parents into the idea that she is indeed in a stable relationship with Andrew, a rich and smart pre-med student who also studies at the University of Chicago.

Soon enough, the façades of Jing-Jing and Andrew crumble as they, as Chloe and Drew, fall for each other's true identities. Of course, that doesn't go without a potential marriage offer from Hongbo, a son from an affluent family, and Chloe's parents urging her to marry him. This soon becomes a novel of how will Chloe get what she wants, while keeping her family and herself afloat.

I truly enjoyed this book. I'm overjoyed that I had the opportunity to read Gloria Chao's book in advance of the publishing date, and I am incredibly grateful to Hear Our Voices for setting this up for everyone! Gloria Chao provides great insight into this common practice in Asia and shows how it is perceived in this American society.

There were many things I loved about this book! The dynamic between Chloe and Drew was to die for! While it was swoon-worthy and romantic, it was also super natural and realistic to me because they shared many jokes and little moments that I almost loved more than the major moments of the book. I loved to see the repetition of symbolism, and this book nailed it. I loved seeing Chang’e & the concept of the moon show up time and time again! I think it was great to see the moon in Drew’s art especially because he allowed himself to be vulnerable in his work. Above all, I think something that has to be mentioned is the push and pull between Chloe and her parents. This relationship was incredibly honest and I really commend Gloria Chao for taking on these hard topics! As an Asian-American, I understand all of the stereotypes about “tiger parents.” While mine aren’t like that, there are many families out there who have a parent who is incredibly overbearing, from education to marriage. I loved that Gloria Chao gracefully accepted the challenge to be honest and realistic with her book.

While there were many things I loved, I found myself at odds with the Hongbo and Chloe relation. I understand the conflict between Hongbo, Chloe, and Chloe's family, but to me, it just didn't flow naturally. I think if there was more buildup to the situation, then it would have felt less choppy. Though, without the inclusion of Hongbo, there wouldn't be a need for Drew so I'm definitely grateful for that!

I was seriously satisfied with this book! Gloria Chao hit it out of the park with this one and I can't wait to read her other novels. What I loved the most was how many of the events in the book went full circle and tied up nicely at the end.

I think if you're ready to laugh and feel some good feels, you're ready to tackle this book. If you're anything like me and soak up any rom-coms, especially those with a cast that I can resonate with on a race perspective, then you're looking for the right book.

Rent a Boyfriend has been published on November 10, 2020. Buy your books at major retailers, but also try to find online or local indie shops who may carry this book! Thank you to Hear Our Voices for providing me the opportunity to read this in advance, and Gloria Chao and her team for this wonderful book!