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China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Step into a Kevin Kwan novel, and you know you’re in for an outrageous ride complete with glitz, glamour, jets, billionaires and diamonds, juxtaposed against the scandals, paparazzi and family politics. Here the people aren’t just crazy rich…they are China rich.

Kevin Kwan’s sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, delivers just the right composition of what you came to love in the first novel, but with a twist. China Rich Girlfriend continues where Crazy Rich Asians left off, but adding even more juiciness to keep you hooked.

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”~ Dorothy Parker

To my delight, China Rich Girlfriend focuses on some of the other characters that I personally found more intriguing in the first book. Astrid Leong, Singapore’s It Girl, is struggling to understand her husband’s new status in life. Seems like coming into newly minted tech billions is getting to his head. I love the relationship between Astrid and her friend, Charles Wu, the guy that keeps her sane and is a constant in her life. Charles is secretly in love with Astrid, but is such a gentleman that the love is in danger of remaining unrequited. Since the first book, I’ve been eager to see the two get together, but also torn to ensure that Astrid works things out with her husband. In this book, all bets are off, and I am team Charles all the way.

There is also the story of Kitty Pong, former soap opera star, now attempting to transform into Mrs. Katherine Tai, who is learning that it takes more than just a new name to get accepted into this level of high society.

“You might be invited to join the boards of inconsequential charities started by these bored expat wives. Your in-box will be filled with invitations for cocktails and the Chopard boutique or art openings in Sheung Wan. Sure, you may occasionally be invited to one of Pascal Pang’s parties, but the real Hong Kong will always be closed to you. You will never be asked to join the best clubs or attend the most exclusive parties in the best houses…Your children will never be able to get into the best schools and have playdates with children from the top families. You will never get to know all the people who move the economy, who have the ear of the top politicians in Beijing, who affect culture. People who truly matter in Asia.”

Finally there is the arching story of Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young that was prevalent in the previous novel. If you read Crazy Rich Asians (and you should before diving into China Rich Girlfriend) you will know that Nicholas was willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance just so he could marry Rachel, a girl who didn't have the approval of his mother. In this book, they are all set to tie the knot.

But as frustrated as it is, Nick is starting to realize that he is never going to change his mother. Like so many of her generation, her entire existence seems to revolve around the acquisition and preservation of fortune. It’s a contest of sorts amongst her and her friends. Who will leave the most houses, the biggest conglomerates, and the fattest stock portfolios to their children after they die.

This is a book that is everything that you’d expect to hate about the rich and famous, yet Kevin Kwan knows just how to reel you in and obsess about the absurdity and the triviality. China Rich Girlfriend is an indulgence that you just can’t help; it is a guilty pleasure.

For example, the attempt to transform Kitty Pong to a model desirable elite in society, is both absurd, yet almost believable. From what type of jewelry she must buy, to what brand of car to be seen in, China Rich Girlfriend may have you questioning yourself about your own material choices in life.

“You shall no longer be chauffeured around in that Rolls-Royce. I have always felt that unless one is either over sixty years of age or in possession of a silver helmet of hair that resembles Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, being seen in a Rolls is completely ridiculous. Instead, please purchase a Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8, or BMW 7 Series like everyone else.”  

China Rich Girlfriend is everything I dislike about rich people and their lifestyle, and yet I unintentionally found myself drawn into Kevin Kwan’s “make-believe” world. I challenge you to read this book and not become totally absorbed with its absurdity. At its core, the China Rich Girlfriend is about love, family and all the choices you make in life. Money can buy you a lot of things, but can it buy you happiness? 

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

China Rich Girlfriend is published by Doubleday, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company