Book Reviews

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

Expected publication November 10th, 2020 by Simon Pulse.

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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?

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

When I heard this story was the lovechild of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Farewell, I was immediately intrigued. I LOVED To All the Boys in a way I haven’t loved a teen romance novel in a long time, and you know I BAWLED my eyes out watching The Farewell. Throw in a classic trope like fake-dating? Sold!

So, I was more than a little pumped to pick up this novel, and thankfully, Rent a Boyfriend did not disappoint.

This book was an absolute treat to read! Many kudos – and all the mooncake points! – to Gloria Chao for writing such a thoughtful and sweet story. 🥮🌙✨

Rent a Boyfriend tells the story of Chloe and Drew, both the children of Taiwanese immigrants; one a college student studying commerce who hires a fake boyfriend to impress her parents; the other a struggling artist who has made of career of pretending to be the ideal boyfriend to impress traditional Asian American parents. Their goal is simple: convince Chloe’s parents she’s better off with the perfect-on-paper “Andrew” than the slimy local billionaire bachelor, Hongbo, whose parents have convinced Chloe’s that their children are meant to be. (Or, at least that a wedding between them would be a good business transaction.)

What wasn’t in their plan was to fall in love… but that’s exactly what happens. And the more time Chloe and Drew spend together, the harder it is for them to stay the course and convince Chloe’s parents that Andrew – not the real Drew – is who Chloe should be with.

By weaving a relatable tale of two Taiwanese children trying to meet both the expectations of their parents as well as their own – sometimes contrasting – wants and desires, Chao manages to create a thought-provoking story that is equal parts serious as it is sweet. 🧁💕

Finding a balance between being serious and silly can be difficult to do, and the ability to do so can make or break a romance novel. However, Chao manages to do so with aplomb, resulting in a final product that is a funny, fresh and unique romance that feels both inspired and realistic.

Both main characters, Chloe and Drew, were fabulous, and I adored them both for different reasons. My heart broke for both of them over and over again as they tried to find their way in the world around them, and their place in it, while staying true to themselves.

The romance was equal parts adorable as it was steamy. I fell utterly in love with them as a couple at the same time that they were falling in love with each other. 💘

Overall, I thought that this story was so cute it left me with a toothache. The type you only get after binge-eating the best kind of desserts~ ☺️

What’s a cute romance you are head over heels for?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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