Cover Image: Rent a Boyfriend

Rent a Boyfriend

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I actually wasn't able to finish this book. I don't think it was for me. I tried and  I LOVED  this author but it fell kind of flat for me. I kept wanting the story to pick up and it didn't. Totally me though!
Was this review helpful?
I'm sorry to report that this book didn't work for me. I struggled with connecting with the characters, and the story. After multiple attempts to finish this book, it didn't happen so I'm throwing in the towel.
Was this review helpful?
Today’s review is going to be a bit fun! I will be posting my review in five gifs, which is what I did for We Are Not Free by Traci Chee. I’ll also talk a little bit about the book as it relates to my experience as an Asian American. I am not specifically Taiwanese American (I’m Chinese American), and I didn’t grow up with immigrant parents, so as a disclaimer here, I’d like to say I can’t speak on those specific identities.

I think this gif accurately portrays how freaking excited I was to read Rent a Boyfriend. From the opening line I was sucked in, and I couldn’t get enough of it! All I wanted to do was read it. Seriously, I think I ignored my partner more than once because I was too enthralled with my book (sorry!!). This book is such a delightful one full of voice and witty commentary with a reflective tone.

A major part of this book is Chloe/Jing Jing’s relationship with her parents, specifically her mom. There is a lot of hurt on Chloe’s part, from the backhanded compliments to the nagging about her single status, Chloe has a hard time with her mom. And this isn’t to say that her mom is terrible, you can truly tell that Chloe loves her mom and her family, but it’s a very difficult and complicated relationship to navigate as a young woman. I can totally attest to this as someone who’s going through growing pains with my mom. Chloe is constantly trying to balance who she is and who she thinks her parents want her to be, and that’s exhausting. It was great to see this part of growing up explored in this book.

Let’s definitely not forget to talk about the fake dating aspect of the book! It’s one of my top favorite tropes, and to see it with Asian main characters was truly a treat. I loved the realness between Chloe and Drew from the get go. They knew the terms of the agreement, but they also had a spark of truth behind every interaction. I loved watching their relationship develop over the course of the book. Drew and Chloe respected and pushed each other to do more and be more themselves. They weren’t afraid to be bare and honest, which really made their relationship stronger. Everything they went through felt so real, and I love that this practice is pulled straight from Asian culture as well.

Food also is a big element in the book. Chloe has a small, private point system for herself that’s measured in mooncakes. She accidentally lets it slip in front of Drew, and soon they’re both talking about the number of mooncake points different things would be worth. I love how this is a marriage of their Asian and American sides. Something Chloe struggles with a lot is how she feels like she straddles two different worlds and two different versions of herself. She feels like she’s disconnected with the Asian part of her identity, but she finds little ways to incorporate it in her life, especially through food. Drew is a wonderful force in her life in this regard. He helps Chloe meld her two selves and realize that both are equally important to who she is as a person.

Overall, I would give this book a bazillion mooncake points and two thumbs up from sheep in pajamas. This book is filled to the brim with angst, happiness, and a lot of growing. I’m definitely going to be rereading this in the future when I need a shot of joy in these bleak times. As to my own experience, I definitely related a lot to Chloe’s feelings of inauthenticity. I also occupy the liminal space of being Asian and American and sometimes not feeling like I’m enough of either to be part of the community. I love the heart that this book is written with, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂
Was this review helpful?
I couldn’t get into this one but I do think that others would definitely enjoy this style of writing. Would still recommend this as I think others would enjoy
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this cute story although the idea of fake dating isn't really my kind of thing. I also like the Asian representation here because it's just too relatable. It was the conflicts that kept me excited to read more. And honestly, I just couldn't get enough of the blooming romance between Chloe and Drew and their journey to pursuing their dreams together.

Thank you Gloria Chao for providing me a copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book was pretty cute and tackled some relatable YA/NA topics well. It can be so hard to be bogged down by parental expectations while trying to figure out who you are and want you want to do with your life. The added miscommunications and barriers presented in this novel due to the cultural/generational differences presented by the MC's parents will also be relatable for readers who balance multiple identities; how do you balance what you need from life with what your parents and community want from you? 
The romance was cute and the set-up was unconventional but also interestingly based on real life services. I didn't love every conflict in this book, but I would recommend it to readers who like fake dating tropes, reading about strained relationships between parents and child, and readers who are transitioning into adulthood.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book with vibes of Kiss Quotient and Crazy Rich Asians. I expected this book to be similar to American Panda, but the relationship and actions of characters make this more of a YA book (that adults will also enjoy).  Chloe and Drew's story is predictable, but the dialogue has humor and sweetness. It's a fun book to read.
Was this review helpful?
Chloe's traditional Taiwanese parents won't get off her back about dating a slimy-but-rich society catch. She hires Drew, who sidelines as a fake boyfriend, to ease some of the parental pressure. But what happens when she gets to know the real Drew? What happens when the fake arrangement is more real than Chloe had bargained for? And certainly more than Drew had bargained for. Can these two make something real from a completely faked beginning? Chao's tale is charming in its execution, with very real foibles and missteps overcome by a strong attachment. The characters are likable and the writing is fresh.
Was this review helpful?
This book makes me really appreciate my parents!!

Gloria Chao just knows how to balance serious family issues with love and humor!

It's so cool to read about a girl fighting for her best life even though her family doesn't think so. I think this book can and is very empowering!
Writing style was fun! Loved the included text messages
Romance was mostly believable but VERY enjoyable!
Seeing stories with complicated families is also reassuring! 
I loved that the two main characters tried to encourage each other for the better
Story is based on a real tradition or service of "renting a boyfriend" 

The miscommunication trope didn't feel to real - they gave up rather quickly after just bef=ginning though they just agreed that it wouldn't be easy. Seemed forced and just for the plot.

I would recommend this to everyone! Love Gloira Chao's work!
Heart warming and interesting stories, that tackle serious issues.
Was this review helpful?
Rent a Boyfriend honestly looks like a fun and lighthearted read. While there are a lot of nice moments between the two main characters, Chloe and Drew, the story deals with a lot of hard themes as well. I really enjoyed the mixture of fluffy and difficult. There was a nice balance between the two. I think the writing was well done and kept my interest throughout. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks NetGalley for the preview! 

I was instantly charmed by this fake dating idea and cannot resist the dual narrators in a will-they-won't-they story! I felt Chloe's emotions along with her and loved Drew's charm. If you've ever felt like you disappointed your family-read this book! I loved this story and learning about the 2 characters as well as their culture!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars

Fake dating is my favorite romance trope, so I’ve been super exited for RENT A BOYFRIEND! I read it this past week and loved it! If you’re looking for more college YA, this book is perfect. It’s a fun romcom taking place over the holidays (Thanksgiving through Chinese New Year) starring Taiwanese-American characters.
Was this review helpful?
Rent a Boyfriend was a fun rom-com that I absolutely adored! It's a fresh take on fake dating. It follows Chloe, who is home from college and sick of her parents pestering her to get married. She hires Drew to be her fake boyfriend in order to get her parents off her back for a while. She's not expecting to fall for Drew.

Told in alternating perspectives between Chloe and Drew, this book takes a look at different family dynamics. Both are Asian-American and have very different yet unifying experiences of being the child of immigrants. Chloe is pushing back against her parents expectations and trying to keep the peace, while Drew is estranged from his family because of his passion for art.

This is ultimately a fun rom-com that also has some serious elements in it. It explores the pressure put on the children of immigrants, and especially, the struggles that women face. I really enjoyed it and will be recommending it a lot at my library. Readers who enjoyed Gloria Chao's previous books will adore this one. I will also be recommending it to fans of David Yoon!
Was this review helpful?
Chloe Wang or Jing Jing is a college freshman majoring in economics. She has pressure from her parents to marry Hong Bo, a wealthy asshole. Does Chloe like Hong Bo? Of course not. Well then, does Hong Bo like Chloe? NO. She decides to hire a fake boyfriend from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company that specializes in providing fake boyfriends, to try to stop her parents from forcing her to marry Hong Bo.

Drew, the other main character, is the fake boyfriend. He was disowned by his family after choosing to drop out of college to pursue a career in art and became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to earn money. So what will happen when Drew and Chloe start to fall for each other?

I really enjoyed how authentic this book was. This book included the tone markings with Mandarin words and the author also explained the system and significance of tone markings in the beginning of the book. I have not read many books that include tone markings with mandarin words and explain them. I really liked that it was explained so that readers who don’t understand Mandarin would be able to understand the reason for the tone markings.

The plot and characters are okay. I don’t think that they are too special or unique. I don’t think that I actually liked any of the characters and their personalities. I liked their internal conflicts more. The inner conflicts that were written in this book were so good and so true. My favorite was probably Drew’s inner conflict.

Chloe’s conflicts are very real. She doesn’t feel like she is being herself because of her parents. Even with that, I liked how she tried not to change for her parents and kept true to herself.

I’ve never read any books with a fake dating trope so I didn’t know what to expect, but I enjoyed it. I was really worried about the romance because I was scared that it was going to feel really forced and unnatural, but that wasn’t the case. The romance was really sweet, cute, and natural. But there are some parts that I felt were a bit cringy and sappy.

The parents don’t have a POV of their own in the actual story but you could understand the parents’ perspectives through Chloe and Drew. I think this part was written extremely well. The author really nailed the thoughts of Taiwanese parents (and Asian parents in general). I liked how both Chloe and Drew didn’t give in to their parents’ requests/wishes and believed in themselves. 

This was a very thought-provoking novel and I would definitely recommend this book to you!

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
When I first heard the premise of Gloria Chao’s Rent a Boyfriend, I fell in love. Then I saw the gorgeous pink cover and literally wanted a framed portrait of it on my wall. Filled with an adorable romance and food descriptions, this fun storyline had me hooked from the first page. However, while I adored the concept and romantic banter, I didn’t love the actual book as much as I loved the idea of it.

I’ve read all of Gloria Chao’s books so far, and Rent a Boyfriend is probably my favorite out of all she’s written, followed shortly by Our Wayward Fate. I always have such complex feelings over Gloria Chao’s books because while I’m always swept away by her fun premises and cute romance storyline, I’ve found that her writing style just isn’t for me. 

Part of the reason why I struggle with Gloria Chao’s books are because her parents are much more extreme and traditional than my own so I found it difficult to empathize with them. Still, I understand how each diaspora individual’s story is unique so I appreciated getting to see a different perspective than what I grew up with.

I’ve also noticed a pattern with Gloria Chao’s storylines with how the main characters constantly want to break free from their overbearing parents despite their stringent nature coming from a place of love. Her writing style also tends to rely heavily on the same jokes, and in this case, it was “a piece of mooncake” like “a slice of cake” or “mooncake points” like “brownie points.” The first few mentions were fun and clever, but after the 20th time, I grew tired.

Still, this plotline of hiring a boyfriend and falling in love with them was so fun to watch unfold. While I didn’t click with Chao’s writing initially, I’ve grown to slowly enjoy her books more and more over time. This book doesn’t make my all-time favorites list, but it was still a fun and enjoyable read. I especially think this book would be a great fit for those who are between middle school and high school!
Was this review helpful?
My first impression upon seeing the title, Rent A Boyfriend was that The Kissing Quotient meets Taiwanese teenagers! Rent A Boyfriend feels like the teenager version of The Kissing Quotient by Helen Hoang! In The Kissing Quotient, the main character Stella hired an escort to help her practice in the dating department and that’s where the resemblance ends. In Rent A Boyfriend, Chloe Wang (Jing Jing 晶晶) was forced to rent a boyfriend to impress her parents to the point where they would drop the proposal from Hongbo, the richest and (snobbiest) young bachelor in their Asian-American community. She needs to find a way to change her parents’ mind before New Year’s (the deadline to say YES), when clearly all she wants to say is NO, and make a run for her life back to Chicago.

As an Asian-American myself, I understand how these “tiger parents” are, they want what they believe is “the best” for you, but without really understanding what you want. When you are in high school, they want you to make the best choices for college and career. When you graduate from college, they want you to find the best man to marry, especially if he is a millionaire. After you get married, all they will ever ask is when you will have children! I understand that being parents is a never-ending worry, but at the same time, they need to learn to give you space to make your own decisions and mistakes. Luckily, mine were pretty reasonable most of the time with my decisions. Jing Jing was not given this choice. Her parents want to make her marry someone she doesn’t LOVE! She took matters into her own hands by hiring Andrew to play the part of her boyfriend, who has won all the mooncake points from her! (Inside joke!)

I love all the cultural references such as the Mid-Autumn Festival with Cháng’é (moon goddess) and the mooncakes. The mention of qípáo (Chinese dress), miànzi (saving face is such a huge part of Asian community!), xiàoshùn (demonstrating filial piety, another huge part of Asian culture!) and mahjong. I especially love all the amazing Asian food references – chāoshāo bāo (Cantonesebun filled with barbecue pork), dòuhuā (soft tofu dessert), bubble tea, sībîng (turnip strip cake), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), wontons and even the Frankenbao! This is making me hungry and craving for some dim sum and Asian food.

Rent A Boyfriend had me feeling nostalgic, sad and joyful following the fake love to real love relationships between Chloe and Drew. I understand the hardship Drew had as an artist. At one point in my life I had thought I would be working in an artistic field, so I connected with Drew on that level, as well as to the hardship Chloe had as a daughter. I especially LOVE how Drew shares his art with Chloe after hiding it from the world for so long. I love the mention of Cháng’é, the moon and the sheep with antigravity boots over and over! That scene will look amazing in a movie! The buildup of Chloe and Drew’s relationship, was so on point for a rom-com movie that I would totally buy a movie ticket for it! At certain points in the story, I want to punch Hongbo for being a rich bastard who thinks he can get away with anything!

If you are ready for some good laughs and a few oh no! scenes, I highly recommend tackling this book with a smile. Gloria Chao did an amazing job representing the common practices in Asian culture and nailed the fake love to real love scenario! Luckily, I never had to consider using a Rent for Your ‘Rents service!

Rating: 5 out of 5 mooncakes
Was this review helpful?
This was so cute! I loved the main characters and identified with the rocky relationship with the parents. I will highly recommend this to readers at my library!
Was this review helpful?
I picked up this book expecting a cute romance, and instead got hit in the gut with one of the most relatable female characters I've ever personally encountered in YA media. While I am very much white, and this book represents Asian culture, I found myself relating very strongly to Chloe's dilemma, especially how she felt she had to be a different person around her traditional parents. There were many points throughout the book where I had to stop because things were hitting too close to home, and for that I have to say this book really resonated with me. 

<i>Rent a Boyfriend</i> follows the story of Chloe (or Jing-Jing, if you're talking to her parents) Wang, a college student who wants nothing more than to live her life without her parents breathing down her neck. When they try to force her into an engagement with a horrendously awful man named Hongbo, Chloe decides she can't take their meddling anymore. Desperate for an escape, she seeks the help of a company named Rent for Your 'Rents, allowing her to rent a boyfriend for the holidays to get her parents off of her back. What she doesn't expect, however, is to fall in love with her boyfriend for hire. Drew is kind, smart, sensitive, and a fantastic artist who has been estranged from his own traditional family for pursuing a "dead-end" career. The harder Chloe falls for this definitely-not-parent-friendly boy, the more difficult it becomes to untangle her intricate web of lies. 

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE Chloe Wang. Not only do I strongly relate to her situation with her parents, but there were many other instances in which I felt I truly understood her. Chloe struggles with severe self-esteem issues, some of which were brought on by not feeling good enough for her extremely strict parents. Her mother nags her constantly throughout the story, telling her to move closer to home and lose weight and change her major. Chloe's mother also says a number of shockingly hurtful things without meaning to be hurtful, something else I strongly related to. While some might read this and think Chao was severely overplaying the "cruel parent" part, I felt seen in an entirely new way. Yes, there really are parents out there cruel enough to tell their children, "You will never find someone who wants you without our help," and it really is devastating to hear.

Another way in which I related to Chloe was her shyness, and her inability to fit in with the "cool" crowd at school. At one point, she laments the fact that she can't hang out with people in college without feeling like a "wet blanket" because she hates drinking. As someone who spent her college years in a sorority but hated drinking, I also relate to this sentiment. It's incredibly difficult to have a social life when your interests are completely different from those of your peers, especially after having a strict upbringing that shamed you for even considering rebellion. From the very beginning of this book, I found myself rooting for Chloe, and felt that I would likely do the exact same thing if I were in her shoes.

Lastly, I relate to Chloe's unending desire to remain connected to her parents, even when they say hurtful things or push her to do things she doesn't want to do. I have spent my entire life trying to please my parents and make them proud, and I profoundly felt her pain when she despaired over never being good enough to earn their praise. I spent a large portion of my formative years feeling the same way, and even though my parents have said hurtful things, I also feel the need to reach out to them to keep our relationship intact. It's an incredibly toxic dynamic, but one that is very real and very harmful. I'm really glad that this book exists to shed some light on this dynamic.

Though I am German and know next to nothing about Chinese culture, I also really appreciated the cultural references injected into this book. I recently watched a cute animated film called <i>Over the Moon</i>, which featured the legend of Chang'e the moon goddess. Because of this, I was insanely happy to recognize some of the references to her and the "rabbit in the moon." I also loved the glossary of Chinese words and phrases in the back, which Chao personally defined herself rather than giving a textbook definition. 

I could really see how much of herself and her culture Gloria Chao injected into this book, as she explained what some of the terms meant to her personally. I am a huge fan of Own Voice novels, and I absolutely love learning about new cultures and languages. And, while this is an excellent representation of Chao's culture, I still found it resonating very strongly with me simply because of the main character's struggles. For that, I have to say this book provides both an excellent window <i>and</i> mirror for me personally. 

As someone who is a sucker for a good romance, I also thought Drew and Chloe were insanely cute together. While their relationship had to move fast for the sake of the plot, it still felt very genuine, as the two had a lot of instant chemistry. Drew is the kind of guy I wish I could find, as he's incredibly sweet and does everything in his power to make life easier for Chloe in any way he can. He's supportive and sensitive, and understands how important Chloe's relationship to her parents is, especially after losing his relationship with his own. At the same time, he isn't afraid to stand up for himself when he recognizes Chloe passing along some of the toxic traits she learned from her parents, and reminds her that it's not fair to constantly ask him to be a different person at the drop of a hat for her convenience. I thought this was a very healthy portrayal of a realistic relationship, and loved that it didn't have to revolve around pointless sex to get that message across. 

As I mentioned above, the most important aspect of this book for me was the relationship between Chloe and her parents. While Chloe's parents say some things that make you truly want to hate them, they turn around at times and prove that their misguided words come from love. For example, Chloe's dad shields an illness from her to protect her, and her mom saves for months in order to pay for her tuition a year in advance. While their words cannot and should not be excused, the book presents the relationship between Chloe and her parents as being complicated. After all, both parties are lying to one another for good reason, and both want to understand the other's viewpoint to meet in the middle. Perhaps it was because I related so strongly to Chloe that I forgave her parents as she did, but I could certainly see the complicated nature of family dynamics playing out in a realistic way.

While I loved this book, I rated it four stars simply because some of the writing felt a little clunky and awkward at times. I loved the romance, but it did move relatively quickly, and it felt like certain things were resolved prematurely (like Drew and Chloe breaking up because she couldn't put him first) for the sake of moving the plot along. Despite this, I found myself smiling, laughing, and even shedding a few tears throughout this book, as I truly related to Chloe and wished I could find a romance like hers. After reading the Author's Note, I was glad to see that Chao had a really great relationship with her own parents, as I wouldn't wish Chloe's experience on anyone. The ending of the book gave me hope that there is always a way to see eye to eye with those you love, even if it takes some time and effort. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt misunderstood by their family, especially if you have long-lasting self esteem issues from trying too hard to be perfect all the time. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a cute romance with diverse characters, as Asian culture isn't as readily presented in realistic romance as I would like. I will most definitely be adding this book to my library's collection, as well as my Romance list; it was an incredibly sweet, relatable story that I believe will win the hearts of many teens.
Was this review helpful?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rent a Boyfriend. It was adorable and chock full of family feelings that felt very real. Gloria Chao remains an auto-buy author for me.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao! I think in the past year I’ve started to outgrow “YA” since I graduated college and put more years in between me and the ages of typical YA main characters, so I really loved how Chloe is college-aged and Drew is two years older than her. It was fun to read from the dual perspective of Chloe and Drew, although it was more centered on Chloe. I thought it would be interesting at first to see how their relationship is written since we got both of their perspectives, but I think the author did really well in choosing which scenes were told from Chloe’s POV and which by Drew.

Something I loved about these characters were that they’re a lot more mature and reflective. While their relationship starts off uncertain with the fake dating aspect and does get built on lies, because of the fake dating aspect, between the two of them there’s more honesty and trust. It worked well to create a genuine relationship. I also really liked their independence as characters, how to a certain extent they can be themselves and make their own decisions. And I loved seeing them grow together and teach each other new things. They’re not perfect but they’re genuinely good people who are very thoughtful and considerate of others and their actions. To me, they felt more realistic, although I do wish we got a little more Drew. Chloe, I really loved. I think she was super charming as was the writing. It was a great balance of comedy, quirkiness, honesty, and there was just something about it that really resonated with me.

Plot-wise, I’d say the book centers mostly around family, the relationship between Chloe and her parents, especially her mom, which I loved! I think a lot of people will find it relatable. In the book, Chloe rents a boyfriend, Drew, to be her fake boyfriend over Thanksgiving to get rid of this horrendous family friend her parents are trying to get her to marry. While that part might not be so relatable, I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in how much Chloe loves cares for her parents and wants to be the best daughter, but in doing so she has to decide how much she can sacrifice being her true and entire self. So it’s a story of family, but also a story of speaking up for yourself and standing up for who you are, which is something seen in both Chloe and Drew’s character arcs.

Being an own voices book and an own voices (Chinese) reader, I absolutely loved how natural the cultural aspects of the book were, from weaving in Chinese words to the food to how Asians use ovens as storage and reuse plastic containers. Since both Chloe and Drew share Taiwanese background, all of these things were so normalized in their lives. I also loved how the author made a point to show two different diaspora stories. Chloe and Drew are both Taiwanese but their backgrounds, community and family dynamics are different. I think it’s super important because there is so much diversity in Asia and depending on country of origin, family history, immigration, people in the diaspora can have very different experiences. I’m glad it was something we got to explore a little in this book.
Was this review helpful?