Cover Image: Rent a Boyfriend

Rent a Boyfriend

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Member Reviews

I reviewed the book in the Asian Review of Books, link below. I will also have a review in the South China Morning Posts sometime in December 2020. The SCMP is the largest English newspaper in Hong Kong and the enjoys a wide readership. The Asian Review of Books link is at https://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/rent-a-boyfriend-by-gloria-chao/
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This book is the perfect amalgam of romantic comedy (fake dating!!), East Asian culture, food, family, and growth. 

Growing up Chinese, i recognise my family and I in Chloe and her parents’ struggles, so I really liked that aside from focusing on the romance between Chloe and Drew, the story centers around familial relationship. The book explores the nuances of familial love, seeing how the crux of novel is the conflict between Chloe and her parents’ differing perspectives on her achievements. They want the best for her but struggle with balancing their own ambitions and respecting Chloe’s own ambitions. Chloe’s parents want her to marry Hongbo, which is the complete opposite of what Chloe wants. That’s where Drew steps in. The stakes are high when the motivation behind their behavior are filled with problematic East Asian beliefs that have ingrained themselves deeply into the culture. Hence, seeing Chloe’s parents overcome these cultural hurdles, and Chloe learning how to establish boundaries, together, made the book really heart rending to read.

And that was really heightened by the support Drew gave to Jing Jing, and vice versa. Both of them struggle with not being the perfect Asian kids their parent’s desire, and it was wonderful to watch them learn to stand up for themselves. Their journey throughout this book was fun and emotional, filled with so many hilarious incidents and heartwarming gestures from both parties. And I really enjoyed watching them fall in love and grow together.

I know that this is a rom-com, and like that tag comes with the implication that the story is lighthearted. I won’t deny that it is not, but that was precisely why I loved it. While i had my own personal issues with this book, it is without a doubt a brilliant and heartfelt read which I cannot recommend it enough. 

Four BIG mooncake points.
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This was such a cute contemporary romance! I love the way Gloria Chao always writes about the diasporic Chinese experience in a way that feels so authentic. This plot was just so much fun, and I loved seeing Chloe  and Drew's relationship build throughout the book!
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Based on a real practice in some Asian countries, Rent a Boyfriend follows a Chinese girl named Chloe who rents a fake boyfriend (Drew) for the holidays in hopes of dissuading her family from pressuring her to be with this really awful guy from a wealthy family in her community. Except real feelings develop and things get very...complicated.

This is a book about familial expectations, cultural gaps with immigrant parents, and the struggle to be who you are, keep a relationship with your parents, and not completely reject your cultural identity. It's also a love story with an eye-catching premise! There is a lot to like here and it tackles a lot of complex issues as we slowly get to know Chloe, her parents, and some of the reasons for their differing perspectives. Meanwhile Drew has his own complicated story and difficult relationship with his parents to navigate as he falls for his client.

I do think this book is too long and suffers a bit due to pacing, but overall I enjoyed my time with it and appreciated how all of these topics were handled. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Rent A Boyfriend is a sweet YA romance featuring Chloe, a college student, and Drew, the man she "rents" to play her boyfriend.

Chloe felt she had to do that because her parents are excited about having set her up to marry someone from their little Chinese community (a man who treated Chloe pretty poorly the one time they went out on a date). As the author notes, the "rent a boyfriend" premise was inspired by a real-life practice in which women in some Asian countries hire fake boyfriends to blunt pressure from family.

I really liked that about this book - for being a romantic comedy, there's some weight to it. Reasons why women may feel they need to rent boyfriends are explored, as well as family communication and culture. Indeed, oftentimes Chloe's journey - navigating her relationship with her parents, determining the extent to which she wants to keep her "two worlds" separate - sort of steals the show from the romance.

Not that the romance isn't sweet! You do get the impression that these two truly care about and want the best for each other.
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What happens when your parents want you to marry a douchecanoe and you are about to literally be married off to him against your will before you can swallow your dumpling at dinner? You hire a fake boyfriend, obviously.

RENT A BOYFRIEND is a rich, cultural tapestry of parental relationships, secrets, fist fights in nice homes, sheep in anti-gravity boots, and mooncakes. Gloria Chao does a marvelous job of creating tension between Chloe and her parents stretched so tight you can feel it trembling. Drew is a wonderful character, whose POV takes up about 20% of the book. I would have loved to see more from him, and more conflict that isn't just wrapped up suddenly in the epilogue. I loved reading a YA with a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old. College YA is much needed!

The concept and detail that went into Rent for Your 'Rents is clearly a labor of love. I loved the extra details at the end! And I think the way the company played into wrap-up of the story was genius. Another must-read if you're looking for a romcom starring a female Asian character with #ownvoices rep!
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Being a South-Asian, I understand parental and societal pressure. No aspect of an Asian Kid's life is ever entirely their own, however old they may be. There's always a parent/relative/neighborhood aunty ready to poke their nose into your life and choices. Chloe "Jing" Wang belongs to such a close-knit Taiwanese American community,  Sadly, it's also the source of her biggest headache as her parents are forcing her to accept a proposal from the Community's resident rich guy (and colossal jerk) Hongbo

As a solution, the sophomore at UChicago hires Drew from Rent for your 'Rents in an attempt to make her parents believe she's in a serious relationship. Things however take a turn, when she starts falling for the real Drew, a complete anti-thesis of his on paper personality!

Based on a real-life practice of hiring fake boyfriends to impress the parents on Lunar New Year, Rent a boyfriend is a perfect mix of humor, drama, and romance! I found myself falling in love with the description of Drew's paintings, sympathizing with Drew and Chloe as they dealt with filial problems, laughing and swooning as they interacted and of course, salivating at all the Asian food! 

Check out my journal spread inspired by the book on my IG!
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I have so many mixed feelings! I'm going to try and keep this short, I think it was a mostly me problem. I didn't vibe with the author's writing style and there were parts where the romance was really overdone and sappy. There were also some issues that I had with the pacing of the story but let me just say that I absolutely love Chloe and Drew, I ADORE THEM. Especially Chloe, our messy Asian American girl <3 Also, what the author wrote best about were all the relationships, especially the family dynamics and how that interacted with Chloe's identities. 

So, not a perfect book but I would still recommend that you go try it out :)
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This is the story of Chloe, a young woman who is tired of her parent’s demands and their matchmaking. In order to get them off her back, she hires Andrew to pretend to be her boyfriend. In the same vein as The Wedding Date, pretend feelings turn to real ones as these two college age young people learn to defy family expectations and stand up for what they want.
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Rent a Boyfriend started out...difficult. It leaps right into the action and we don't know Chloe at all. Six chapters in, all we know about her apart from her situation with Hongbo and her hiring Andrew is that she's an economics major. I loved Gloria Chao's debut, and I enjoyed Wayward Fate, so maybe I'll read this again and have a different opinion.
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Rent a Boyfriend started out rough for me.
It jumps right into the action, which was fine. I was looking forward to this book because fake relationships are my absolute jam, my favorite trope, by far. So, as far as I’m concerned, the quicker we get to the pretending, the better. The drawback? You don’t know the characters well.
As I read Rent a Boyfriend, I couldn’t help thinking that it read more like fanfiction than a novel. I can’t put my finger on why. The overly dramatic thoughts and scenarios? Probably. Hongbo, the impetus for Chloe renting a boyfriend, was a straight-up jerk-boy caricature in his first scene (which got the point across that we don’t like him, but it was a bit ridiculous). There was just something about Chloe and Drew’s thoughts and dialogue that just felt stilted and unrealistic – and (like I said) mediocre fanfiction.
As the book went on, however, I liked it more and more. The writing/dialogue still wasn’t great, but as it delved more into Chloe’s identity and her relationship with her parents, I connected with the story and characters more. Also, for a book that involves a crazy amount of lying, Chloe and Drew’s communication was the best I’ve seen in any romance book in a long time. It was refreshing.
Overall, mixed feelings. The writing and language felt awkward and stilted for the whole book, but Rent a Boyfriend delved deeper than I expected it to and redeemed itself a bit.
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The best part of this book was the deep look at the complex family relationships. I was really impressed by that aspect of the book. I thought the romance was mediocre. I did enjoy how the book took place over a period of months so that we were really able to see how the relationships worked.
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It's a romantic comedy story where a college student ( Chloe ) hires a fake boyfriend to impress her parents but eventually falls for him. 
I really liked this story. To be frank I chosed this book because I love asian dramas and this book gave me the same aesthetic feel to it. I really loved the character development and the richness in the tradition. The whole story is set in taiwanese culture and with a american touch to it. I really liked the fact that the story was described in both Chloe's and Drew's POV. 
A really enjoyable read with great ending.
Highly recommended to all and whole heartedly recommended to kdrama lovers.
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Rent-A-Boyfriend was a lovely rom-com with a lot of heart. Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes and I loved how well that trope was used here. More than that though, I also appreciated how Chao used it long enough to be fun without letting it overstay its welcome. I see a lot of authors not know when to quit and extend it until it’s painful but that wasn’t the case here! While Chloe and Drew met under scripted circumstances, they forged their relationship with real communication and understanding as well as putting in the work to understand the difference in their circumstances. The family message in this book was also really deftly handled. As someone who knows all too well the struggles of loving your parents but not always being able to be authentic with them, I felt Chloe’s struggle even though it was different from mine. Chao really dug into the nuance between not wanting to sacrifice yourself for the sake of appeasing your parents and I really love how she did it. I think it’s so important, especially in young adult fiction, to show through Drew’s story that you don’t always have to take your family back. There are so many movies and books where the impetus is put upon the wronged to forgive and bend over backward to forgive and welcome back the people who hurt them and that is just the wrong message. I really appreciate the fact that Drew stood up for both him and Chloe to say that they deserved better because they did. For a book that’s packaged as this fun and quirky little romance, it packs a punch. To be fair, it really is funny and adorable and I love Chloe and Drew very much but it’s also a lot more than I was expecting. I’m so glad I got a chance to read this really sweet and heartfelt little book and I recommend it.
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This was full of delicious Taiwanese food, heart-wrenching family angst, a romance that starts as a business agreement and turns into something soft and vulnerable. You can’t help rooting for Chloe and Drew, and hoping they can defy pressure and heartache to be together. It also unpacks toxic parental relationships, lying under the guise of love, and the perspective of being a diaspora child of Taiwanese immigrants. It hits some heavy themes and the characters are a bit older than YA, so I'd say it's more of a NA romcom!

If you love fake dating, this one is for you!⁣
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There is no denying that Asian parents are strict, they certainly have a unique way of raising their children. The most common thing the Asian parents do is, pressurize their children into a profession that they are not fervid about. I have seen so many such cases around. Then, they pressurize their children to marry according to their wish (mostly in case of girls) which according to me is wrong. They overrule academics and expect too much. But I must say I am very lucky that my parents never force me to do things that I don’t like. 


So talking about this book, it is about an Asian (Taiwanese) girl named Chloe Wang who is asked to marry Hongbo, a boy chosen by her parents. But she doesn't believe that he is good for her, so she rents a boyfriend, Drew from Rent for Tour ‘Rents, a company that provides trained fake boyfriends. The quest is simple, she has to impress her parents that Drew is good enough for her, so they will stop bragging about Hongbo. But at last, she starts falling for the real Drew.


What happens next? Will she talk about it?
To know what happened go grab a book for yourself!😁


Chloe’s perspective was genuinely interesting and I loved seeing her character development. Drew, on the other hand, was way too much of this Perfect Guy.


I enjoyed how accurate this book was. I liked the use of linguistics in the staring of every chapter. I could connect to the story as Chloe's problems were genuine and are common among all the youngsters. The plot and characters are good. The story is described in both Chloe’s and Drew’s POV and I loved this contrasting theme. The easy dip into romance made me smile. 

Overall, an enjoyable read with a great ending.
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Gloria Chao's American Panda captured my heart with its mix of humor and heart back in 2017 when I was lucky enough to read the ARC ahead of its early 2018 release. Gloria has a signature style that has appeared in each of her books, including Rent a Boyfriend. It’s an unapologetic celebration of and tribute to the language and culture of Taiwanese and Chinese Americans, full of tongue-in-cheek puns and allusions.

While Rent a Boyfriend has mostly been hyped as a romcom with the fake dating trope, and it definitely did make me laugh out loud multiple times, it’s also very much a sentimental coming-of-age story that explores the complicated relationship between diaspora kids and their parents and culture. Both Chloe and Drew struggle to reconcile what they want for themselves with what their parents want for them. Drew puts up a front around everyone but his family and paid the price when he decided to drop out of college and pursue art. Meanwhile, Chloe has been playing the role of the perfect daughter in front of her parents and is realizing just how suffocating and unsustainable it is. When their paths cross, they begin to push each other onto a path toward being confident in their true selves.

The romance between Chloe and Drew is a mix of playful inside jokes and deeply vulnerable heart-to-hearts. Both Chloe and Drew have deep-seated insecurities that have held them back, and their budding romance brings all of those issues to the fore in messy ways. The thrill and joy of finding someone who gets them is shadowed by the lies they’ve constructed and the secrets they’ve kept close to their hearts to protect themselves after being hurt by those they love most. These tensions and conflicts are explored throughout the book, establishing its emotional core and fueling Chloe and Drew’s character arcs.

Although the romance is central to free story, I’d argue that the biggest conflict within the story is between Chloe and her mother. Chloe desperately wants her mother to be happy but resents shrinks under the constant criticisms she receives from her. Money, appearances, and purity are everything to Chloe’s mother. Their mother-daughter relationship is poisoned by internalized misogyny. Chloe tries her best to push back against these oppressive ideals, with limited success. She later learns that there is a reason behind it all, and the story balances understanding where her mother is coming from with breaking the cycle of toxicity.

As the comp to The Farewell hints, there’s a hidden cancer diagnosis in the story. Chloe finds out her parents have been hiding her father’s cancer from her and it is a source of sadness and fear for her. She struggles to understand why they would keep something so important from her, among other things. This aspect of the story hit very close to home for me since I also experienced something similar, albeit on a milder level, when my family hid my mom’s cancer diagnosis from me for a week to keep it from affecting my mental state while preparing for a college interview. Even knowing why they did it, it still hurt.

Overall, Rent a Boyfriend was such an emotional experience. I was so invested in Chloe and Drew’s stories. I laughed and sighed and teared up at various points in the story. I think it’s my new favorite from Gloria.

Content/Trigger Warnings: misogyny, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, classism homomisia, cancer
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This book was so adorable and it had the plus of featuring older YA characters! While not set in college, I appreciated that the main character Chloe was at college but still feeling the weight of her parents on her from miles away. Drew is so great as a love interest and I knew right away that they would be a great match for each other. They’re perfect for each other and I rooted for them the whole time. I also really want mooncakes now.
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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!
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An emotional ride through the darker aspects of Chinese culture in the United States, and the rift it can create between generations. Rent a Boyfriend follows the lengths a young woman would go to protect herself from a future she doesn't want. In the process of doing so, she learns exactly what she wants, and what she has to do to have. This book is about sacrifice and how in excess it does more harm than good. Illustrating the importance of communication, and the battle to find stable ground among the generations. It's an emotional ride, the ends with a breath of relief. I definitely recommend it.
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