Cover Image: Rent a Boyfriend

Rent a Boyfriend

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me an eARC through Netgalley to honestly review. 

Chloe (aka Jing-Jing to her parents) decides to hire a fake boyfriend to help prevent an engagement to a true manchild. In walks Andrew (real name: Drew) who is perfect on paper wealthy parents, promising wealthy career and connected with his Chinese culture.

Overall I enjoyed it and connected with Chloe. I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references like the board games Drew plays with his roommate. I thought the dual PoV was really great to get inside both of their heads. This book also made me so hungry with all of the food mentioned (though maybe not for the Frankenbaos). Also I really loved all the little extras at the end about Rent for Your 'Rents.

Chloe and Drew dueling with wanting their own happiness but also trying to make their parents proud was something I really related to. Plus understanding that your parents just want you to make a lot of money or marry money because they want you to be able to support yourself and be comfortable. I felt like it was easy to see and understand  both sides Chloe's and her parents even if I didn't agree. Honestly her relationship with her parents and her inner conflicts were really what shone throughout the book and felt like the primary plot with the romance plot just helping move it along.

My only criticism I think are more personal preference than anything. I thought some of it was a bit cheesy and that they really fell hard for each other quickly. So if you're into instaloves this is pretty perfect for that especially because I do feel at least from Drew's perspective he had a good idea of who Chloe was as a person. Also, I felt like Chloe and Drew seemed older than their character's actual ages. I kept having to remind myself Chloe was 19 and a sophomore when they both felt closer to the 22-25 age range.
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I love this one!! I loved Chao's AMERICAN PANDA. I really think we need more YA that takes place in college. I love Chloe and Drew, both of them trying to create their own identity and figure out their relationships with their parents. The renting a boyfriend aspect reminds me a bit of The Kiss Quotient! I really loved this!
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First of all, thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with an eARC.

Rent a Boyfriend is about a girl named Chloe (aka Jing-Jing) who rents a boyfriend in order to get her parents from forcing her into an arranged marriage she wants no part of. 

The beginning of this book, especially Chloe's first interactions with her rental boyfriend, Andrew, were great. There was humor, there were parts where you couldn't help but cringe right along with the characters, but around the halfway mark, something changed.

Once I made it past the halfway point, it seemed like someone slammed on the brakes. There was a lot of angsting over the same thing. Over and over and over again. I get that the characters are teens, but I feel the book would have flowed much better if 15% of the middle wasn't the same problem restated a dozen different ways. It was a real hang-up for me, so much so that I DNF'd this one at 69%.

Another thing that didn't help was that the author kept throwing in words and phrases in Mandarin, which I am very unfamiliar with. There was a glossary at the end, but seeing as I was reading a digital copy of this book, scrolling all the way to the end to look up a word wasn't really an option. (Note: After scrolling all the way to the end and looking at the glossary, I feel like if I'd had a hardcopy of this book, I would have done much better.) The Mandarin parts were supposed to be easy to figure out based on context, but I still found myself lost quite often. But that's what I get for growing up in a predominantly white county in the Midwest. 

However, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about other cultures, or teens who may be able to sympathize with the extremely hands-on parenting aspect of this book. The writing was great, no doubt about that. If someone were more familiar with the language or culture, it may be easy to take it all in stride. 

I do want to stress that the book was good, it just wasn't for me. I'm sure there is an audience out there for this book, but I'm just not a member of that audience. I really wanted to be. And I'm not ruling out that I may pick this book up again down the road when I'm in the right mood. It was just a bit more than I could handle right now.
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“Hey,” he said gently. “You were protecting yourself. Making the best decision for you isn’t something you ever have to apologize for.”

We all need a Drew. All of us. 

This story was just the right amount of cute and sweet, but don’t let that fool you. It was also heartbreaking and quite sad. Chloe/Jing Jing Wang has a major problem. Hongbo, her childhood/teenage/adult/LIFE bully proposed. Worst of all her parents love him (his money)!! What does a desperate girl do? Hire a fake boyfriend of course. Duh. 

This story was so good. It was cute and funny but dealt with all the pressure first generation children deal with. All the ridiculously high expectations, more so in this toxic community Chloe belongs to. Drew Chang was a breath of fresh air. He came in to save the day. He truly believes the company he works for, Rent for Your ’Rents, helps people. And the job pays well. He knows what it feels like to be rejected by family. I did not expect this story to be so deep. It’s the first story I read from this author and didn’t expect much. I was blown away! There’s so much heart. The parents were something awful. Like truly awful. I know they loved her but...it was hard to read some parts. Her mother was verbally and mentally abusive. 

I loved this book from beginning to end. I related so much to her. I especially loved all the food mentioned. I was laughing so much because we also have Mexican food with our Turkey on Thanksgiving. Our Turkey is spicy!! They had Chinese food with their Turkey but I related to it so much. It was so nice to see myself in Chloe and laugh at all the similarities but also appreciate the differences.
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Chloe Wang, known to her family as Jing-Jing, has spent her whole life trying to please her parents and not disappoint them by losing face in their exceptionally prestigious, cutthroat community. She gets some reprieve when she’s away at school in Chicago, but coming home to California has become something to dread, especially with her parents pressuring her to accept the sleazy Hongbo’s proposal. At home, Jing-Jing is meek and obedient, and keeps her thoughts to herself in order to keep the peace, but inside, Chloe is dying to express how she really feels and make her parents understand just how deeply their words impact her. But due to a lifelong communication barrier, Chloe is driven to drastic measures in order to convince her parents that Hongbo is not the guy for her.

That’s where Drew comes in. Chloe hires Drew to be Andrew, the perfect Taiwanese boyfriend ideally meant to get Hongbo out of the picture. Andrew is whatever parents want him to be, and has the closet full of college paraphernalia to match. As Chloe’s fake boyfriend, he’s a promising medical student at UChicago, but in reality, Drew is a thoughtful, empathetic artist who was disowned by his parents for following his dreams. He works for Rent for Your ‘Rents to pay the bills, sure, but he also knows firsthand what kinds of fraught familial relationships can drive someone to hiring a significant other in the first place, and he wants to do whatever he can to help, which makes his fake persona, Andrew, even more perfect. With Chloe, though, he doesn’t want to just be Andrew, her fake boyfriend – he wants to be Drew, her hopefully very real boyfriend.

I really enjoyed the progression of Chloe and Drew’s relationship. They (naturally) get off to a pretty rocky start, but once they start to get to know each other outside of the operation, they’re sweet and supportive of each other’s personal journeys. I especially loved the fact that while they definitely help each other, they both realize their self-worth independently.

You can read my full review here: https://loveyoshelf.com/2020/10/28/review-rent-a-boyfriend-by-gloria-chao/
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First and foremost, I want to say thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Shuster for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was my first Gloria Chao book, and I was not disappointed! American Panda has been on my radar for awhile, and reading this definitely made me want to pick it up even more.

This book follows two main characters in dual perspective, Chloe and Drew. After an unwanted proposal her parents are pressuring her to accept, Chloe (out of desperation) hires Drew to be her fake boyfriend for her family’s Thanksgiving weekend. However, things become more complicated when Chloe gets to know the real Drew, who her parents would never approve of.

Chloe is a first-generation immigrant, and her just wants to please her Chinese parents. Although I understood her motives, I did find myself getting a bit frustrated with her at times. She never stood up for herself, even when her future depended on it. I was rooting for her the whole time, just wanting her to tell her parents how she felt. By the end, we definitely were able to see a lot of character development, but it was a frustrating road to get there. I’m just not a huge fan of the ‘Damsel in Distress’ trope, where a girl needs a guy to save them from their toxic environment.

Drew, on the other hand, has been working at Rent for Your ‘Rents after being disowned from his family. He is an aspiring artist who just wants to help out Asian American women who are in tough situations with their parents. Drew is definitely super sweet, and treats Chloe so well, even when she does some shady things. I really enjoyed his character and reading from his perspective. Their banter was cute, although a bit cheesy.

Although the romance was cute, a large portion of this book revolves around the relationship Chloe has with her parents. This was a frustrating relationship to read about, but it was real and authentic. Chloe’s parents, particularly her mom, want what’s best for her, but don’t realize what they deem as ‘best’ may actually be hurtful. I could tell that this was something the author was well educated on, and maybe even related with Chloe in this aspect. It definitely informed me as a reader on how difficult it can be as an immigrant to try to balance an American lifestyle with the expectations your parents have on you. My heart went out to Chloe, and I was rooting for her to stick up for herself against her mom.

The part of this book that stuck out to me most was the way Gloria Chao interweaved Chinese culture into this YA contemporary. I think this is what made the book stick out compared to other fake-dating novels. She weaves in a lot of traditional Chinese foods (mooncakes, hot pot, and others I can’t think of at the moment) and games, holidays, etc. I could tell that these traditions were close to the author’s heart.

Lastly, I think it is definitely worth mentioning that Chao’s inspiration from this book came from real companies in Asia that rent out fake boyfriends to women around the holiday season, particularly Lunar New Year. The ‘Rent to Your ‘Rents’ company felt very real, and you can tell that she did her research! In the back, she even included applications, charts, and advertisements from the fictional company! It was a cute touch and I’m positive if it came to America, it would be a hit.
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A cross between The Wedding Date and lesson in cultural traditions, Rent a Boyfriend was able to strike a balance between the two - told in alternating perspectives I would recommend this to anyone looking for an adorable insightful romantic comedy.
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Fake dating is a trope that always draws me in and gets my attention. I was also interested when I learned this one is inspired by a real-life practice in some Asian countries where there are rent-a-boyfriend services to take home to your parents. 

I love the premise but unfortunately the execution didn’t work for me. I felt like this could have been an amazing story with some more subtlety to it. All the characters were so extreme - Hongbo - the man her parents wanted her to marry was so over the top awful. Take Gaston from Beauty and the Beast but also make him a school bully. What if he had been fine but just not someone Chloe was interested in? And her parents were so blatant and up front about their desires - what if they had kept it a little more hidden from Andrew but shown their displeasure in subtle ways? 

This didn’t work for me and I decided to dnf. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free review copy.
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I can’t remember the last time I read a book that felt so effortless.; something about the writing style just flows so elegantly that I couldn’t help but read this from start to finish. There is so much heart and humor in this book, that it kind of made me swoon. This is a book that I would read again-& coming from me, that says a lot.

But my ultimate question: is this really YA? I, personally, would classify this as New Adult given the age of our protagonists. That in no way should indicate that this is a judgement based on content, which is actually rather tame compared to some YA books....

For Libraries: All of that being said, if you want to target your college age readers-this is a great choice! Whether you shelve it in YA or adult, it will find readers.
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Chloe's parents want nothing more than for her to marry Hongbo, scion of a rich Chinese family (and maybe for her to go to Stanford and become a doctor, too). Unfortunately Hongbo is the world's biggest asshole (and his family isn't much better), so Chloe needs a solution--fast. Enter fake boyfriend "Andrew" (real name: Drew) from Rent for Your 'Rents, a service that provides fake significant others for Chinese young adults that need to bring home the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend to get their parents off their backs. But once Chloe and Drew meet and grow closer to one another, they can't tell what's a performance--or what might be real.

I enjoyed this a lot, though some redundancy in the plot made it a four- rather than a five-star book from me. Chloe and Drew were charming, although Drew was a little too perfect, and I was rooting for them until the end. And Chloe's relationship with her parents was heartbreaking--she wants so badly for them to approve of her, but she can't be anyone but herself. This is the perfect rom-com to snuggle up with on a rainy afternoon--not too heavy, but not all fluff, either. I'll definitely purchase and recommend this one.
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Cute and fun, this quick read made me think of "Crazy, Rich Asians" as I was reading it. The book was light and carried me through a rainy Saturday. The characters were stereotypical and one-dimensional. His "art career" was way too unbelievable going from never showing his work to getting a fellowship at a prestigious university and, thus, made this story from sugary to syrupy sweet.
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Rent a Boyfriend, by Gloria Chao, was a fun book to read and kept me entertained until the end. Having lived in Taiwan for a year, I really wanted to revisit Taiwanese people and experience again their wonderful hospitality. Of course, this book doesn't take place in Taiwan, it is All-American and more of a modern mix of cultures. I was a bit disappointed that the culture of Taiwan was mostly seen only in the parents and that the young people seemed to relate to the culture only through the parents. Because of this though, more of my students who are from many diverse cultures, will be able to relate to the characters in the book, ordinary American teens who have parents that are multicultural.
     I'm sure I'm not giving any spoilers when I say that readers all know right from the beginning that these two teens will end up falling for each other and having a romance. But the joy of the book is in watching that unfold and learning what makes these two characters tick.
      It's a fun read even though there are some difficult parts where the female protagonist has to deal with a person who is a bully and any girl who has had to deal with someone like him will cringe as she reads about it. Still go for it as the good of the male protagonist makes up for the bad of the bully and it's always a smile when the good guy wins.
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I really like the idea of this book — inspired by the real-life practice in some Asian countries where women hire fake boyfriends to bring home to alleviate the pressure from family to find a husband, adapted for a modern American audience — but it lacked something in the execution for me. Once the fake-dating cuteness disspates in the first few chapters, the plot becomes very repetitive. Girl's parents want to arrange her marriage with a misogynistic, gross, rich dude. Girl does not want to marry misogynistic, gross, rich dude. Adorable fake-but-might-soon-be-real-boyfriend offers support and encouragement. It becomes bland, and does not inspire any page-turning feellings. Chao has so much potential, but this book doesn't live up to her talent.
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I flew through this book, and that's saying something as it takes quite a bit to get me to read let alone finish a book nowadays. I attribute it mostly to the whole familial aspect, as I related so hard to that. Chloe's family took it to the extreme and they are Chinese whereas I'm Vietnamese, so there are differences in cultures there, but for the most part, I totally got it.

To be honest, I cared way more for the relationship Chloe had with her parents and her community than between her and Drew. That's not to say that they weren't cute or that I didn't want them to end up together, but I did, but I connected more to the drama with her family. There were definitely aspects of the family drama I wish were done differently and I wish we got more of Drew's story, but overall, it's definitely worth a read. Even if you know nothing of the Asian culture, the audacity of her parents alone would want you reading till the end to see how it all plays out. Again, be forewarned it's a bit anticlimactic, but with an open-ended concept, which I understood, as what true family drama can be solved from one big blowup?! Families are a work in progress, that's for sure.
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This book was an interesting read, and there were times I liked the book.  But overall, it lacked in story and the characters were either whiny or just unrelatable.  The story was longer than most, and it had a good concept, but the actual story was slightly boring without a lot of action.  Not a favorite, and just not something I would recommend.
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While reading Rent a Boyfriend I was entirely immersed. Not having notes for a book can go either way, but for me, I could not stop reading. In Rent a Boyfriend, Chao balances endearing and relatable characters with fake dating and a plot that will captivate you. What I particularly loved was how Chloe, and Drew, balance their identity with their own future. For Chloe, it becomes difficult to separate her own wishes with her parents, especially considering their sacrifices.

Having your wishes go against your parents is no easy struggle, but for Chloe there's more at stake as she must balance their different beliefs and participation in Chinese culture. Chao is able to make the food, traditions, and the conflicts for Chloe and Drew come alive. I truly felt for the ways she wants to balance her love for her parents with her necessity to fight for her future. Rent a Boyfriend is dual POV, allowing Drew's perspective to shine as well.
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I finished this book this morning while enjoying some cooler weather!  Thank you to @netgalley and @simonbooks for a copy to read and review!  It is published in one month from today! 
Chloe is nervous to introduce her new boyfriend to her very traditional Taiwanese parents, mainly because she hires him from Rent for your ‘rents.  Chloe is trying to avoid an engagement to the awful son of her parents friend.  Drew is an artist but after his parents disowned him for following his dreams, he starts being a rental boyfriend to support himself.  When the sparks fly between these two, things may start to unravel! 
This book was super cute!  I really enjoyed it and finished it in like 2 days.  It reminded me a lot of the rom com The Wedding Date just with a younger Taiwanese twist. If you are in the mood for a cute, (steam free) romance, I would recommend this!  It’s says YA book but I think it would have a pretty wide reach.  It didn’t seem like the typical YA book except for the characters being a little younger (19 and 21).
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It's the age-old story of boy meets girl... except, usually, they don't meet in the back of an Uber when the girl is about to introduce the boy to her parents as her boyfriend in ten minutes.

To get rid of a horrible suitor her parents keep pushing her towards, Chloe Wang makes a desperate move and hires a fake boyfriend from Rents for Your 'Rents, a company that specializes in providing fake suitors to appease Chinese parents. She is paired up with Drew Chan, a college-dropout who is pursuing a career in art--a move that led to him being cut off by his own family. Drew loves being able to help other people, but being with Chloe is different in a way he didn't expect. For the first time on a job ever, Drew finds himself slipping out of 'Andrew' and into 'Drew'. Can this fake relationship become real--even when the real Drew is the last person Chloe's parents would ever want her to date--or are there too many lies and secrets standing in their way?

Chao's brilliant heart and humor shines in this fake-dating romance, with a couple of well-placed punches to the gut as both Chloe and Drew build up their confidence levels, deal with complicated family and community issues, as well as the nuances of how they each ended up in their current situation and how it influences their relationship to each other. Readers will fall in love instantly with Chloe and Drew, and root for them till the end!
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It was a beautiful rom-com story of a college-aged girl who's doing her best to please her parents and keep herself happy. I appreciated how relatable main character Jing-jing/Chloe felt. It was nice to be presented with the two different POV of your main characters in separate chapters that were interlaced nicely. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies.

Also, there is some mandarin used within, which I was able to understand using context clues. But it also has a glossary in the back of the book which is nice, in case I got stuck on some of the words.
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Rating 3

The book "Rent a Boyfriend" by Gloria Chao was an okay/good book. Gloria Chao took a cliche storyline and made it her own with the addition of her culture and traditions. While this book was good it was hard to get through. The main character was just okay. I understand with her family it is hard to speak up but enough is enough at a certain point and that is how I felt when reading this story. The story just kept going and going when in my opinion it could have been wrapped up in half the time. Even the jokes started to get old because the same ones were used multiple times to close to one another. There are some parts of this book that I really liked but the pacing was too slow for me to really enjoy the story. I did like that we saw the main character develop as the story progressed but again, felt too slow. Drew's character didn't seem 'real' to me. I didn't feel like he had a voice of his own and his personality just felt flat. Overall, it's disappointing because I really wanted to like this story and I did enjoy it in the beginning. 

Should you read "Rent a Boyfriend"? 
Depends. If you want a cliche storyline turned unique then this might be for you. Just be aware the story is slow and might feel as though your reading the same chapters over and over. 

**Received an advanced copy through NetGalley in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **
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