Cover Image: Rent a Boyfriend

Rent a Boyfriend

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Member Reviews

The rom-com meet cute trope gets turned  on its head in this one & it’s completely engaging.  Girl meets fake boyfriend & hijinks ensue is the easy way out of writing this review—except it’s not wholly accurate. There’s a more complex & heartfelt plot that makes this a page-turner.
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Gloria Chao writes the cutest romances that mix culture and love in the best way. I have to say that her books have truly opened me up to eastern culture and I have learned a lot reading them. The premise of this book seems silly but it’s cute and it works well. I am incredibly impressed with how she took a unique plot and made it something that I didn’t expect. I enjoy a cute contemporary now and again between all of the fantasy I read and this was a completely perfect book to fit that bill!
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Adorable! Jing Jing and Drew were sweet as mooncakes! I loved their relationship and how it blossomed, even through difficulty. 

Learning about Chinese culture and traditions was a huge plus for this book. I feel like I walked away with a new perspective on how different parental relationships can be culturally. 

Overall really enjoyed!
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*Thank you Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the eARC from Netgalley.

2.5 / 5 stars

Chloe Wang is tired of being pressured to accept Hongbo’s proposal. Chloe knows that love will never happen between Hongbo and herself. However, her parents are determined for their precious daughter to take the path that they have chosen for her. Chloe knows that her only chance of happiness will have to come at a price. Chloe decides to introduce her parents to Andrew, a cover for Drew who works for “Rent for Your ‘Rents.”  Chloe hires Drew to play the role of her new boyfriend so that her parents will stop pressuring her to accept Hongbo’s proposal. Chloe helps create Drew’s persona of Andrew so that her parents will adore him, but Chloe herself finds that the real Drew is who she is beginning to adore.

This book was so hard to read at times. I know that I have no information and experience with arranged marriages. This book does explore this topic at times with the marriage of Chloe’s parents as well as the potential marriage between Chloe and Hongbo. I believe that the author is writing this as own voices, but I do not know if the subject of arranged marriage is being written with own voices familiarity. It is hard to convey my wording with this, so I apologize if I am a bit unclear. I know that I do not know much about this and I recognize that. I know that arranged marriages happen and they can be good and bad. I know that daughters can often not have much choice, or any at all, in arranged marriage situations. I know that this subject is different for different cultures as well as how it is expressed. Please recognize that I understand this. 

However, I still cannot fathom how Chloe’s parents continuously chose to put her in a toxic situation with Hongbo. As the plot moves forward, more information is revealed about Hongbo’s situation with his family and Chloe’s. Based on my understanding of information and interpretation, I just cannot see why Chloe’s parents have constantly pushed their daughter to marry him and accept all the deceit with this situation. I know this is seen as a potential arrangement of marriage of sorts, but it honestly frustrates me that they hid so much from their daughter. Do not misread my words. I know that her parents care about her and love her, but goodness this just was not it. Also, there was a lot of shaming in this that tied in with the entire situation and my interpretation.

As i read more of this I just could not fathom why the same conversations came up continuously. It honestly feels like this book repeats so many elements over and over again. I do like the characters at times and how some topics were addressed, but I feel like a good amount was still a bit weak and not explained as well as it could have been. The reader can see how old world and new world elements are being brought into the conversation in many good ways, but overall I was disappointed by how some topics were presented. 

Chloe and Drew were okay. The relationship seemed a bit too quick to me, but overall it was alright. I wish Chloe would have stood up for herself more. We saw some good moments of strength, but I wish they would have expanded more. I think we had some great character growth potential, but it just was not fully there in my opinion.

Overall, this is hard to review. I know I am not own voices for this. I do still think that there was too much deceit with this situation and it just did not ever really make sense in the end.
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A seriously SWEET & ADORABLE! If you're into the "fake boyfriend" type of trope, this contemporary romantic comedy is 100% for you. I loved the cute moments between Chloe/Jing-Jing and Drew, which progressed at just enough pace that I was shipping them WAY before the first kiss. My gods, I wanted to squish their faces together and pray to all the Gods these two didn't have a falling out. I was THAT invested. I also love how Rent a Boyfriend gave insight into what it's like as a Chinese-American girl. There's lots of Chinese used throughout the book, but fret not; a glossary is included for reference.

I think the only annoying part about this book were Jing-Jing's parents; they were super unlikable, invasive, and disrespectful. Of course I tried to keep in mind that 1) it's a whole other culture 2) perhaps they had other motives and 3) we'd eventually get closure, I wanted to shout at them every time they didn't appreciate Jing-Jing/Chloe or swoop in to knock them down a peg or two, even though I, like Drew, knew she could handle herself.

I guess it's a testament to how much I loved Chloe/Jing-Jing and felt connected to her character.

I'd recommend Rent a Boyfriend to anyone who wants that meet-cute (or rather, meet-weird) kind of accidental love rom-com. Or if you just like to giggle!
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I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and author Gloria Chao for providing me with an ARC of the title Rent A Boyfriend!

This was so cute and enjoyable! The idea of “renting” a boyfriend to get your parents to back off is a super interesting idea. I felt like this story line was original and refreshing. Being pretty predictable though, Chloe and Drew end up actually falling for each other. But I wasn’t mad about it!

I felt bad for Chloe when dealing with her parents. They were very unlikable and it seemed that they only cared about Chloe marrying someone with a lot of money. They cared, but in all the wrong ways. This really gave great insight into the Chinese/Chinese American culture. 

Thank you again to those named above for the opportunity to read and review this novel!
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If you love the fake dating trope, this book is for you! Chloe “rents” Drew to be her boyfriend to get her parents and the boy her parents want her to marry off her back. But problems of course ensue when Chloe and Drew actually fall for eachother.

I thought the romance was sweet. Chloe and Drew really start to care about the other, and you can see it in their actions and interactions with eachother. 

I did not like Chloe’s parents. They’re supposed to be somewhat unlikable, I think, but they basically just cared
about Chloe marrying into money. I can see they 𝑑𝑜 care for Chloe, but often it’s in the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons.

This book has great insights into the Chinese (and Chinese-American) culture. I could definitely see this being a movie, or even a Chinese Drama. I’d totally watch the show! 

Overall, a pretty good story. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Books for the e-arc.
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I haven't read American Panda (though it's on my ridiculously long TBR), so I wasn't sure what to expect. This was an interesting look at cultural and parental expectations. I was rooting for Drew and Chloe/Jing-Jing even when the rules were against them. 

Very rom-com feel, which was balanced by the impact that family and community can have on a person's self-image.
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This book is about overbearing parents, especially those in Taiwanese/Chinese households. Chloe is 19 and lives halfway across the country for college, but still is so subject to her parents judgements that she hires a fake boyfriend to keep their questions at bay. This is based on an actual practice which I thought was super interesting.

There’s so much in this book about lying to your parents so hard that you forget who you really are, and the ways your parents can hurt you when they “want the best for you.” There’s exploration into the ways family and community expectations can be so hurtful, but also into the ways that those same Asian communities can really treat one another like family. 

Chloe falls for the boy she hired, and finds a lot out about her parents and herself along the way. She really opens up and fights back outwardly the things she has always seen as wrong in her community and family, but she also learns how to embrace her family’s culture and weave it into her daily Westernized life. 

Drew is such a soft and sensitive character and his voice was so funny, with little breaks in the fourth wall to make comments to the reader. He knows a lot about Chinese culture and played a big part in helping Chloe see the positives of a community that was often presented to her negatively. 

There’s a lot of authentic language and stuff in this book that helped make it feel so real and I think it’s a really fun story with an important story behind it.
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This was an adorable and fun YA romantic fiction read. Here, Chloe is home from college over the holidays and hires a fake boyfriend to impress her folks, and oh, I can tell we're going to get a delicious fake date trope. Oh, how I do love them in romances.  Both her and Drew have notable points of view that are both interesting and sharp to follow. The two couldn't be more different, yet somehow, opposites attract and they end up seeing each other for real and not just as hired, naturally. Then, their text conversations are like typical YA-level cute. When real Drew and Chloe start dating, it's precious, although there's that classic secret dating trope. Sure, they have a cute love story by the end, but the real love is Chloe accepting, loving, and owning herself first. It's cute and great to see an in-depth look at Chinese-American culture, especially for potentially unfamiliar readers. It's always interesting to learn about other cultures, and this was an intricate immersion into seeing that.
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This book was everything that I wanted and more.

"Sometimes I'm ashamed at how I've clung to them with bloody, torn-apart hands, trying to make it work even after they show me again and again it's not worth it. But I'm somehow also ashamed of choosing myself now." 

Gloria Chao absolutely delivered a heartfelt and romantic story in 'Rent a Boyfriend'. The characters are all so relatable and perfectly imperfect. From Chloe and Drew to Chloe's parents, I think readers will fall in love with all of them and hope for a happily ever after. And the fake dating! Gloria Chao put a perfect spin on one of my favorite romance tropes. It felt so refreshing reading about college aged characters, too. Just.. EVERYTHING is absolutely perfect about this book. I'm such a fan of Gloria's writing and can't wait to read more of her future stories! 

Highly recommend this one. <3
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It's rare to find a rom-com with an original premise, but this book comes close. Although it was occasionally two sweet for my tastes, the conflict is both funny and tense, and I was rooting for the characters. Even better, it was genuinely quite funny.
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Gloria Chao accomplishes another ridiculously funny and tug-at-your-heartstrings sweet (or “mooncake” sweet?) rom-com! Similar to her two previous books, the female protagonist somehow figures out how to better communicate to and love her family, all while finding her true multicultural self,  instead of being stuck between cultures, through a lover who understands and loves her just the way she is (and she him). The story seems almost too good to be true, yet the essence of the events feels extremely realistic, with references to customs and foods that Asians will find familiar comfort in and non-Asians will become intrigued with.
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This book takes all the mooncakes for me. Growing up in a household with Filipino immigrant parents, there are some similarities between the two Asian cultures. The little quirks Asians have like finding grocery bags tied to drawer handles, using butter containers as storage containers or using the oven as extra storage, and even fighting over a bill at a restaurant. And I’m not talking verbal arguments, I’m talking about grown people physically fighting to get their credit card into the register.

Coming from a Filipino culture I understand some aspects of Taiwanese culture. I know, especially for first generation children, the pressures and expectations to excel and succeed. I know the guilt parents put on children to make something out of their dream to be successful in America. I know how status within one's culture plays a huge role in families’ lives and status within the community. This book did an amazing job of not only capturing the Taiwanese culture but making it accessible and understandable for anyone to appreciate and learn from it. I really appreciate how the author tried to stay true to the Mandarin language and kept the spelling and pronunciation of words rather than trying to Americanize the spelling. Even seeing Jing-Jing’s American name Chloe felt weird because of how well the author brought the culture through the pages.

To see this story told in Jing-Jing and Drew’s POV made the story even better. Coming from two different paths it was interesting to see how each person dealt with the expectations to excel while simultaneously honoring your family’s legacy. There’s a lot of pressure placed on each generation to outshine the last by making sure you have a proper job or marry into a good family with good connections.  I loved seeing both sides of what happens either when you fail to meet those expectations or what you lose when you try to be obedient. The culture was basically like the Hunger Games “where you’re all trying to murder each other with Rhodes scholarships and doctorates.”

I also loved how the author was able to not only capture Jing-Jing's perspective, but also her parents' view through her narrative. One view was from a first generation child of an immigrant toeing the line between American freedom with fulfilling her parents beliefs and another view was from the immigrants themselves and what it’s like for Jing-Jing’s parents to migrate to a country and adjust to different cultural practices while trying to uphold their own beliefs on foreign soil.

This book is everything to me. It was so entertaining and captivating while being heartfelt and endearing. The writing is smart and witty, but most importantly I feel like it captures today’s young adults really well. It has everything I love about a romance but so much more. I enjoyed this so much that I would be willing to eat all the Frankenbāo 😆. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for this ARC
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A powerful story of falling in love and finding your voice, while trying to honor your family.

This book was outstanding. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, Chao crafts a beautiful story in dual POV about two equally compelling characters. Both Drew and Chloe are complex, three dimensional, and so relatable. One of the most profound aspects I appreciated in this book was Chao's treatment of their relationship. Over and over Chloe and Drew make mistakes and misunderstand each other, but each time they return to the foundation of communication in their relationship. The maturity displayed offered a wonderful and healthy example for readers of all ages.

Additionally, Chao handles the challenges of honoring family and traditions while also trying to be authentic to who you are and what you believe - a universal experience. This truly is at the heart of this story, and is done authentically and with such compassion.

This story features college aged protagonists, and will appeal to both YA readers and adults. Overall, one of my favorite reads of the year!
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Couldn’t recommend this highly enough! I wasn’t a huge fan of “American Panda,” so I didn’t know if I’d like this, but I fell madly in love with Chloe and Drew. Fake dating is a trope I’ll never not love, and their romance was so sweet and yet so tinted with poignancy that I couldn’t wait to see how things transpired, if they’d get the happy ending I was rooting for. A beautiful exploration of love, family, and finding yourself.
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I decided to pick this one because I had read American Panda and I am glad I did. I enjoyed this one as much as American Panda. This author has a knack for creating characters. This is what Hallmark Movies want to be.
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RENT A BOYFRIEND is my first exposure to Gloria Chao's work, and I am delighted. I found the plot to be compelling, with just the right amounts of meaningful conflict and surprise. The character development in the protagonists was relatable and powerful. The nerdy wordplay humor was right up my alley.

I had the most trouble with Chloe's mom--her words and actions were in some ways inscrutable to me--but the more I think about it, the more tI think that was probably deliberate.
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"How are we supposed to be a part of the community after what you did? We're ostriched, Jing-Jing!"
"Ostracized," I said quietly.
"No, ostriched! So shamed we have to stick our heads in the sand!"
Ha! I loved it! I know we’ve seen a lot of the fake couple to real couple dramas over the years, but this one just struck a chord. Aside from the refreshing representation of the Asian community, the setup was sturdy and imaginative.
Chloe has a very solid reason for renting a boyfriend, and that is to avoid an arranged marriage to a full-on demon. Her parents, however, are blind to Hongbo’s flaws because of his wealth and prestige. I will not lie, this felt a little stale. While most immigrant parents are strict, I found it hard to believe that any parent would marry their child off to a repulsive character like Hongbo. Still, some people are desperate social climbers, and it has definitely happened in real life, so I was not inclined to hold a grudge.
This predicament means that Chloe has to turn to drastic measures. Why does she lie to her parents, you may ask? This is something that Chloe wrestles with throughout the novel. The gist of it is that she does not want to lose her parents, but she is not willing to take the role they are handing her. Her parents are rigid. They will not accept her if she does not fit the narrow, narrow mold they have laid out for her. She still loves them.
Enter Drew. I have to admit, the idea of a professional stand-in boyfriend was new to me. Apparently, it is a booming business, especially in Asia! Unlike most fake relationship stories we’ve been treated to, Drew is a professional. His one and only job is to impress Chloe’s parents. He’s well experienced and charges an inordinate fee. This adds extra layers to the relationship between Chloe and Drew… after going to all this trouble to prove that Drew is a perfect boyfriend, she now has to deal with the fact that the real Drew is far from perfect.
The characters in this story are relatively flat, which helps make it relatable. For the most part, both Chloe and Drew are relatively mellow people. They choose the path of least resistance whenever possible. The story stumbles a little when the author tries to make us connect with them on a deeper level. Mainly, the novel cruises along on the strength of the plot, and the various hoops that Chloe has to jump through as her Asian parents become more and more desperate. It is rom-com territory, to be honest.
Chloe’s family and community is painted in a slightly stereotypical and toxic way. However, the immigrant experience has so many different shades that it doesn't require a huge imagination to believe her circumstances. Chloe also comes to realize that her experience is not representative of all second generation Asian immigrants. However, the way that Chloe deals with the merging of her two worlds as she grows up is very, very relatable. The slices of culture we see seem natural, but never overpower the story completely.
Yes, this is a story about a second generation Asian immigrant, but it’s really a story about growing up and finding your own path.
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This is a novel told from two perspectives, Drew and Chloe, both of whom are American-born children of Taiwanese parents, as they navigate the world of parental expectations and culture clash. Chloe, desperate to escape her parents’ match for her, turns to Rent a Boyfriend to do just that. Enter Drew, an aspiring artist and currently Chloe’s rented boyfriend. As they navigate the rules of operator and client, friends or maybe more, and parental expectations, Drew and Chloe also learn more about how to be themselves.

I liked that although the premise of this book is based on the real practice in Asia of hiring a fake significant other to appease older relatives, this book was not superficial and only focused on romance. This book also delves into what it means to be the child of immigrants, to grapple with expectations foisted upon you by others, to love your family, mess and all, and what it means to really pursue what you want. I appreciated the use of Mandarin and Taiwanese terms sprinkled into the conversations as well as the references to Chinese and Taiwanese art, customs, and folklore. It wasn’t heavy-handed, and though a glossary is provided, most of terms can be understood through context clues.

I have added this book to my classroom library wishlist and will definitely recommend this book to my students who enjoy romantic comedies.
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