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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ARC Review: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Please Note:  I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside--but he's not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park--a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore--the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife--a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid's reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan's gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia's most privileged families.

Review:
Starting with Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and now Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan has established his own version of the eighties T.V. show Dynasty set in Asia.  With colorful characters, high fashion, and family intrigue, this book will become a popular beach read this summer.  This has become one of my favorite recent book series!

What I Liked: 
Characters:
This book is all about the interconnecting lives of several ultra rich families in Asia, and there are dozens of characters.  While you don't need to read the previous books to get what is happening, I think it would be a good idea to read all the books together, so the reader can really grasp all the intricate relationships in this novel.

Throughout the series, I have adored Astrid the most.  The woman whom everyone thinks of as the perfect wife, mother, and daughter, Astrid has a lot to live up to.  She copes by doing everything she can to remain out of the spotlight.  But is that fair to this talented person?  As her life begins to unravel, Astrid begins to see that she is making herself miserable trying to please everyone.  Can she change her life and maybe find happiness?

Nick is another character I liked.  He is the heir apparent in his family, but has had a falling out with his controlling grandmother, who is now on her deathbed.  Can he make peace with her before it's too late?  

Conniving cousin Eddie will do his upmost to stop Nick from getting back in the matriarch's good graces.  I loved Eddie!  His antics to win the inheritance race were some of the funniest parts of the book!  On a serious note, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him to be so focused on money when his grandmother was dying.

There were many other characters that I enjoyed such as Nick's mother Eleanor (soon to be played by the wonderful Michelle Yeoh in the movie!), Kitty, and Colette.  Kevin Kwan has a knack for writing strong women characters!


Story:
Although the story is about the scramble for SuYi's fortune, it has so much more depth!  I think many people will see their own family in these characters.  Although the focus is on wealth, it is also about how we are perceived by our family and how that affects our decisions.  I was really moved by Astrid's issues of trying to be perfect, and Nick's guilt over living so far away from his grandmother.

Underlying Issues:
Although this book's tone is lighthearted,  the author does bring up some of the unpleasant aspects of this culture.  Many of the older characters are racist about people of other Asian backgrounds.  There is a whole hierarchy of importance that is spelled out in this book.  There is also more of an awareness of the discrepancy between rich and poor in this novel that I thought made the point that most of these people live in a bubble of privilege.

Author's annotations:
Kevin Kwan puts lots of notations throughout each chapter.  At first, I didn't read them too carefully.  But do read all of the notes at the end of each chapter.  Not only do they explain all the phrases that are in Chinese, but they are super funny!  This added so much to my enjoyment of the book.

What I Was Mixed About:
I really wish the author could have put in some family tree charts in the book so I could more easily place who was related to whom.  There are so many people in the book that at times I was confused and had to go back a few chapters to figure out who the characters were.

I really enjoyed this book.  It had a juicy story and characters that I adored.  If you're looking for a fun book for your next vacation, this is it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29864343-rich-people-problems?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Rich-People-Problems-Kevin-Kwan-ebook/dp/B01M09122V/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495431127&sr=8-1&keywords=rich+people+problems

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rich-people-problems-kevin-kwan/1124690704?ean=9780385542234

https://www.bookdepository.com/Rich-People-Problems-Kevin-Kwan/9780385542326?ref=grid-view&qid=1495431218526&sr=1-1


Rating:




Release Date:  May 23rd, 2017

Genre:  General Fiction

Source:  Edelweiss

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  A fun book about the super rich that should be in every beach bag this summer.

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The Hummingbird's Daughter
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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
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The Complete Novels
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