China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, was all over the place. It’s a testament to Kevin Kwan’s ability to craft interesting characters that this is getting 3 stars instead of 2. I think the makings of a great story are in this novel, but his editors needed to help Kwan focus the story more.
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Crazy Rich Asians (the first book).
It’s been two years since the end of book 1 and Rachel and Nick are getting ready to tie the knot. He’s still on the outs with his disapproving family and she’s still trying to locate her real father in China. Luckily for both of them, Nick’s mother Eleanor has stumbled upon Rachel’s father (and his family) by accident. Rachel’s father invites the couple over to mainland China for their honeymoon and they’re thrust into the world of Shanghai billionaires. Needless to say, things do not go as planned.
I enjoyed reading this, but I wanted to like it so much more than I actually did. I always hope that the writing in sequels is going to get stronger, but this one seemed to magnify the flaws of first book. The novel feels disconnected by continually hopping from one character to the next, making it hard to see the connections between these characters until the very end. Also, the way the writing goes from first person to third person to text messages to gossip articles contributes to the disjointed feeling. I think that kind of format hopping can be done well, but it was just too much with all the point of view hopping as well.
I have to wonder if there was a rush behind the scenes to get this book out after the first book was such a surprise hit. It definitely felt like China Rich Girlfriend could have used more editing and more rewrites. It would have been worth it to wait another 6-12 months for the sequel.
Should you read this book? I’d say it depends on how much you loved the first one. If you were into it and want to see what happens to the characters, then it’s totally worth a read. If the first one was just meh, you’re not going to like this one any better.