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YA Review: Not That Rich by Belinda Lei

Title: Not that Rich

Author: Belinda Lei

Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 331
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (CA)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Hunter and Trisha Wang, like the majority of their classmates, are trying to balance AP classes, Ivy League applications, numerous extracurriculars, and tumultuously juicy social lives, all while living in their affluent, suburban bubble. Will Hunter get into Stanford and still be able to maintain his relationship with the “it girl” Sierra Jones? Will Trisha find love with outsider Ray Martinez and figure out what’s going on with her influencer best friend, Pamela Shah? Will billionaire newcomer Jack Zhou figure out how to fit in? And who exactly is The Stranger? Welcome to Winchester High, a prestigious college preparatory school where students live seemingly perfect, privileged lives.

Review: I really like the cover of this book, which has been described as a combination of gossip girl and Crazy Rich Asians. Totally fun, right? Well, there is a little backstory to this book. My daughter attended the Webb Schools in Claremont, CA for high school and a colleague of mine grew up near the schools. When he found out my daughter went there, he told me that a woman he knows attended Webb and wrote a novel inspired by some of her experiences. Of course, I had to read it!

One fun aspect of this novel is that she has footnotes that explain Chinese phrases, food, traditions as well as American things that readers may not know about (AP exams, etc). The footnotes are rye and sometimes sarcastic, which made me smile. It was also fun to be able to picture what she was talking about when the characters were at school.

This book is full of filthy rich people. Really rich. Which is fun to read about since it's not my life. But in a twist from the usual storyline, some of the most obnoxious rich people get what's coming to them and I must admit, I was ok with that. I feel guilty, but the two rudest were so mean to others and uncaring that having them get into trouble felt satisfying. And, the characters who are caring and kind had good things happen so I feel like the book gave me what I wanted.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • A to Z--"N"
  • Diversity--Chinese characters and author

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