*I received an e-galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Chloe and the Kaishao Boys
Author: Mae Coyiuto
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Chloe knows what it takes to be the perfect Liang daughter—stay in Manila, study business management, and join the family company. But when she unexpectedly gets off the wait list for USC, her dream of becoming an animator in the United States is suddenly within reach. Before she goes, her auntie insists on planning a traditional debut for Chloe’s eighteenth birthday. And while a party with all her friends and family sounds like the perfect send-off, the huge production her auntie wants—complete with ball gowns and a choreographed dance number—makes Chloe want to pass out from stage fright.
To make matters worse, her father, intent on finding Chloe the perfect escort for the party, keeps setting her up on one awkward kaishao—or arranged date—after another. Why does her dad suddenly care so much about her love life? And what happens when she actually starts to fall for one of the guys, only to have to leave at the end of the summer? At home in the Philippines, Chloe has her future all planned out for her. In America, nothing is certain. With a career in animation far from guaranteed, Chloe must decide if following her dreams is worth everything—and everyone—she’ll be leaving behind.
Kicking off the holidays right with Chloe and the Kaishao Boys. Teen me would have been totally obsessed with this book. Adult me kind of is too. Chloe is the exact kind of character I’ve always related to. Sweet, nerdy, not super popular, close with her family, and has really cool and unique aspirations for her career. On the cusp of turning 18, she’s confronting all sorts of different life decisions. It’s not only a question of her talent and drive, but also her confidence as well. Chloe brings a fresh and optimistic perspective to her story, pursuing her dreams, finding love in the most unexpected places, and being a pretty incredible best friend. You can’t help but like her!
This story has everything you want from a light-hearted YA romcom: new adventures, cute boys, hilarious aunties, great friendships, adorable Instagram-obsessed dad, personal discovery, and so much more! The writing is light and fun, and definitely had me chuckling. It’s got some heavier elements too as characters try to navigate and overcome some racist beliefs as some families cling to outdated ideologies. And there are some serious heartfelt moments as some of the LGBTQIA+ characters experience their own journeys into fully embracing their true selves.
This book will warm your heart and you’ll read it in a flash! Always a joy to find something great to dive in to, particularly during the holidays.