Crazy Rich Asians transports you into the world of abundant wealth in Singapore. Kevin Kwan’s novel is a fun, hilarious romance with a large cast of extravagant characters. But they have…you know…rich people problems. Our Crazy Rich Asians book club questions will help you dissect those “problems” and explore the book’s themes of familial expectation, classism, religion, tradition, immigration, and privilege.
Rachel Chu’s life is going well. She is successful, close with her mother, and has a kind and intelligent boyfriend, Nick. Then Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for the summer to meet his family. What is meant to be a romantic and fun summer quickly takes a turn when Nick’s family is less than welcoming to Rachel. This book has creates breath-taking settings where his extravagantly rich characters can show off their wealth to the extreme, dazzling both Rachel and readers.
This discussion guide for Crazy Rich Asians will get you talking about the complex family dynamics, dramatic parties, shocking gossip, and jaw-dropping wealth that fills this exciting read.
Get 10 Crazy Rich Asians Book Club Questions and a synopsis along with alternative points of view from selected reviews of the book.
If you enjoyed this fun romance, check out the end of this article for three books like Crazy Rich Asians to add to your TBR pile.
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Crazy Rich Asians Synopsis
Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
10 Crazy Rich Asians Book Club Questions
- Crazy Rich Asians is told through many characters’ perspectives, giving readers a glimpse into the lives of Nick and Rachel’s family and friends. Whose was your favorite perspective to read? Who was your least favorite? What was it about their POV that made you feel this way?
- Nick chooses not to tell Rachel much about his family before they go to Singapore. But while Rachel is in the dark, the multiple-perspective format of the novel means the reader already knows a great deal about Nick’s family and how they view her before Rachel and Nick’s plane even lands.
How did it shape your reading experience to know more about what was going on than the central character? Did this create more tension in your reading? Did you agree with Nick’s excuse for not being straight with Rachel?
- What would you have done if, like Rachel, you were put into a situation where you were in the dark about your partner’s family’s complex family dynamics and traditions when you met them? Would you have forgiven Nick?
- Crazy Rich Asians shows an incredibly extravagant and almost unimaginable way of life. While the book is fictional, Keven Kwan is open about how he used his family for inspiration. Were there elements of the family dynamics that you were able to see from your own family? Do you think your own family relationships and history would make for good inspiration for a story?
- “Doing nothing can sometimes be the most effective form of action. If you do nothing, you’ll be sending a clear message: that you’re stronger than they think you are. Not to mention a lot classier. Think about it.”
Rachel does her best throughout the book not to be affected by the actions of those around her. By not giving in to them, she doesn’t give them the satisfaction they want from their cruel actions. But this is undoubtedly the more difficult path to take. Were there moments in the story where you would not have stayed silent? Um, how about that dead fish in the bed?
- The way Rachel views situations is very different from how other characters view the same moments, such as when Rachel meets Nick’s mother for the first time. Rachel is astounded by the wealth around her, while Eleanor Young sees her as a gold-digger. How did these shifts make you feel about the characters? Did you find you understood Nick’s mother better?
- “That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to love their family, but to feel a deeper sense of pride in who they are as individuals, Nick, not in how much money they have, what their last name is, or how many generations they go back to whatever dynasty.”
Do you think it is possible to raise children the way Rachel wants when this much money is involved?
- Alongside Rachel and Nick’s story, we also get to see the relationship between Astride and Michael. Did seeing their struggle affect how you saw Rachel and Nick’s relationship? Did you see them heading down a similar path or taking a different direction?
- If you could visit any of the places described throughout the book and experience them with the luxury the cast of this book could, where would you go? Exclusive parties? Private island resorts? The most expensive restaurants? Singapore’s signature food courts?
- “My books were international bestsellers translated into almost 40 languages. It was almost offensive when Hollywood said, ‘Oh, will this movie cross over? Beyond Asians, will other people see it?’… Why do you think this is so much more of a risk?” – Kevin Kwan interview.”
Crazy Rich Asians and its sequels have been incredible international successes. What elements in this story did you find to be universal that allowed so many people to connect with the book?
Selected Reviews for Crazy Rich Asians
“The ending was kind of jarring, too, because it was a completely different tone from the rest of the book. While most of Crazy Rich Asians is a fluffy romp through Rich People Land, with some fun backstabbing and gossip to keep things interesting, the last few chapters take a hard left turn into Harrowing Family Dramaville, and it suddenly turns into a bad Joy Luck Club knockoff. And it happens way, way too late in the story, so the book is over before we get a chance to adjust to the new tone – it never worked for me, and I suspect Kwan did it because he couldn’t think of another way to end the book.”
“I thought this was not going to be to my taste, but I enjoyed the sharp sassy writing, the frosty relationships and enjoyed reading about the lengths the family went to, to achieve what they wanted […] To me some of these extravagant over the top characters are relatable and quite real at times.”
“I don’t even know what to say about this book. I’m exhausted. I feel like I was a part of the wedding week from Hell. My sides hurt from laughing – it was absolutely hilarious… Kevin Kwan really knows his opulence, and his descriptions of the lavish lifestyles of the various characters left me sometimes drooling in envy and sometimes ready to gag for the gaudiness.”
“[It] was an interesting, unexpectedly intense and somehow educational book. It kept me entertained and forced me to read on because I always wanted to know what would happen next. Rachel and Nick were a great couple and I’m already curious about the second book.”
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3 Books like Crazy Rich Asians:
Enjoyed the opulence, drama, and romance of Crazy Rich Asians? Kevin Kwan has you covered in the sequels China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. If you want to find more sweeping affairs, extravagant settings, and complex family relations, check out the books below!
Last Tang Standing, Lauren Ho
Kwan’s immensely popular series helped to pave the way for more contemporary Asian stories.
Also set in Singapore, Last Tang Standing follows Andrea Tang, a successful lawyer. Andrea has it all, a great job, a swanky condo, and a group of friends who know how to party. But all her family can think about is that she isn’t married. That is when she has a chance encounter with a man who fits all her family’s boxes. It sounds too good to be true, and it just might be if her office rival doesn’t stop messing with her plans.
This is a good pick if you liked that vibe around family pressure to marry and the whole meddling aunties thing.
The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This is a great book if you just want to dish on more rich people problems. These four siblings have perfected their dysfunction and years of tension break loose over a luncheon in NYC. They’ve all been biding time to receive their trust funds (the “Nest”). But brother Leo has made a mess (again), and the siblings are freaked out to find that a good chunk of the Nest was used to bail him out.
It’s a social satire on rich people and entitlement, and it’s very very New York.
A Holly Jolly Diwali, Sonya Lalli
Niki Randhawa has always done the practical thing. She has a good job, is a good daughter, and dates men that make sense on paper. When she loses her job, she feels like she has lost control, so she buys a spur-of-the-moment ticket to travel to her friend’s wedding in India. She arrives just in time for Diwali, the festival of lights. Here she meets a musician from London named Sameer Mukherji. The more time she spends with Sam, the deeper their connection grows. But is Niki ready to give up on her practical plans to follow her dreams?
This book is great if you loved the “follow your heart” plot angles from Crazy Rich Asians. And if you like her vibe, she has a number of light-hearted romances with themes of starting over and learning to love.
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About Emerson Rose Craig
She’s an avid reader and writer. For her, books are a way of connecting with people, and experiencing lives far outside her own. Her love of make-believe worlds took her to Scotland where she received her MSc in Creative Writing in 2020. Her current reading goal is to read a book from every country.