“Sarong Party Girls” by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Thanks to Atlantic Books and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I knew when I read the synopsis for this book that it would be marketed as similar to Crazy Rich Asians – it’s really not though. It’s more of a satirical look at lives of a group of young Singaporean women and their never-ending quest to snag an ‘Ang-Moh’.

The book follows Jazzy, a Sarong Party Girl (girls who exclusively date white Westerners) living and partying in Singapore. It’s written in Singlish which made for a really fun reading experience.

Although Jazzy and her friends might seem vapid and shallow, the novel scratches beneath the surface of their high octane party lifestyle to explore some of the deeper issues with their lives and the depressing reality of the relationships they form with the men they pursue.

Despite these bleaker undertones, the novel manages to be an absolute hoot. Jazzy is bitchy and hilarious and it’s fun to live vicariously through her life and read her inner monologue. I probably wouldn’t want to meet her in real life and I can only imagine the caustic remarks she’d make about me, but she was certainly a lot of fun to read about.

The party lifestyle of Singapore and some of its seedier aspects were explored, warts and all. There isn’t some grand revelation where Jazzy decides to pack it all in and live a more virtuous life, she is what she is and if you need your characters to ultimately find redemption then this might not be the book for you.

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