We’ve rolled into yet another month and are very close to seeing the finish line of this year. I wanted September to end soon. I was counting down to start the new month because new month = new goals. That might include this blog as well. I’m looking at some stuff to revive my blog this month.
This might be the last blog tour of the year. I’m not signing up for anything until December. It’s Halloween and Fall so I’m going seasonal this year. I won’t hold you long on a Saturday, but before we jump to the tour, here’s the tour schedule and you know the drill.
►TITLE: Well, That Was Unexpected
► BY: Jesse Q. Sutanto
► PUBLISHING: Random House Children’s
► ON: 27 Sep 2022
► GENRE: ya contemporary romance
► PACING: fast
► PAGES: 352 ► AGE:15+
► RATING: 4/5 ★
An outrageous, laugh-out-loud YA rom-com about a girl who’s whisked from LA to her mother’s native Indonesia to get back to her roots and finds herself fake-dating the son of one of the wealthiest families there, from the author of Dial A for Aunties.
After Sharlot Citra’s mother catches her in a compromising position, she finds herself whisked away from LA to her mother’s native Indonesia. It’ll be exactly what they both need. Or so her mother thinks.
When George Clooney Tanuwijaya’s father (who is obsessed with American celebrities) fears he no longer understands how to get through to his son, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
To ensure that their children find the right kind of romantic partner, Sharlot’s mother and George’s father do what any good parent would do: they strike up a conversation online, pretending to be their children.
When the kids find out about their parents’ actions, they’re horrified. Not even a trip to one of the most romantic places on earth could possibly make Sharlot and George fall for each other. But as the layers peel back and the person they thought they knew from online is revealed, the truth becomes more complicated. As unlikely as it may seem, did their parents manage to find their true match after all?
I received an eARC of this book from Random House Children’s courtesy of TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
REP: chindo mc; chindo american mc; chindo lesbian sc; chindo bi sc
Sharlot is shipped off to Indonesia with her mother after being caught almost sleeping with her then-boyfriend. Her little knowledge of Indonesia was from BBC documentaries that paint the country as a poor third-world nation. She is shocked and amazed by the reality that it is more developed and sophisticated than the mainstream media portrays it to be.
She takes her sweet time to accept the fact that this summer she’s spending it with her mother and her family, whom she has never met since ever.
Jump to George Clooney. Yeah, I was laughing at the names in the book. I didn’t know it was a cultural thing but it was good that it had something to do with the Chindo community.
George gets into an embarrassing situation with his Father and family. He’s allowed to use the wi-fi only for studying and promoting his family’s new app- OneLiner. His Father and sister think he’s a gone case and take matters into their hands, meaning- trying to set him up with a real girlfriend. They do the most normal thing any adult does- they end up catfishing Sharlot. Little do they know that Sharlot’s mom is catfishing them too.
From the chat his father shows him, George thinks Sharlot is a reserved girl who loves cooking. Sharlot also concludes that George is a math-loving, rich boy who wants to run his family business soon. They draw this prejudiced image of each other from the chat and are forced to go out on a date. Seriously, the setting of this novel is hilarious.
They end up fake dating, thanks to their meddlesome parents. From here, they slowly realize that their online personas don’t match up with their real ones. Sharlot likes the real George, and he likes her too, but they have a relationship to fake, an app to launch, and adventures to explore, so they keep their little secrets to themselves and enjoy the ride till it lasts.
I didn’t think this was going to be my first Jesse Sutanto book. I had plans to read Dial A for Aunties first but I got my dates for this tour wrong, so I had to read this one first. Anyway, it was a much needed reprieve from dying of boredom in the last week.
I had a good laugh reading this book. I warmed up to the characters from the get-go. Sharlot and George were embarrassed by their parents’ matchmaking efforts. They might have been forced to get to know each other but they quickly bond over exploring parts of Indonesia. I was vicariously traveling Bali and Jakarta through Sharlot.
Sharlot was an easy-going girl, but she was out of her element after being displaced from America. She has to learn more about her roots and maternal family. This shift in space and people was a window for her self-exploration.
George was a nerd but not the math kind as told in the chat, campaigned against toxic masculinity for his OneLiner app. He loved his family the most even though they were too much at times. Did I mention he was rich? Yeah, there was some Crazy Rich Asians moments in this book. He was used to being photographed in public and his personal business was everyone’s which meant the paparazzi “could” invade his privacy.
I liked him more when he was Sharlot’s unofficial tour guide. He was taking her to fun places rich with history and culture. I wanted to eat those dishes and drink as much coffee as they did in the book.
Sharlot and George’s entourage were great company to travel with. They kept the show running, filling in when the main characters withdrew from each other’s proximity because of the online-offline persona clash. Kiki (Sharlot’s cousin) and Eleanor( George’s little sister) made a great, formidable team, and I want to see them in the next book as well.
This book did a good job on highlighting sex positivity. Sex before marriage is still scandalous and frowned upon in Asian countries; a topic that hardly get’s spoken even in the 21st century. So this story was a good commentary on that.
Lastly, I learnt a bit about the Chinese-Indonesian community from this book. Naming the kids with western names was apparently a thing which was a surprise for me. But there’s more to know about this community, and I’m interested in learning more.
Overall, as someone who loves reading about Asian cultures, this book made my heart leap- with the humor, travel, and a slightly dragged romance. It was a tropical delight through and through. If you’re a seasonal reader, make sure to add this book to your Summer TBR.
CW // cyberbullying; slutshaming
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up going back and forth between Jakarta and Singapore and consider both places my homes. I was fortunate enough to do my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, which is surely one of the most gorgeous places in the world.
I am passionate about women’s rights and diversity in publishing. I regularly do giveaways where I critique queries or the first few pages, and I am especially interested in helping writers from marginalized communities. If you are a writer from a marginalized community, do hit me up! I love hearing from other writers, even if it’s just to say a quick hello.
Have you read this book or is it on your tbr?