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Not THAT Rich

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians in this dramatic debut novel about a group of private high schoolers in an affluent Southern Californian suburb.

"We need diverse stories! Belinda Lei has written a fun, mysterious, sexy book that explores the full breadth of the Asian American experience with nuance and wit. Congrats on a terrific debut!" - Maulik Pancholy, actor, activi
Paperback, 344 pages
Published December 7th 2020 by New Degree Press
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Average rating 4.57  · 
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Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian, teen-novels
I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is described as being Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl and that comparison has a lot of merit. It has the rich ridiculousness of Crazy Rich Asians and all the teen drama of Gossip Girl.

I really liked how this book was both entertaining and insightful. The story was addicting to read but it also managed to say a lot about the Asian American experience and the college admission process. The book
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Teens raised in the arms of the privileged. Parents with oppressive expectations for the success of their offspring. Swirl in the tsunami of high school drama, pecking orders and teen power cliques and Belinda Lei’s NOT THAT RICH proves that teen angst knows no cultural or racial boundaries and money cannot buy happiness.

From the parental pressures, teen insecurities and fear of failure this story embraces dark secrets that these Asian-American teens must keep to save face. Yet, Belinda Lei man
Elizabeth Ivanecky
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the irresistible, juicy drama of high school life to the culturally-rich lived experiences of Asian-Americans, Not THAT Rich is an entertaining, fun read that I could not put down!

Belinda creates the jungle world of high school with such vivd detail that you feel like you're sitting at your desk in your first class of senior year, bubbling with excitement and nervousness of the future ahead. Though I'm not part of the Asian-American community, I learned so much about the pressures this cult
Vanessa Hung
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books I know I'll see on my shelf and think: Dang, I wish I could read that for the first time again. As an adult reviewer, and a once voracious reader of YA fiction back in my tween/teen days, this book contained all my favorite elements of a YA novel, and then some:

1. The nostalgia factor: Lei captures the angst, excitement, everything-that-happens-is important!, first love butterflies, and drama of youth so well.

2. A cast of characters that you actually care about: I was
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dramatic, Interesting, and a Page Turner! What More Could You Want?!

Not THAT Rich by Belinda Lei is a fantastic and diverse novel! From the first page I was addicted to the style of writing and ease of getting to know the plot and the characters. This book had me feeling a wide range of emotions and strong opinions on the characters, which is always perfect for this type of fiction. It has been described as ‘Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians’, which i think sums it up perfectly.

Not THAT Rich
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The good, bad and ugly

The good:

The book is a collection of stories of Asian American teens, and by extension, their Asian American families, that are part of an affluent community in SGV (San Gabriel Valley), a region in Southern California with overwhelmingly high demographic representation of Asian Americans. Unlike the Crazy Rich Asians, which takes on the angle of an outsider, this books is written from an insider point of view, retelling the story as they took place. As another reviewer acc
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! This book is set at a high school in Southern California with a seemingly perfect cast - but as Lei takes you through their stories, it's clear that things are messier than they appear below the surface. This book was a fun way for me to reflect on my experience throughout high school and think about ways I've grown and stayed the same. The diverse cast also makes this a compelling read and provides a voice for people who don't usually find themselves at the forefront of a novel ...more
Timothy Liu
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book! The characters and story were really compelling, and I couldn't put this book down until I knew what happened to my favorite characters. ...more
Sharon Yang
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an Asian who went to a private high school that emphasized college admissions as the end all be all reading this book took me back in time into younger days. It was great to see a lot of Asian references made from grabbing boba to the importance of “saving face”. Overall, this was a very fun YA book to read.

The prose itself was a little unpolished with choppy sentences and awkward cuts. There were also multiple spelling errors throughout the book.
Bailee Noella
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not THAT Rich felt like peeking into a new life, all while also being relatable to the turmoil so many teenagers go through in high school! The characters are well-written and leave an impact.
Trisha Shastri
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Not THAT Rich is a story about how different teenagers strive to lead a "successful life" at an elite private school - delving into themes like cultural perceptions of "success" (with a focus on the American Asian community), interracial relationships, familial ties and perfectionism. I was immediately hooked by the first chapter - the characters have very unique perspectives and the drama unfolds very quickly! I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good high school fiction with s ...more
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not your typical YA novel. Lei's debut novel captivatingly depicts a seemingly glamorous suburban bubble and shows you the inner struggles and challenges unique to the Asian-American community. It's refreshing to find a YA novel that emphasizes diverse communities to younger generations in an easily digestible, fun read. Highly recommend. ...more
Shane Drangel
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not THAT Rich is a witty and fun book following a group of high schoolers through the trials and tribulations of life in a diverse, multi-cultural community. Not having much exposure to these types of stories (and not being an avid reader myself), I found the story easy-to-read and entertaining from start to end. I liked how the author used the perspectives of different characters to tell unique stories and weaved those individual stories together into a broader plot about community, culture, an ...more
Sophie Ligaya dela Cruz
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
a full, more coherent, and more grammatically correct review of Not THAT Rich will soon be up on my blog, Sophie and Their Stories!

this is the sort of high-school drama!! I’ve been searching for all of my life!!

I started reading this book today, and finished it in less than three hours, swaddled in blankets and gripping each page with intrigue. this was just so *fun.*

indeed, high-school novels rarely capture what it’s like to be in that swimming period between 9th and 12th grade. either they
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Okay, first things first: I started and finished this book on the same day, which means I was really into it.

I want to give this book 4.5 stars. Belinda Lei features a diverse cast of characters in her new novel and gives each of them engaging stories. There is a running plot through the book. However, what really drew me in was that throughout the book, Lei developed a sort of vignette which provided a snapshot into the lives of the different characters.

When I started Not THAT Rich, I thought I
Helen Murdoch
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 thi
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a very well-written book. Short enough to be read in one evening. Organized in small enough bites to be enjoyed over a longer period of time - easy to find a good place to pause and pick back up. Great for daily commutes, for sure. The characters are interesting and very realistic. The author gives good insights into their personalities and motivations. Descriptions are vivid and cinematic. You can almost see Hunter and Sierra sitting under their tree talking intimately, or Ray's wide-ey ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. While it is listed as a young adult novel, it’s content and narrative is beneficial across generations. Partly be for young adults who could use it to better understand that they aren’t alone in their current struggles through high school. Or parents who grew up in a different generation and don’t understand the challenges today’s students face and the pressures of high school. Or people who want to better understand how cultural differences affect people in hidden and over ...more
Andy L.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing debut novel!

“Not THAT Rich” is an insightful, creative, and dramatic novel that was a true page-turner. I initially read it as a skeptic given how saturated the YA lit genre has become, but the rich and diverse world that Belinda Lei painted truly blew me away. From the Wangs to Pamela Shah’s and Matt Miller’s storylines, there was a little bit of relatability for everyone. I also enjoyed how there was an air of mystery with the ongoing storyline.

Bravo on the debut!
Laura Trenham
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book as the reviews I saw all raved about it. Unfortunately it fell a little flat for me. There was no real plot apart from trying to work out who stole the exams and the characters being rich and bitchy. It needed more substance. I did really like the characters and their individual traits but they could’ve been fleshed out so much more with a better plot. The writing was basic and could’ve been extended on to make it feel more realistic. There was little emotion shown ...more
Bailie Mckay
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Belinda Lei outdid herself in this Dramatic novel! Many twists and turns await you while you follow along with her main characters.

Enter a world of a handful of Private High School students born into rich families with extreme expectations. Will they get into their desired colleges? Will they find love in their relationships? Will they fight their drug addictions? Who is “The Stranger”? But most importantly does being rich really make you happy?

This dramatic and mysterious novel will leave you
Amy Resnik
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Dec 30, 2020
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Dec 18, 2020
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Dec 29, 2020
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Jan 17, 2021
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Belinda Lei is a Southern California native and an avid reader of all genres from thriller to fantasy — but especially young adult novels. She is a Yale MBA candidate, proud Georgetown Hoya, Managing Director of an anti-bullying non-profit, software engineer, and a former strategy consultant. In her spare time, she can be found cooking, spoiling her chubby cat and grumpy dog, and binge watching dr ...more

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