Hot Summer Reads: Sex and Vanity

“In one kiss, you’ll know all I haven’t said.” – Pablo Neruda

What’s better than Crazy Rich Asians?

In one of the most highly anticipated and hottest summer reads of the year, Kevin Kwan puts the two elements of sex and vanity together into his aptly named novel. Fans of the Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young love story will be especially delighted to see the same incredible delivery of scandal, romance, and drama.

Set in modern-day New York City, 19-year-old Lucie Tang Churchill visits Capri, Italy, for a relative’s wedding. During her stay, she meets George Zao, an excruciatingly handsome man who she says she despises though ends up falling in love with. Five years later, when Lucie is newly engaged to Cecil Pike (aka “the world’s most eligible billionaire bachelor”), she crosses path once again with the man who stole her heart in Capri, and the inner turmoil ensues.

Lucie faces other problems: as a half British, half Chinese woman, she experiences racism and struggles with expectations that come with being a part of both cultures.

“My Chinese relatives treat me like I’m some sort of precious unicorn, too good to be one of them, and my WASP relatives treat me like I’m not good enough for them” (Kwan 303).

Kwan never fails to disappoint us with detail- with lavish weddings, breathtaking Italian coastlines, and high society fashion, he paints the picture of wealth in all of its beauty and ugliness.

With all the extravagance seen in Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, minus Asia itself, Kwan discusses his novel with the LA Times: “I don’t want to ever be a one-trick pony, where every project has to have an Asian focus.” What Kwan aims to achieve with Sex and Vanity and further works is to create stories “that can be planted into Hollywood productions that give a lot of amazing, talented people the work they deserve.” 

Kevin Kwan’s Sex and Vanity makes the perfect read when you want to go on vacation without ever having to leave your bed.


Kim, Yoonj. “‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author Kevin Kwan Tackles Crazy Rich Americans.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2020,

2020. Sex And Vanity. [image] Available at: <> [Accessed 7 August 2020].

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