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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Review: Counterfeit by Kristin Chen

by Kristin Chen
Narrated by Catherine Ho

Thanks so much to William Morrow, HarperAudio and for this #giftedbook.

Publisher: HarperAudio
Publish Date: June 7, 2022
7 hrs 20 min
Genre: Contemporary

Money can't buy happiness... but it can buy a decent fake.

Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home--she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn't been used in years, and her toddler's tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.

Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business--someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.

Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life. 

My Review:

Who has ever owned a *fake* designer bag? 🙋  Honestly, I could give a 💩 about designer labels (though if I had the money to spend, I'd definitely be more intrigued...).  COUNTERFEIT tells the story of Ava and Winnie, two Asian Americans who are conning their way into the wallets of the rich and entitled. And of course, the more you get away with something, the more you're willing to expand on it... increasing all risks.

I think the take I found most interesting in this read was when Ava realized that now she couldn't get away with her "model minority", demure, innocent Asian presence anymore and that she was now being looked upon as sketchy and someone the stores now needed to keep an eye on.  

I honestly don't have a whole lot to say on this one.  It's an easy read/listen.  The narrator is amazing and helped to keep me involved in the story.  While I do think the second half went a teensy bit off the rails, I still enjoyed this quick and entertaining story.  Go forth and buy your handbags - but remember, a bag is a bag is a bag, but you may want to get it authenticated before purchase. 


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