When publishing a book as deliciously fun as China Rich Girlfriend
, there's always a bit of guilt involved: is the book anything more than a (spectacularly addicting) mindless pleasure? Kevin Kwan is as careful as he is funny, perceptive, and naughty, as he never lets his fabulously wealthy characters feel judged for their wealth alone. Instead, he casts doubt upon the wealth itself, updating the tale of Midas with luxury brands and high fashion. No one who falls for the spell is safe from corruption, and even the heroes are punished when they use wealth as a justification of themselves. The end result is one of the most entertaining sets of characters ever conceived, who seem all the more human contrasted against this wild opulence. Come for the koi ponds on private jets; stay for the smart maneuverings of a writer with insights as big as his characters' bank accounts. - JG, marketer.