Check out our review of The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau it’s the contemporary romance to read if you want an opposites-attract romantic comedy with moments where you actually laugh out loud.
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Vivian Liao’s roommate is engaged to her favorite actor’s co-star. But meeting Melvin Lee makes her think that he’s not so great after all. Mel is a well-known actor and comedian, but he can’t seem to get Vivian to react to him. They definitely got off on the wrong foot and questioned each other’s’ life choices. They both want Lindsay and Ryan’s (the couple from Donut Fall in Love) wedding to go well, though, and maybe they have more of a connection than they thought.
Jackie Lau writes these wonderful contemporary romances that are funny and heartfelt and provide commentary and reflection on being Asian in current society within the context of telling an amazing love story. This book is no exception. Vivian and Mel are both somehow very endearing but also very annoying. I couldn’t help but root for them though.
Mel reminded me of Andrew Phung (Kimchee in Kim’s Convenience), and I enjoyed that mental picture. I really related to Vivian and her need to maintain control to make sure she could have a safety net and take care of the people she loves. Both Mel and Vivian are not who they seem on the surface and I appreciated the representation of anxiety and depression (neither necessarily explicitly diagnosed, but present nonetheless). Although I can’t speak for the representation of every person’s experience with these conditions, I certainly felt like they were accurate to a possible experience and felt very understood while reading these sections.
Seeing Lindsay and Ryan again was fun and their friend group was so strong. Mel also has a close relationship with his family, and his grandmother made me laugh a ton. She was very over-the-top and I would not enjoy her meddling if it was directed at me, but it was amusing to read about the crazy things that happened to Mel.
I can’t wait to find out where this series goes and who else will get their own stories. Perhaps Irene will be next? The only thing that stopped me from giving this book 5 stars was the pacing of communication between Vivian and Mel. I think there were opportunities for them to open up to each other more but they both were too used to doing things on their own. I wish we could have seen more growth in them. However, this ultimately didn’t prevent me from enjoying this book since they do make some progress as individuals and as a couple throughout the book.
Overall, if you enjoy contemporary romcoms, I definitely recommend this book. But read the first book in the series first so you can get a more full understanding of this friend group and how Vivian and Mel came to dislike one another. I can’t wait to read more from Jackie Lau!
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