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Sarong Party Girls

A Novel
Narrated by: Angela Lin
Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant and utterly engaging novel - Emma set in modern Asia - about a young woman's rise in the glitzy, moneyed city of Singapore, where old traditions clash with heady modern materialism.

On the edge of 27, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends, Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh - Western expat - husbands, with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow.

Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn't lose. As she fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, this bombastic yet tenderly vulnerable gold digger reveals the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore's glamorous nightclubs and busy streets, its grubby wet markets and seedy hawker centers. Moving through her colorful, stratified world, she realizes she cannot ignore the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes that threaten to crush her dreams. Desperate to move up in Asia's financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?

Vividly told in Singlish - colorful Singaporean English, with its distinctive cadence and slang - Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of this young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Tan brings not only Jazzy but her city of Singapore to dazzling, dizzying life.

©2016 Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Singlish! Oh Singlish!

Would you consider the audio edition of Sarong Party Girls to be better than the print version?

Yes. There is absolutely no way you can read this book, if you are non-Singaporean without knowing how Singlish actually sounds like. The narrator perfectly captures the nuance and pronunciation of every word, and the intonation perfectly.

What other book might you compare Sarong Party Girls to and why?

Crazy Rich Asians may be close, but totally different world. CRA feels like reading a fairy tale where the course of true love never runs smooth. In SPG, the dating scene of Singapore is seen from the POV of Jazzy, the main protagonist. She is more grounded, and much more relatable compared to Rachel Choo in CRA.

What about Angela Lin’s performance did you like?

Her inflection and pronunciation of every word, including the Hokkien swear words. Perfect in every way!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Sex in the Lion City.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruthi
  • On a Mountain In Oregon
  • 07-13-19

Enjoyable

3.5 rounded up to 4/5 stars. I really only finished this because the characters and life is so different from my own that I was intrigued but it did get rather boring. That might be because I’ve been marathoning YA fantasy, though & I didn’t hate it- I liked it well enough, I just need more in a romcom. It was nice to get used to the dialect and accent enough that I can finally say it’s an easy accent for me to understand whereas before due to auditory processing issues I could not.

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A fabulous voice

Angela Lin does a fabulous job narrating this book. I laughed out loud, I cringed, I said to myself, "No, Jazzy, don't do that!"
Cheryl Tan's story is compelling and Jazzy's voice is fresh, funny and real. FIve stars.

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Beautiful Bildungsroman

Loved the narrator. Her simple personifications and jangling coastal rhythms just put me on a plane to Singapore. Wistfully transparent coming of age story.

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  • Jennifer
  • 10-10-16

Cannot be compared to Emma

I downloaded this book as an audiobook and the performance by Angela Lin did justice to the story. Its not a book you can compare to Emma because it is a book that stands alone and should be considered on its own merits.
I found it very interesting, because I understood the culture and the language. I think it would be a bit difficult to "get it" if you did not have some prior knowledge or experience of the way of life in Singapore in particular and Asia in general.
It was brilliantly written and very insightful although a little bit sad. If only more women felt empowered to think and value more about themselves.
Overall, recommended reading and maybe some research beforehand into the culture, you will be very entertained.