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Literature / Crazy Rich Asians

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Rachel: Peik Lin, who are these people?
Peik Lin: I have no idea who these people are. But I can tell you one thing—these people are richer than God.

Crazy Rich Asians is a trilogy beginning with the 2013 best seller novel by Kevin Kwan.

Chinese-American Rachel Chu has been dating her boyfriend, Chinese-Singaporean Nicholas Young for almost two years. When he invites her home to Singapore for his best friend's wedding and to "spend the rest of the summer bumming around Asia," the last thing she expects is that Nick's family is rich—ridiculously rich. And since his best friend, Colin Khoo (the most eligible bachelor in Asia) is getting married, the title (read: target) has officially moved to Nick.

The first sequel, titled China Rich Girlfriend, was released in 2015 and focuses on the lifestyle of China's elite from various perspectives. The last book of the trilogy, Rich People Problems, was released in 2017.

A film adaptation was released in August 2018. It is directed by Jon M. Chu, and stars Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh.

Now with a Character Sheet.

This series contains examples of:

Note: If a trope is an overarching theme for the trilogy or examples are present in more than one book, it should go in the "As a Series" folder. If it is only seen in one book, it should go in its respective folder.

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    As a series 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Eddie, who's about to hit his six-year-old son for accidentally spilled soda all over his shirt and says he's going to kill him for it, before his wife stops him.
    • Michael, since his new found wealth. He punishes his son by locking him in the closet for four hours, causing him to be afraid of the dark, for accidentally scratching his vintage Porsche, and also by not giving him dinner for unknowingly using a bad word.
  • Affluent Ascetic: The Youngs, Leongs, and Chengs, who are all extremely rich, but very frugal, especially the Chengs, who live in an old flat.
    • Eleanor, despite being wealthy, uses a discount calling card, and one chapter has her and her equally wealthy (and cheap) friends buying fake bags that one of them still thinks are too expensive.
    • Bao Shaoyen from China Rich Girlfriend. She prefers flying coach to first class, but ironically has a room full of Birkin and Kelly bags.
    • Astrid's sister-in-law as described in a footnote:
    Cathleen Kah Leong, the wife of Harry and Felicity Leong’s eldest son, Henry, takes great pride in her thrift. A partner at Singapore’s most esteemed law firm, she takes the public bus to work every day. A granddaughter of the late banking tycoon Kah Chin Kee, she uses a plastic bag from the local neighborhood gourmet grocers to transport her legal briefs when she could well afford to buy Goyard. (Not a nice Goyard leather tote bag—I mean Goyard, the company.)
    • The insanely wealthy mothers of Colette and her friends, who prefer eating instant ramen to eating at a restaurant, because the fried rice is too expensive.
    • Bernard Tai in China Rich Girlfriend, who moves out of his mansion in Bel Air to a more modest surroundings, to let his daughter experience "real-world preparedness" and have a better chance of getting into Harvard.
    • Sophie Khoo, Colin's pediatric surgeon sister who comes from a very wealthy billionaire family, yet dresses modestly and flies commercial.
    • Francesca's family used to live like this, living crammed together in an old shop house, before her grandfather had a stroke, putting her parents in control of his money.
    • In Rich People Problems, Astrid herself moves to Palawan, where she find peace in a simpler life of making her own clothes and helping to run a school in the village.
  • All for Nothing: Can be discussed. For all the fuss that she makes about it in Crazy Rich Asians, by Rich People Problems it's clear that Su Yi does not care who Nick marries, nor any of her relatives for that matter. She proves it by giving Rachel beautiful pearl studs on her deathbed, helping the once-unworthy Charlie plan a grand proposal to Astrid, and leave the disinherited Alexander and his wife Salimah a beautiful estate in Malaysia. Even her dislike of Eleanor does not prevent her from leaving Philip the largest share of Tyersall Park as she had always planned. Her discontentment with Nick was more over his absence and the things he told her, and even then that was never enough to change her will.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Cecilia Cheng, Eddie and Alastair's sister.
    • Constantine Cheng, Eddie's son.
  • Altar Diplomacy: A few of the couples are together because it was a smart financial decision for their families.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Oliver T'sien. He likes to gossip and comments about what people are wearing.
  • Amicable Exes: Astrid and Charlie.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account:
    • The Old Money families are mostly multi-billionaires, but it is never disclosed exactly how rich any of them are.
    "Do you know how much she inherited with her father died? I heard she and her five brothers got seven hundred million each."
    "Is that all?"
    • Also implied by Astrid's mom, Felicity, when she and her siblings are forced to sell Tyersall Park, because it's all that Shang Su Yi left for them in her will.
    Felicity: If we are forced to sell Tyersall Park I only get a few hundred million. I’m going to be a nobody now!
    Harry: Darling, you’re my wife. You’re Puan Sri Harry Leong and we have our own money. You’ll never be a nobody.
    • In the third book, Astrid's personal wealth is supposedly estimated to be over 10 billion dollars.
    • According to the movie adaptation's website, Nick's family is worth 13 billion dollars.
  • Asians Love Tea: The book pays attention to the tea culture for both Asian-Americans and Singaporeans. Several of the protagonists love their tea.
    • Romantic leads Rachel and Nick are introduced at their favorite tea spot, which is where Nick asks her to Meet the In-Laws.
    • In between major events, characters like Astrid or Sophie are seen ordering and drinking tea.
    • Nick's grandmother Shang Su Yi hosts luxurious afternoon tea, with Rachel's narration pointing out the delicious lychee tea from the expensive tea sets.
    • The Gohs take Rachel to a family friend, Dr. Gu, who explains the Young family to them. When they arrive he is making tea, and Wye Mun explains the intricacies of his tea ritual to Rachel and his daughter.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The novel revolves around the attractive and super-rich characters, such as Nick, Colin, Araminta and Astrid.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The "good guys" Nick, Rachel, Araminta, Colin and Astrid.
  • Better as Friends: Astrid repeatedly remembers how she and Charlie made great friends, but a terrible couple. Charlie, over time, begins to realize he doesn't agree.
  • Big Applesauce: The first few chapters of the first book are set in New York City, as Nick and Rachel live there and work as professors at NYU.
  • Big Fancy House:
    • Tyersall Park. Home of Nick's family, it is basically Singapore's Downton Abbey. According to Peik Lin, it is fifty acres at least.note 
    • Villa D'Oro, Peik Lin's family's house, is also one.
    • Colette's home in China Rich Girlfriend. Even Nick is impressed.
    • Subverted by Bernard Tai, in China Rich Girlfriend, who lives in an upper-middle class house in Los Angeles.
  • Billionaire Wristband:
    • Trope Namer Richie Yang spends nearly three full pages of the second novel bragging about his Richard Plumper Tourbillon (based on Richard Mille, whose watches start at $100k).
    • Eddie keeps a vast collection of expensive Swiss watches in a customized display cabinet. His favorite is a bespoke Roger W. Smith that had a nearly year-long waiting list.
    • He expects his royal Thai uncle Taksin to arrive in Singapore wearing a Billionaire Wristband of his own. Taksin shows up wearing an Apple Watch, much to Eddie's disgust.
    • Nick wears a rare vintage Patek inherited from his grandfather.
    • Choice of watch is the second-most important criterion for Wandi Meggaharto when judging a man, behind hair density.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: A good number of the Malay words and phrases used in the series are badly misspelled, spoken in the wrong context or just plain made up.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Bernard Tai, due to a life-changing incident during his plastic surgery, has been adapting to healthy and progressive lifestyle and values.
    • Colette's new husband, Lord Lucien Plantagenet Montagu-Scott, Earl of Palliser, is an environmental lawyer who, of course, cares deeply about the environment.
  • Brand Names Are Better: Zigzagged. While most of the Old Money characters care about who they wear, more well-known luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton are disregarded as "tacky".
    • Eleanor, who started getting "brand-name fatigue" in the seventies, wouldn't be caught dead with a Birkin either, if it weren't for Bao Shaoyen giving her a custom-made Birkin bag with her monogram on it.
    Nadine: [looking at Eleanor's new bag] Let me tell you what I’m appreciating right now—your new Birkin bag! I never thought you’d be caught dead with one of these. Didn’t you once say that only tacky Mainlanders carried such bags?
    • Under Corinna Ko-Tung's instruction, Kitty is forbidden from wearing Roberto Cavalli, but Carolina Herrera and Mikimoto are still acceptable.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Nick. Because of his looks, wealth and status, he is regarded as the number one bachelor in Asia amongst the families who know who he is.
    • Colin even more so. Before he got engaged to Araminta, he was the number one bachelor, and had a lot more notoriety, with his family being less secretive than Nick's.
  • Conspicuous Consumption:
    • Eddie is a big fan of this and does not see the point of having money without showing it off. His family, although they have Big Fancy Houses and many of them are chauffeured around in expensive cars, do not agree with him, which irks him to no end.
    • Peik Lin's family has a room in which almost everything is covered in gold leaf. They also have a metallic-gold BMW.
    • In China Rich Girlfriend, there's Colette Bing and her friends during a shopping spree in Paris, where she buys all the rooms on the two top floors of the hotel they're staying and they all shop for so many things from morning till night that they have three extra Range Rovers just to put the extra shopping bags. Rachel's experience when she accompanies one of Colette's friends during the shopping spree:
    “Stephanie circled around the curved wall filled from floor to ceiling with bags, studying everything intently. Then she pointed out three handbags. “Would you like to see those three bags, mademoiselle?” the saleswoman asked. “No, I will take everything on that wall except those three,” Stephanie said, handing over her black palladium credit card. #OMFG #thisjustgotreal”
  • Cool Plane:
    • Araminta's mom's plane. It has a library/media room and a yoga studio.
    • Exaggerated in China Rich Girlfriend with Colette's mom's plane that has an IMAX screening room, a grand lounge, a karaoke lounge, a hydromassage room, a lavish dining room, a clinic, and the one that really impresses Rachel, a koi pond.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dato' Tai Toh Lui, Bernard's father, is implied to be this.
  • Dark Secret: Initially, the revelation that Rachel is from a broken home. In full, she was the product of an affair between her mother Kerry and Kao Wei/Bao Gaoliang, who saved her so many times from her rich and abusive husband. Kerry's horrible in-laws were thrilled until the baby turned out to be a girl. They then planned to half-blind the infant Rachel to exploit a loophole in the one-child policy (a handicapped baby can be disregarded, so they could try for a son). When Kerry discovered their plan, she took Rachel and ran to safety with a distant relative in America. Neither Kao Wei nor her husband knew who the baby's true father was.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's a series that heavily satirises some of the wealthiest people on the planet (In-Universe), so of course there's a lot of this. Apart from elitism, Rachel is also exposed to things such as Chinese Singaporeans' colorism and racism against people who are ethnically Southeast Asian. At one point, Araminta is chastised for allowing herself to tan and is warned that she'll look like those ugly Southeast Asians.... Rachel doesn't think they're being serious at first, but then realises they are, and is baffled by it.
  • Derailing Love Interests:
    • In Crazy Rich Asians, Invoked by Michael, when he fakes an affair on Astrid in order to make her leave him.
    • Played straight in China Rich Girlfriend, when Michael becomes wealthy and subsequently a jerk.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Colette makes a scene in a public area, shouting abuse at Rachel. Of course, Colette being a high-profile fashion icon, this gets quickly videoed and put on the Internet. This results in the former losing their sponsors.
  • Disappeared Dad: Rachel's father. Not so disappeared in China Rich Girlfriend, as he is surprisingly found by Eleanor.
  • Doting Parent:
    • Astrid's parents.
    • Eddie has a friend that he envies so much, because his wealthy parents spoil him with whatever he wants, unlike the wealthy, yet cheap parents of Eddie's.
  • The Dreaded: Society matriarch Mrs. Lee Yong Chien may be the only upper-crust Singaporean to rival Su Yi for wealth and influence. She has the power to get two entire families shunned after one member of each betrays her granddaughter.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Inverted by Nick, who finds it humorous to not get the respect his name warrants in China Rich Girlfriend.
    • Astrid's comment when a snooty French aristocrat (who snubbed her when they first met) finally finds out who her family is and how insanely rich she is in the first book.
    “Wow—it took only five minutes for this lady to go from snooty to suck-up.”
  • Eleventy Zillion: Michael uses this.
    "I can't watch these people spend a gazillion dollars on a wedding when half the world is starving."
    • "Squillionaire" is used in China Rich Girlfriend.
  • The Fashionista: Astrid and Araminta.
    • It turns out fashion has always been Astrid's passion, she doesn't even care if her clothes are from the street vendors or high end couturiers. After all, no matter what she wears, she still manages to look stylish. She once even got a job offer at Yves Saint Laurent in Paris after college and considered starting her own fashion business, but her parents disapproved. She later learns to sew and manages to make her own clothes that turn out impressive.
    • Francesca. Interestingly, despite being one, she only wears six designers and when Araminta holds a shopping spree inside the boutique in her mom's resort during her bachelorette party, she is frustrated that it sells "no-name" designers, despite the "no-name" designers being some of the hottest designers, such as Alexis Mabille, Thakoon, and Isabel Marant.
    • Colette Bing from China Rich Girlfriend. She is China's most famous fashion blogger.
    • Peik Lin is also one. She has no problem going on shopping sprees and helping Rachel look more presentable.
  • Fiction 500: Most of the families here. Particularly shown by Astrid's family, the Leongs, who bought The Calthorpe, a British luxury hotel, because its manager was being racist to Felicity and her family.
    • Jack Bing, Colette's ultra-rich billionaire father, is the second richest man in China (or the third, fourth, seventh, depending on the magazine doing the ranking). He once tried to buy an entire Chinese luxury hotel for Colette, because she loved the hotel so much, but the hotel refused to sell at any price.
  • Foil: Kitty Pong for Rachel. While the Youngs think that Rachel is a Gold Digger who’s only interested in Nick for his money while she genuinely loves Nick, Kitty Pong is an actual Gold Digger who dumps a boyfriend or husband once she’s found a better prospect.
  • Food Porn: The books are full of lush descriptions of Singaporean cuisine, from the Michelin-rated street food of the hawker centres to the delicate confections of Tyersall Park's kitchens.
  • Footnote Fever: Kevin Kwan loves footnotes, and they get snarkier as they go on. Not only does he translate the language references and the social references, there's jokes about Asian drivers, Game of Thrones, and how he hated the teacher who beat him in school.
  • Foreshadowing: Peik Lin's dad spends Crazy Rich Asians "jokingly" telling her to go and seduce Nick in order to get her hands on Tyersall Park. By the end of Rich People Problems, she owns part of Tyersall Hotel and Museum thanks to her hard work as a real estate developper, and still marries one of her co-owners, Nick's cousin Alistair.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with. Rachel's mother also fell in love with someone far wealthier than she when she was younger but while Nick is humble and kind to Rachel, this man was emotionally abusive and controlling. He and his parents mistreated Rachel's mother, and only treated her well when she became pregnant. And unbeknownst to them, Rachel's biological father was another, much kinder man. They were also going to try and blind Rachel in one eye when they found out she was a girl so they'd be allowed to have another child and hopefully get a son. With the help of Rache's real father, they escaped to America.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Nick and Sophie, both decent people who work in education and medicine.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Nick and Oliver, while both nice people, have this tendency.
  • Gold Digger:
    • Rachel is accused of this by Eleanor and others, but she averts it. She didn't have a clue that Nick's family was rich until she met them long after they started dating. Bao Shaoyen also suspects her of this, until she gets a good look at Rachel and realizes that Rachel really is Gaoling's daughter.
    • Kitty Pong. She breaks up with Alistair after Oliver convinces her that he's too "poor" for her and lures her into marrying billionaire Bernard. She later divorces Bernard for even richer multi-billionaire Jack Bing.
    • Ironically, Eleanor finally not only approves, but also encourages Nick of marrying Rachel for her money after she finds out about Rachel's real father, who happens to be a billionaire in China Rich Girlfriend, because it seems Nick may lose his grandmother's inheritance due to their strained relationship after what happened in Cameron Highlands from the previous book.
    • Also from China Rich Girlfriend, there's Francesca, who, after being cut off by her grandfather, decides to engage in an affair with a wealthy married man, but he ends up staying with his wife. She later marries "some Iranian Jew with half a billion dollars".
    • At Araminta's bachelorette party, one of Araminta's friends faces a problem because according to them, her boyfriend, despite being rich, isn't rich enough to provide her lifestyle. Francesca points out even more detailed reason for her to stop dating him and find a richer boyfriend.
  • Gossipy Hens: Araminta's socialite friends during her bachelorette party, gossiping about their lifestyle, eligible rich guys to date, and Rachel.
    • Eleanor and her Bible study friends can count as well.
  • Grande Dame: Shang Su Yi, owner of Tyersall park, matriarch of the series. Rich People Problems delves into her past and how she got to where she is.
  • Grandparent Favoritism: Shang Su Yi, the matriarch of the family prefers Nick and Astrid over her other grandchildren.
  • High-Class Gloves: Malcolm Cheng, Asia's most renowned cardiac surgeon, wears custom-designed lambskin gloves "to protect his precious hands."
  • Housewife: Downplayed In-Universe: Alix Cheng, actually the one who built her and Malcolm's fortune through her talent as a real estate investor states she is "just a simple housewife."
    • Corinna's efforts to make Kitty more palatable to society involve changing her image to that of a church-going housewife.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each of the books of the series have three word titles, and the word "Rich" in it:
    • "Crazy Rich Asians"
    • "China Rich Girlfriend"
    • "Rich People Problems"
  • Idle Rich: Almost all of the wealthy women.
  • Interclass Friendship: Middle-class Rachel has been friends with the wealthy Peik Lin since college. Later, she's also friends with the super rich Astrid, Araminta, and others.
  • Ivy League for Everyone:
    • Rachel graduated from Northwestern and Stanford, the university Eleanor snubbed as "that school in California for people who can't get into Harvard."
    • Peik Lin also graduated from Stanford, where she first met Rachel.note 
  • Jerkass: Eddie, who is a minor antagonist and overall cares about nothing but his wealth, status, and appearances throughout the series. It usually backfires on him.
    • Bernard Tai as well, who was a bully as a kid and "threw Colin" a bachelor party involving dogfighting, eating off of prostitutes, and a bunch of other stuff he wanted to do that Colin, who wanted a simple get-together with his best friends, had no interest in.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Nick's parents live in two different places: his father, Philip, moved out of Singapore long time ago because he's had enough with his family's nonsense and decides to live a quiet, peaceful life in Sydney, while his mother, Eleanor, stays in Singapore.
  • My Beloved Smother: Eleanor, especially in the first book. Again, she wants the best for her son and only child, and will manipulate his life to achieve it.
    • Bao Shaoyen, mother of Carlton, Rachel's paternal half-brother, from the sequel.
  • Mysterious Parent: Rachel's father is still alive.
  • Naming Conventions:
    • Eleanor's generation of crazy rich Asians tends to have classic British given names: Philip, Catherine, Victoria, etc. Those who still live in mainland China tend to retain their traditional Chinese names, such as Gaoliang and Shaoyen.
    • Nick's generation expands this convention to include classic names from across Europe: Astrid (Scandinavian), Francesca (Italian), Colette (French), etc.
    • The children of this generation tend to have aspirational names invoking celebrity, mythology, ancient history, or literature: Cassian, Constantine, Gisele, Harvard, Auberon...
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Pan Ting Ting, the gorgeous "Jennifer Lawrence of Asia", is clearly Fan Bingbing. Oddly, she is namedropped in Crazy Rich Asians, but given this new name in China Rich Girlfriend.
    • Ming Kah-Ching, the extremely aptly named father of Leo Ming, is a stand in for real-life billionaire Ling Kah-Ching.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service:
    • The reason why the Leongs bought the Calthorpe hotel, because the manager was being racist to Felicity and her family by refusing them the suite they had reserved.
    • Her daughter, Astrid, also experienced this, as revealed in a flashback; on a shopping trip with Charlie in Paris, she was treated badly by a clerk in a couture store due to being an Asian schoolgirl who didn't look very fashionable. That is, until Charlie made a call and she ended up buying twenty outfits from there, instead of just one like she originally wanted.
    • In the second book, Nick is shown to get a kick out of people not paying him any mind until they get hints about his relatives and it begins to dawn on them that he is "someone".
    • The Locke Club, "Hong Kong's most exclusive dining club," however, not even "fame or a fat checkbook" is enough to get in.
  • Not with Them for the Money:
    • Rachel, considering that she didn't even know about the money.
    • Michael, with Astrid, as well. He signed a pre-nup without hesitation.
    • Rachel and Michael both end up inverting this trope by ending their relationships due to the affluence of their partners.
  • Nouveau Riche:
    • Downplayed. The old-moneyed Overseas Chinese families do not look well upon the new-moneyed Mainland Chinese families, but (perhaps with the exception of Peik Lin's family's room of gold) they are not portrayed as being tacky or tactless.
    • Charlie, despite coming from a billionaire family, was disapproved of by Astrid's parents due to his family being this.
  • Odd Friendship: After Nick and Rachel tie the knot, their mothers Eleanor and Kerry strike one, based on stock exchange tips and family gossip.
  • Older Than They Look: Jacqueline Ling. Rachel thinks she's in her early forties, while she's really in her sixties.
  • Old Maid: Victoria Young, Nick's aunt, is this, as she's not married to anyone, unlike her siblings.
  • Old Money: The series (especially the first book) revolves around Singapore's old-moneyed circle.
    • Nick and Astrid come from the most influential old money families.
  • Parental Relationship Veto: Eleanor Young does not approve of her son dating or marrying the middle-class descendant of peasants. Subverted when she realizes who Rachel's father is.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Rachel.
    • Played with in the sequel, while it is revealed that Rachel's biological father is not only a top politician, but also a billionaire who owns a successful pharmaceutical company, and she just got married to the wealthy Nick. However, she still acts this way, especially with Colette's friends.
  • Perfect Poison: Despite drinking a poisoned tea, Rachel did not notice anything was amiss until several hours later when she started feeling sick and passed out.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The ideal coloring for women in the world of the crazy rich Asians. In one scene, Araminta recalls how Eleanor worried that she had become tan enough to look Malay.
    • Downplayed with Corinna Ko-Tung, who believes there's a limit to this for married women in high society. She tells Kitty that her "tofu-milk skin" is no longer suitable and she ought to look like she's had at least a little bit of sun, plus some brown lowlights in her hair to soften her appearance.
  • Rebellious Princess: Played with with Astrid:
    "She wasn’t a rebel, because to call her one would imply that she was breaking the rules. Astrid simply made her own rules, and through the confluence of her particular circumstances—a substantial private income, overindulgent parents, and her own savoir faire—every move she made became breathlessly talked about and scrutinized within that claustrophobic circle.”
    • More straightforward in the third book, when Astrid's finally had enough with her parents and society, since she's shunned by them for sleeping with married Charlie.
    • Colette is a more straightforward example.
    • Nick and Colin are the male version.
  • Retail Therapy: Astrid:
    "She had just bought a three hundred and fifty thousand dollar diamond ring she didn't much care for, a twenty-eight thousand dollar bracelet she quite liked, and a seven hundred and eighty-four thousand dollar pair of earrings that made her look like Pocahontas. For the first time in weeks, she felt bloody fantastic."
  • The Reveal: The first hint that there would be a big reveal is in Part One, Chapter Thirteen. The actual reveal doesn't happen until Part Three, Chapter Thirteen. In the same moment, Rachel Chu learns her father is still alive, in prison for negligence leading to the very accident her mother claimed he died in, her mother kidnapped her, renamed her, and moved to the U.S. and her father's family put out a reward for her safe return, and her birth name is not Rachel Chu. She learns this from Eleanor of all people, who believed she knew and had been withholding the fact all along.
    • In the second book, Rachel's real father is a Chinese billionaire and she has a half-brother Carlton. Colette's assistant is the mastermind behind Rachel's poisoning, acting on her own, due to Colette worrying that Carlton may lose his money because of Rachel.
    • In the third book, Shang Su Yi doesn't control her family's fabled massive fortune after all (it's controlled by her brother, Alfred, as their father wanted only a son to inherit the fortune), she can only use it, so she doesn't leave it in her will when she dies. She's also revealed to have had an affair with a Thai prince that resulted a love child, Catherine Young.
    • Also in the third book, it turns out that Charlie's ex-wife, Isabel and Astrid's ex-husband, Michael, have been working together to destroy all chances for Astrid and Charlie to be together, including ruining Astrid's reputation.
  • Rich Bitch:
    • Araminta's bachelorette party is a gathering of these. Subverted by Araminta herself.
    • Eleanor and her friends. Save perhaps for Carol.
    • Colette Bing.
    • Kitty Pong shows this at varying levels throughout the series.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: Among the characters, a British accent is a signifier of an Old Money upbringing, whereas a Singlish accent signifies Nouveau Riche status.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor:
    • Despite both being billionaires, the Bings consider Richie as the rich one and Carlton as the poor one for Colette, as Richie and Colette are at the same level as multi-billionaires, while Carlton's family "only" has two billion dollars at most.
    • Amanda Ling & Francesca Shaw (Nick's ex-girlfriends who are both wealthy and favored by Eleanor), and Rachel Chu (Nick's current girlfriend who's poor and disliked by Eleanor) in the first book.
  • The Scrooge: In-Universe example: Eddie's opinion of the Youngs, Chengs, and Leongs. They are cheap, though.
  • Secretly Wealthy:
    • Not only is the fact that Rachel doesn't know Nick is absurdly wealthy one of the main plot points, the Youngs and Leongs "guard their privacy to the point of obsession", to the point where only the oldest of old money families reliably know who they are.
    • In the sequel, Nick is shown to enjoy it when wealthy individuals severely undervalue him due to their ignorance.
  • Self-Made Man: Peik Lin's grandfather.
    • In China Rich Girlfriend, Michael's entire sense of self-worth seems to have become based on his becoming a successful tech billionaire. He does not realize until later that this is thanks to his original start-up having been bought by Charlie Wu, Astrid's ex, for far more than it was worth.
    • Jack Bing, Colette's multi-billionaire father.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Downton Abbey is referenced in the first two books, to describe Nick's house in the first book and to describe the lifestyle of Rachel's aunt in the second book.
    • Colette dreamed of going to high school in America to be just like Marissa Cooper, but she was shipped away to a school in England instead.
    • Game of Thrones is referenced in both sequels, referencing the Iron Throne and Red Wedding.
  • Simple, yet Opulent:
    • Many of Astrid's outfits are this: she always looks amazing, but not in a pimped-out way.
    • Fiona buys a dress that Eddie thinks is too simple—until she is praised for it and he takes credit for getting it for her.
    • In China Rich Girlfriend, when Rachel shows her engagement ring to her wealthy aunt, she isn't impressed due to it being too simple and small, while Rachel likes it for its simplicity. Later revealed in the footnote, it is actually from JAR, the high-end French jeweler, and described as a flawless oval-cut diamond held in place by ribbons of white gold almost as thin as hairs, interwoven with tiny blue sapphires.
  • Singapore: The first novel is mostly set here, focusing on the lifestyle of Singapore's elite. Much of the country's culture is introduced here.
  • The Sociopath: Eddie Cheng seems genuinely baffled by the concept of doing things because of love or goodwill. He himself only cares about money and status and views his family as tools or obstacles.
  • Socialite: Many of the Idle Rich women, such as Francesca, who's a member of basically every charity board, and her mother, Nadine, as they both always appear in society pages, showing them at the society events they attend.
  • Supreme Chef: Many wealthy families in the series employ superb cooks, but supreme among them is Marcus Sim, who works for Su Yi's brother Alfred and can elevate something as simple as scrambled eggs into divinity.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Nick's It Seemed Trivial about his family's wealth and snobbery was the first blow to his and Rachel's relationship as Rachel was not prepared to deal with his family.
    • In China Rich Girlfriend, after their breakup, it takes two years for Rachel and Nick to repair their relationship after the events of the first book. Also Nick is still not on good terms with his family after what happened between them in the first book.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Many of the characters are related in some way. For example, Nick's father and Astrid's mother are brother and sister. Astrid's father and Colin's mother are also brother and sister, technically making Nick and Colin cousins-in-law. The author created a simplified Young-T'sien-Shang family tree (albeit a somewhat confusing one).
  • Tell Me About My Father: After Rachel learns the truth about her origins through Eleanor's machinations, she gets her mother to tell her about why she kidnapped Rachel and ran away with her and even why their last name is "Chu".
  • Title Drop:
    • Crazy Rich Asians: Part Three, Chapter Fifteen.
    • China Rich Girlfriend: Part One, Chapter Eleven.
  • Token Good Teammate: Carol Tai is a deconstructed example and even the most truly religious one in her Bible Study group. While she does try her best to get her friends focused on the reading of the Word of God (while the others prefer to gossip and talk about jewelry), for Eleanor to give Rachel a chance, to try to cut off their most judgmental and acid-tongued remarks, she doesn't really do much about it and is an Extreme Doormat or even somewhat complicit indirectly because they talk over her, dismiss her concerns and don't listen to her. It's not so great on the family front as well, as her husband is greedy and cheats on her while her son Bernard resents her lack of involvement in his childhood and she can barely discipline him.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Eleanor's Bible Study group, which consists of nosy, judgmental, gossipy, materialistic, shallow, self-centered and shrill women whose meddling (or even lack of interaction and discipline in the case of Carol Tai) have led to most of them being estranged from their children, having their children turn out to be rotten people (Francesca and Bernard), not able to see their grandchildren, and even encouraging each other to commit extreme measures to interfere in their children's lives.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: All the Singaporean classics: Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, satay, laksa, and dumplings and kuih (sweets) of every description, all washed down with Tiger Beer.
  • Uncle/Aunt Pennybags:
    • Quite a few characters. Notable examples include Nick (and his father), Astrid, Colin, and Sophie, who all hail from extremely wealthy established families, but are far from being snobs.
    • Araminta Lee, the super-rich supermodel heiress daughter of one of China's first billionaires, who genuinely tries to befriend Rachel and welcome her in Singapore with open arms.
    • Peik Lin Goh, Rachel's very rich Singaporean best friend from Stanford, whose family's wealth is just as great as her heart, as she always tries to buy her stuff, including expensive couture clothes for Colin and Araminta's wedding, and she and her family welcome her with open arms and let her stay in their mansion.
    • Carlton and his father, Bao Gaoliang, a pharmaceutical billionaire and top politician, who are definitely not too snobbish to let Rachel be part of their family, since it's revealed that Rachel is Bao's long lost daughter.
    • Colette starts out to be this as well.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe:
    • Astrid. She has so many outfits (not to mention many of them are couture) that the spare bedroom in her apartment and rooms at her parents' house become an extra closet for them.
    • Rachel, for Araminta's wedding. She originally only had a few non-designer outfits to wear, until Peik Lin, deeming Rachel's outfits to be unsuitable for a high-profile wedding, buys her multiple designer dresses. It causes Francesca and Eleanor to think that Rachel spent a bunch of Nick's money for her expensive wardrobe.
    • Colette, whose weekly clothing budget exceeds Nick and Rachel's combined annual incomes as professors.
    Colette: [after amazing Rachel with her bathroom] Okay, we better skip the tour of my closets, I don't actually want to be blamed for your breakup.
  • Upper-Class Twit:
    • Bernard Tai, Eddie, and Francesca.
    • The second book has Carlton, Colette (and her wealthy socialite friends), and Richie. Although, throughout the second book, Carlton is shown to not have all the personality flaws common to characters who fit this trope.
  • You Are What You Hate: Harry Leong, whose family (and their wealth) originally comes from Malaysia, disowns his son, Alex, for marrying a Malaysian woman.

    Crazy Rich Asians 
  • Alpha Bitch: Not only are almost all of the girls Araminta invites to her bachelorette party Rich Bitches, quite a few of them fall into this category as well. Particularly Francesca.
  • Better than Sex: Astrid found Charlie's way of spending money better than sex.
  • Billionaire Playboy: Bernard Tai is an extreme version of this with his many girlfriends, one-night stands, and the models/call girls he hires for blowouts and games like picking cherries off with the mouth from the nipples. One scene actually described him receiving oral sex from a girl while in a hot tub. He is also known for spending thousands on VVIP rooms and dogfighting.
    • Alistair is one as well, being named as a playboy and for the "broken hearts" he left behind.
  • Blasphemous Praise: Peik Lin about Nick's grandmother's house, page quote.
  • Dead Sparks: Michael's opinion of his marriage. Astrid very much disagrees.
  • Death Faked for You: Rachel's father is very much alive, contrary to the story her mother made up.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Rachel was discussing with her mom the idea that Nick hadn't told his parents about her yet because they were poor and he thought they would think a girlfriend is an unnecessary expenditure.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: Kitty Pong barely gives Alistair's grandmother Shang Su Yi the courtesy of a greeting before turning to the Sultana of Borneo, who she demanded to meet because her boyfriend Alistair said she was "some sort of Malay princess" and is decked out in jewelery, including a 118-carat diamond necklace.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Discussed as being averted in Astrid and Michael's relationship, as he had no hesitation in signing a pre-nup.
  • Fallen Princess: Francesca. She and her parents get cut off after her grandfather, who's been in a coma for many years, takes back the control of his money after he finds out about their excessive spending.
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee:
    • Astrid. Even after confronting Michael about his mistress and being told he wants a divorce, she "forgives" him and acts like the notion of them not attending Colin and Araminta's wedding together is ridiculous.
    • Later Invoked by Charlie, who advises Astrid to draw out the divorce for a year or more, as he believes that Michael will come back to her given enough time.
  • Gossip Evolution: The first book shows how Eleanor knows Nick has a new girlfriend, Rachel. Celine Lim, who knew Nick from their country club back home in Singapore, takes a photo of Nick who happens to be with Rachel in New York and tells about Rachel being American-born-Chinese to her sister, Charlotte, who calls her friend Daphne, who texts to her friends including Carmen, whose cousin, Amelia, went to Oxford with Nick, who IMs Justina, whose office is across the office of his friend, Roderick, who skypes his girlfriend, Lauren who vacations with her aunt Patsy who calls Jacqueline Ling (a close friend of Nick's family) who has a direct line to Cassandra Shang (Nick's gossip queen second cousin), since she happens to be at Cassandra's family's estate, who gossips to Victoria Young (Nick's aunt) about how Rachel comes from a wealthy Taiwanese family, that is heard by Moses who tells his sister, Rebecca who tells her best friend's mother-in-law, Daisy (one of Eleanor's closest friends) who finally tells Eleanor about it during their bible study.
  • It Seemed Trivial:
    • The shock and drama that ensues when Rachel arrives to Nick's grandmother's house could have been dampened significantly if it weren't for the fact that Nick didn't think it was important to tell Rachel that his family is loaded and very snobbish about it, despite being told by Astrid and Colin that it is very important.
    • This trope gets Deconstructed very quickly when the first major blow to their relationship that Rachel cites is the fact that he didn't prepare her for his family.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Charlie, Astrid's ex-fiancé. He never fell out of love with Astrid, but does his damndest to get her and Michael back together.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Francesca is the ringleader of Rachel's tormentors (she's the one who sets up the fish 'prank'), with some encouragement from Eleanor. Toward the end of the book, Francesca's grandfather wakes up from his coma, takes control of the family fortune, and cuts her and her parents off with the threat of disinheritance if they don't make the money they spent back.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Nick's childhood, where his mother intentionally left him alone with his grandmother so he can be deemed the "favorite". As an adult in the U.S., he intentionally hides his status from others around him; doesn't help that he also seems to be one of the few level-headed and kind members of his family.
  • Lots of Luggage: Peik Lin, when she packs with a pair of suitcases and a carry-on valise for only one night to accompany Rachel finding her supposed biological father in China.
    Rachel: You do realize that we're going to be there for one night? You look like you've packed enough for a monthlong safari.
    Peik Lin: Oh please, a girl's gotta have options.
  • Makeover Fairy: Patric, Peik Lin's stylist. She makes an emergency call to him to get Rachel ready for the wedding.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Rachel assumed to be of the Taipei Plastics Chus. She is (Mainland) Chinese.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Rachel arrives in Singapore completely unprepared for the scrutiny and abuse she will face among the obscenely wealthy. She (rightly) blames Nick for throwing her to the lions.
  • Poor Judge of Character: Eleanor considers Rachel to be a selfish, slutty, gold digger and Francesca Shaw and Amanda to be more suitable girls. However, Rachel proves to be a very humble and well-mannered professor, while Amanda and Francesca had a threesome with Nick when they were all teenagers. After her miserly grandfather wakes up from his coma and starts taking back the family fortune, Francesca proves to be a disgusting gold digger in her own right who yells at her parents for not pulling the plug on the old man when they could, starts an affair with a very wealthy married man, and later marries a very wealthy Iranian in London.
  • Primal Scene: Kitty and Bernard Tai tumble out of a closet in the middle of the act, during a tea ceremony during Araminta's wedding week.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
    • Used to resolve the situation in the prologue. When the racist manager of the Calthorpe hotel won't give the family the suite they reserve, Felicity Leong calls her husband and they decide to buy the hotel and fire the manager.
    • Also doubles as Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!, as Felicity's husband, Harry, and the hotel's owner just golfed together a month before.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Nick's family is not just wealthy, they're "the one percent of the one percent." They're "richer than God." Nick intentionally refrains from mentioning his status in order to have an easier time making true friends, enjoys being so Old Money rich that lesser wealthy people don't recognize him, but also fails to recognize how his wealth can affect his romance-family dynamics.
  • Serious Business: Apparently food is taken seriously by the Singaporeans, so serious that they can argue for hours which place serves the best for one particular dish. Even Araminta says arguing about it is the national pastime and the first book even ends with Nick and Peik Lin arguing which place has the best satay.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Averted For Laughs with Eddie, whose cheap-looking (as deemed by his wife Fiona) tuxedo doesn't fit due to him having gained weight since he placed the order. Played straight with Nick, who is in great shape and looks fantastic no matter what he wears.
  • Stealing the Credit: Eddie, for Fiona's choice of dress:
    Before: Eddie: "That dress! You look like you're in mourning!" "How can you look like death warmed over when the rest of us look so good?"
    Russell Wing: "Fiona, you look stunning in that dress! Isn't it Raf Simons for Jil Sander, from next season? How in the world did you get your hands on it?"
    After: Eddie: "Oh, I always make sure my wife has the very best, Russell."
  • Uptown Girl:
    • Astrid to Michael, though being an "Armed Forces Elite Commando who was a National Merit Scholar and a Caltech trained computer system specialist", her parents decided he was alright.
    • Nick is a male version, to Rachel.

    China Rich Girlfriend 
  • Auction: The first chapter starts with this, for a scroll that is eventually sold to Kitty for almost two hundred million dollars.
  • Badass Boast: Astrid gives one to Michael, while smiling calmly, when he threatens to go to the papers about Astrid's affair after having a fight.
    “Michael, don’t you know by now that my grandmother and Uncle Alfred are the largest private shareholders of Singapore Press Holdings? We’re not going to be in the papers. We’re never going to be in the papers.”
  • Benevolent Boss: Kitty is actually seen as a kind mistress by her home's retinue of maids. When given advice on how to climb the social ladder, she's told to keep up the good work in this regard.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Colette, she starts all nice and generous but little by little her spoiled, controlling, narcissistic nature comes out.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The Heron Wealth Report, the list of China's wealthiest people, is based on the real life Hurun Wealth Report.
    • Peik Lin's father's company, the Near West Organization, is based on the real life Singaporean property development company, the Far East Organization.
  • Control Freak: Colette, practically the way she enters her home or the private jets of her parents require a strict, elaborate ritual, she even does this to her guests where she'd exclaim for them to stop and smell the good chi in the air (which Nick privately discerns as Febreeze) and she even bosses her mother on where to relax.
    • Colette's parents are worse, with her father calling her his prized possession and punishing her for not getting engaged to the man he picked out for her and her mother guilts her about not settling down to give her lots of grandsons.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The plot kicks off because one of Eddie's customers Bao Shaoyen's son had gotten into a car accident and Eddie's aunt quickly learns that Carlton is the splitting image of Rachel.
  • Cool Car:
    • Michael's car, which happens to be the Ferris Bueller car.
    • Carlton makes a living off importing cool cars and selling them to his friends.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Michael, who has taken a level in jerkass, begins changing in personality, emotionally and verbally abuses his wife and son, and locked Cassian in a closet for four hours.
    • Rachel's mother, Kerry, was in an abusive marriage. With the help of Rachel's biological father, she fled to America and changed their names when she realized her equally abusive in-laws were plotting to poison baby Rachel.
  • Dynamic Entry: Eleanor crashes Rachel and Nick's wedding rehearsal in a helicopter, the wind from which destroys pretty much everything.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Averted. Nick refuses to forgive his mother and grandmother due to their roles of how they treated Rachel.
    • Played with in regards to Rachel and Colette. While Rachel was willing to forgive Colette for her alleged role with her assistant poisoning Rachel, Nick isn't. But when Colette begins to demean and insult Rachel, Rachel has enough and calls her out.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Michael, from a loving middle-class husband who doesn't really care about appearances that much, to an appearance-obsessed, abusive billionaire jerk.
  • Fashion Show: Colette with her celebrity best friend host a charity fashion show at her house that's promised with all the latest and chicest collections from all top European fashion houses, only to find out while they are from the top designers, they are all the collections that are specifically designed for the Chinese market (i.e. the tackier designs), causing her to end the whole thing mid-show.
  • Foreshadowing: A few important clues lead up to The Reveal at the end that Kitty is The Mistress of Jack Bing:
    • Carol Tai has no idea how Bernard can afford to buy The Palace of Eighteen Perfections, since she has directed the family office to restrict his access to the principal of his inherited billions.
    • Corinna Ko-Tung wonders why the Palace isn't displayed in Kitty and Bernard's Hong Kong penthouse.
    • Nick thinks he recognizes the Palace hanging in the Bings' private museum.
    • This is reinforced later at Colette's fashion show, where a couple that had bid aggressively for the Palace is spotted sobbing over one of the works in the museum.
    • Jack makes an unannounced trip to Los Angeles, Kitty and Bernard's main residence, which bewilders Colette.
    • An unidentified mainland billionaire working through a shell corporation buys a highly coveted Singapore mansion for double Michael's best offer. The buyer is later revealed to be Jack, who is gifting it to Kitty.
  • Generation Xerox: Rachel isn't the only person who has an experience in dating a rich guy whose parents disapprove of her, as her mom actually also had one.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Charlie has been lying to Astrid that he is Happily Married to Isabel and that he was able to patch things during their second honeymoon.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bernard Tai. From a Rich Bastard billionaire playboy who lives a very wild lifestyle to a well-mannered, concerned father who's become a Bourgeois Bohemian living in more modest surroundings, due to a mix-up on his plastic surgery to make himself look like Christian Bale.
  • Hidden Depths: Colette may seem like a typical spoiled rich socialite, but she doesn't want to marry young, as she actually wants to accomplish her goals before she gets married, and she thinks all of her education she got will be useless if she marries so early.
  • Hypochondria:
    • Lai Di Bing, Colette's mother. She flies across the world seeing doctors because of this and she can be seen sanitizing her hands right after shaking someone's hand.
    • Colette uses this to trick her mom (who claims to have spinal phimosis) into going to Paris, in order to allow her and her friends to use her mom's plane to go on a shopping spree there, by claiming that it has the world's best foot doctors.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When meeting Isabel, Charlie's wife, for the first time, Astrid innocently mentions that she and Charlie (conveniently not mentioning that her cousin was also with them) recently went on a road trip in California. Isabel, already having marital problems with Charlie (though Astrid was unaware of that), assumed the worst.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: In the sequel, Colette meets Rachel in order to defend herself for what happened to Rachel at the resort she went with Peik Lin, as Colette's assistant turned out to be the culprit, allegedly acting on her own. She asks Rachel to talk to Carlton, as he never wants to see her again because of it, but Rachel refuses because she thinks he needs more time before he can talk to anyone. It all ends up as a misunderstanding for Colette, as she rants about Rachel being after her new family's wealth and ungrateful for all she's done to her and Nick, with Rachel later stands up to her with a hard-hitting speech about her. Someone posts a video of their meeting into social media and it goes viral, which causes Colette (who gets financially cut off by her father) to lose a multi-million dollar contract with a fashion company and Carlton to break up with her.
  • Insult Backfire: Colette sneers that Rachel will never be like them. Rachel fires back thanking her for the compliment because Rachel will never be like the latter.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: Bao Shaoyen may have acted condescending and rude about it, but she brings up a good point to her husband that inviting his illegitimate child to meet their family and friends can bring about a scandal, ruin his political career and also threaten their son Carlton's position on inheriting his father's money.
  • The Makeover: Kitty is given one by Corinna as part of her social-climbing agenda, with major changes to her looks, wardrobe, travel destination, and lifestyle that are more sophisticated.
  • Mama Bear: Kitty Pong shows this when she, encouraged by Corinne, has enough of the lifestyle that Bernard was pushing on their young daughter which involves more focus on teaching her four languages and "real-world immersion" and less on playtime and upper-class pursuits known to children in their society and for separating their daughter from having a relationship to his now-widowed mother. Kitty "kidnaps" the girl and takes her to Singapore where the book ends with a huge custody battle but Kitty beams at both her painting being hung up and her view of of Carol Tai playing with the girl on the swing.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed with Isabel, Charlie's wife. After he had broke up with Astrid and was depressed, he met Isabel who was wild, uninhibited and carefree. But her unpredictability and maniac behaviour (suspected to be borderline personality disorder) caused her to sleep with another man and become pregnant while she was dating Charlie. And during their marriage, her spontaneous changes in personality and continued cheating led to their separation.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Astrid is accused of cheating by Michael after he spied on Astrid's phone calls and emails with Charlie.
  • Never My Fault: Eleanor holds Rachel responsible for the two-year rift between her and Nick, but her meddling and her controlling tendencies (along with the machinations of her mother in law and Nick's old girlfriends) pretty much got Nick fed up with their behavior.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Eddie. When he meets Bao Shaoyen, he hands her off to Eleanor and her friends because he doesn't want to deal with her. Bao Shaoyen shows Eleanor a picture of her son Carlton, setting off a chain of events that leads to Rachel finding out about her father and Eleanor approving the match.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Pan Ting Ting, Colette's celebrity best friend, dubbed as "the Jennifer Lawrence of China", is obviously based on the real-life Chinese superstar, Fan Bingbing.
    • Interestingly, Fan Bingbing was directly named in the first book.
    • Hong Kong's "second richest man", Ming Ka-Ching, is obviously named after the real-life Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Shang Su Yi, brokenhearted when Nick's father moved to Australia, decided to leave her inheritance to Nick.
  • Rags to Riches:
    • Kitty in China Rich Girlfriend, from a minor soap opera star to wife of the billionaire Bernard Tai.
    • The sequel also has Michael, whose startup becomes very successful and makes him a billionaire.
    • Francesca. It's more of Riches to Rags to Riches, though, as she got cut off by her grandfather for her and her family's free spending of his money, which leads her to an affair with a wealthy married man, but he ends up staying with his wife. She finally gets rich again by marrying an Iranian Jew with half a billion dollars.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense:
    • Colette. She has no idea that a credit card can be rejected, when she tries to pay with her Titanium credit card, thanks to her father who freezes all of her accounts, due to her refusing Richie's extravagant marriage proposal in Paris that her father has set up.
    Colette: I don't understand. How can a credit card can ever be rejected? It's not like it's a kidney!
    • Kitty, after marrying Bernard.
  • Sex with the Ex: Averted by Astrid, although Michael accuses her of this.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: Carlton and Colette are quick to say that they are not boyfriend and girlfriend despite being Friends with Benefits. However, there are many who could tell that they did have genuine feelings for each other.
  • Shout-Out: When Eddie realizes at the Stratosphere Church that he knows "Katherine Tai".
    Eddie: Hello, Kitty.
  • Social Climber:
    • Kitty in the sequel, she tries so hard to belong in Hong Kong's high society in many attempts, such as buying a 195 million dollar scroll at an auction, with a grand entrance, but has a very hard time every time she does it due to her being a new moneyed Mainland Chinese who was a soap opera star and a porn star before that, and especially due to breaking up with Alistair, whose mother is one of the blue-blooded Youngs.
    • Corinna Ko-Tung, who comes from Hong Kong Old Money, helps every social-climbing new-moneyed Mainland Chinese to get into Hong Kong's high society, including Kitty.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Charlie, toward Astrid. However, considering they were once engaged, not surprising.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Rachel's tea was tainted with Tarquinomid, a dangerous drug that nearly caused the former's kidneys and other organs to shut down.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rachel gives an epic one to Colette after the latter misunderstands Rachel choosing not to speak to Carlton about marrying Colette and admitting Rachel felt sorry for Colette and started yelling abuse at Rachel. When Rachel finally had enough, she tells the latter off.
    Rachel: You know, this is beyond absurd. For a while there I actually felt bad for you, even though I was violently ill for a week because of your actions. But now I have nothing but pity for you. You're right, I will never be like you—thanks so much for the compliment! You're nothing more than a spoiled, entitled little shit. And unlike you, I'm proud of my roots—I'm not talking about my birth father, I'm talking about the honest, hardworking mother who raised me, and the amazing family that supported her. We didn't make some crazy fortune overnight, and we won't ever need to hire some fancy butler to teach us manners. You don't live in the real world, you never have, so I'm not even going to try arguing with you — it's way below my pay grade to bother. You sit in your perfect little eco-luxury bubble, while your father's companies are the biggest polluters in China. You may have all the money in the world but you are the most morally impoverished child I've ever met! Grow up, Colette, and get a life!"
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Since the acquisition of his start-up and subsequent success, Michael has turned into an elitist snob and all-around terrible person who blames others for his shortcomings.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Jacqueline Ling meets Nick on the yacht owned by her Norwegian billionaire partner in New York.
  • Wrong Guy First: Actually a case of Right Guy First. Astrid's ex-fiancé Charlie once again becomes a viable option as Michael devolves into a jerk.

    Rich People Problems 
  • All for Nothing: Everyone's efforts (especially Eddie's) to suck up to Su Yi in her last couple of weeks. She was never going to change her will on her death bed over something as petty as who took a plane and who did not — she did not even change it over six years after all the scandals. Turns out the lion's share went to her reportedly-disinherited son Philip and absent goddaughter Jacqueline.
  • Always Someone Better: Kitty always feels lost to Colette since her marriage to Colette's father, Jack Bing, as Colette seems to always outdo her in everything, such as Jack's attention, Colette's marriage to a wealthy British lord, and a one of a kind couture gown. So she secretly invests in the efforts to convert Tyersall Park into a museum, just to spite Jack from buying it for Colette. She also consoles herself with the fact that she gave Jack a son, meaning that in the long run, he'll pay less attention to Colette.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Su Yi's head of security inherits a pistol that Su Yi once carried herself.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Eddie for the first half of the book as he wants to keep Nick from reconciling with Shang Su Yi so he can inherit the fortune.
    • Jack Bing for the second half; he wants to buy Tyersall Park after Shang Su Yi dies and Nick is trying to outbid him to save the house.
  • Babies Ever After: Araminta and Colin have a son after years of struggling and a miscarriage. Rachel reveals to Nick that she's pregnant, and they joke about not telling Eleanor until the child is 21.
  • Blue Blood: Colette gets married to the son of a wealthy British Duke and a wealthy blue-blooded French mother, Lord Lucien Plantagenet Montagu-Scott, Earl of Palliser, making her Countess of Palliser.
  • Break the Haughty: Colette gets electrocuted at one of her self-indulgent fundraisers because she had insisted on recreating the 1970s theme down to the tee, including the lighting. Said lighting had short-circuited while she was giving a speech and she would have been fine, if it weren't for the fact that her couture dress was decorated with gold disks. Kitty says that she would be in rehab for quite some time before she could return.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Colette's gold-laced Giambattista Valli wedding gown. Kitty tears it up, Colette is unable to get it fixed in time for her wedding, and it seems to be the end of it, but Colette repurposes the dress for a gala, where her Control Freak insistance on theme-accurate pre-OSHA lighting gets her electrocuted while dressed in a very conductive metal.
  • Heir Club for Men: Since the Shangs are very traditional, so is the way they inherit their fortune, which only goes to the male heir, thus makes Shang Su Yi's supposedly massive fortune non-existent to inherit when she dies.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Oliver T'sien. His family came from old Singaporean money, but apparently they've been pretty much broke since the Barings Bank collapse, leaving them only with 10 million dollars that will ultimately go to his grandmother to pay her lifestyle and her house, which is still far from enough to pay his massive debt from loans he had to take in order to keep up appearances. His Shang-Young relatives have no idea about this.
  • Modest Royalty: Catherine's family, despite their princely status in Thailand.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Each servant at Tyersall Park inherits at least $50,000 upon Su Yi's death. Her highest-ranking servants receive six- or seven-figure sums of cash and some special gifts as well.
  • Pair the Spares:
    • Carlton and Scheherazade Shang, one of Nick's many cousins. Their nascent romance becomes a subplot beginning at Su Yi's funeral.
    • Peik Lin and Alastair are shown getting married at the end of the book and we haven't even seen them date.note 
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Su Yi's goddaughter, Jacqueline Ling, gets the lion's share of Su Yi's liquid assets: 1 million shares in Ling Holdings, currently trading at $145 each. This effectively leaves Su Yi's children without any liquid funds to maintain her estate.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Averted. The code to enter Prince Jirasit's vault—found on the backing of one of the pearl earrings that Su Yi gives to Rachel—is simply five random numbers.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Surprisingly, Su Yi and Nick's grandfather, James Young. Su Yi initially didn't want to marry him and made his life hell for the first years, eventually fleeing to Thailand and starting an affair with the (now married) Thai prince she had fallen in love with during the war. After she got pregnant with Nick's Aunt Catherine, however, she realized she couldn't stay in Thailand as her lover's mistress and returned to Singapore, begging for James to take her back. James, surprisingly, did, forgiving her and treating Catherine as his own (to the point that she was his favorite out of all his children), and the two fell in love afterwards.
  • Personal Effects Reveal:
    • Nick, who has inherited Su Yi's trove of personal documents and photos, finds a bundle of letters explaining how instrumental she was in the war effort in southeast Asia.
    • Most of the Young siblings didn't know about Su Yi's 300-acre estate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, until learning that Catherine and her family will inherit it.
  • Royalties Heir: Su Yi's gardener is bequeathed the rights and royalties to the orchid hybrids they developed together.
  • Siblings Share the Throne: All of Su Yi's children and two of her grandsons get a share of Tyersall Park.
  • Spiteful Will: Su Yi's will is not entirely benevolent.
    • Victoria inherits a painting that she never liked, just so she can sell it and buy an English townhouse she's been coveting.
    • Eleanor inherits a box of soap, which makes her burst out laughing.
    • While Nick and Alistair inherit 10 percent of Tyersall Park each, Eddie gets only a pair of cuff links.
    • Astrid's brother Alexander gets Su Yi's 80-acre estate in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, despite having been disowned by Felicity and Harry, who regards this move as a "slap to his face."
  • Subordinate Excuse:
    • Eleanor claims that Captain Vikram has made a fortune on her investment tips. If she's right, the only reason he is still working for Su Yi (or at all, considering what sum Eleanor might consider a fortune) is that he swore a Gurkha's oath to his employer.
    • Also applies to Ah Ling. After Su Yi's death, she is a multimillionaire, but doesn't retire due to her status as an amah (devoted to a full life of service).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Fiona threatened Eddie with divorce and refusal to see the kids if he didn't go to therapy about his issues since Su Yi's death. He becomes a better person because of it as he realizes how far he's fallen.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: In-Universe: How Nick feels about Singapore, particularly since his favorite restaurant has been closed down and sold to make way for new Tory Burch boutique, which leads him to attempting everything he could to save Tyersall Park from being sold, including by making it a historical site. He succeeds in converting it into a museum and hotel, along with sustainable housing for artists and middle-income families.
  • White Sheep: Astrid's brother Alexander Leong was considered the Black Sheep by her parents (though he has more favor with his maternal grandmother) and was disowned after marrying a Malaysian woman. The novel shows him living peacefully in Brentwood with his pediatrician wife Salimah and their children and shows a great awareness of the faults of his parents and their society, as they are image-obsessed, a bit racist, provincial minded, and insecure of the success of the Self-Made Man. The main person from his immediate family he interacts with is Astrid. He receives an Unexpected Inheritance from Su Yi's will in the form of her estate in Malaysia.
  • Woman Scorned: Isabel, Charlie's ex-wife, shows up in Singapore to destroy Astrid's reputation, due to Astrid's affair with Charlie that caused their separation.