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Sex and Vanity

(10 customer reviews)


by Kevin Kwan



**”Kevin Kwan’s new book is his most decadent yet.” —Entertainment Weekly

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fiancé of her family’s dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.**


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About this book

328 Pages
6 - 7 Hours to read
89k Total words



**”Kevin Kwan’s new book is his most decadent yet.” —Entertainment Weekly

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fiancé of her family’s dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.**

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

Additional information


Hardcover, Paperback

10 reviews for Sex and Vanity

  1. Jodi Henley

    I thought it was just me. I’m glad it wasn’t. I didn’t connect with the characters and had to keep re-reading to see if I missed anything. It also didn’t have those really outrageous footnotes that I really liked in his first trilogy. These footnotes are serious (which totally threw me off). I did like the interactions between Lucie and George–at first. Then I realized George was into every virtue-signaling virtue ever and had to stop. I just can’t. Next time I’m going to wait until the book is out and read the reviews before I buy. Very sad. I was really looking forward to this.

  2. marcela valdez lopez

    Great book, once again Kevin Kwan creates a world, couldn’t stop reading, the kind of book that have the right mix.

  3. David Carney

    I was disappointed with this book. I loved the “Crazy Rich Asians” books and was excited to read this but I felt let down. First of all, the great humor found in the previous books was lacking here. I actually laughed out loud reading them but not so in Sex and Vanity. Second, the exaggerated excesses were just over the top. It got to the point that I was tired of reading about them-for example, the many multi-million dollar excesses presented in the wedding story. I was like “oh God, not another one”…I just got bored with them. That having been said, it was well written and entertaining, but he is not on his game with this book. I hope that his next effort(s) more emulate the writing of the original trilogy.

  4. Elizabeth Gilson

    Loved his prior books but the characters in this book were cringeworthy and unbelievable. It’s incomprehensible that Lucie is an intelligent and provocative artist while being a prude (to earn the respect of people she seems to not respect?) and totally lacking a backbone to the men in her life. Disappointing as the name-droppy superficial aspects of the book had no solid frame to lay upon.

  5. J. Miles

    Not only is this writer no E. M. Forster, he’s no Jacqueline Susann. He stole a plot, larded it with much current “in the know” name-dropping, and will no doubt make a lot of money that will put him in a position to afford the objects he describes. Ick.

  6. Christina DeLago

    For me this book just did not work. I see his point of trying to make all the characters and descriptions so gaudy and awful that it’s come out on the other side– a fun satire. But from the start the characters and undeveloped and you got no one to root for, unlike in the Crazy Rich Asians series. The book’s first half in Capri is extremely hard to get through with all the run on descriptions, name and labe drops, and reminders that these people are in fact rich (did you know that?). Like you don’t even remember the plot, it’s kind of dizzying. I was also shocked at how off the mark Kevin Kwan wad with trying to decipher American racism and the plights of being mixed race. It wasn’t deep and serious nor was it comedic and dark. It was just bad.

  7. NB

    I absolutely loved Kevin Kwan’s other books, so I was very excited when I learned that Sex and Vanity was being released. So excited that I bought it in advance of the release date. What a disappointment. The beginning of the book is so slow, and the characters are boring. I couldn’t do it. I could not read this book in its entirety. Worse, I couldn’t even get through the first 10% of the book, it was that bad. It’s rare that I don’t complete a book, even if I don’t necessarily like it, but I just couldn’t continue to read this book.

  8. EdUK8

    Thought this would be a “can’t miss” choice, but sadly no. The reader can only be enthralled so long with breathlessly copious descriptions of Capri and the wedding to end all fantabulous weddings without longing for a plot of some kind. You won’t find one here. If you can make yourself care about silly Lucie and stern Charlotte and a six-pack in a white Speedo, I tip my hat to you. For someone who purports to be shining a light on conspicuously over-the-top consumerism and economic inequality, our Kevin himself sounds rather suspiciously entranced with haute couture, Italian footwear, esoteric gastronomy, gigantic gemstones, and well-appointed yachts. Reread Crazy Rich Asians—skip this tedious slog.

  9. Amazon Customer

    I loved 80% of the book but was sorely disappointed at the ending. As a fan of Kwan’s previous work, I expected a fun and fabulous read with a delicious (albeit predictable) romance to tie it all together. I was thoroughly enjoying the elaborate wedding, the sumptuous details, and cast of characters. As an Asian American I enjoyed the diversity of people portrayed and appreciated the look into internalized prejudices and subtle hypocrisies. I earnestly wanted to love this book but I found the choices the protagonist Lucie makes towards the end utterly baffling and unforgivable. The wrap up does little to redeem her and is rather rushed and unsatisfying.*Spoiler Alert*I did not find Lucie terribly compelling as a lead to begin with, but I was fine with that. This is a romcom not a character study. She is a privileged rich girl who likes art and has a sprinkle of tragic past – basic but fine. But when she chose to behave so cruelly and viciously to Rosemary, who is one of the more endearing characters and mother of the main love interest George, I was completely turned off. Then in just 20 pages, she finally sees how horrible she’d been, everyone completely forgives her, she realizes her love for a man she barely knows, and then they get together offscreen and have an epilogue in capri… I felt like I missed a huge chunk of the book! There is no real redemption for Lucie, and how does George, who loves his mother, easily forgive Lucie for such petty and cruel actions. I know I didn’t! There wasn’t even a scene of them finally coming together to complete the romance. In what romcom does the protagonist finally realize his/her love and then instead of running to whatever airport/wedding/home/etc to confess, the story just ends there and we get a tagline that they got together. How completely unsatisfying! I really hope Kwan’s next book is better. I want to fully support diverse authors, but I won’t make the mistake of pre-ordering again.

  10. katie st. claire

    I don’t like to leave negative reviews, but this book has proven to be very disappointing! As I enjoyed all three of the “Crazy Rich Asians” series, I thought this would be an enjoyable read. I find many of the characters to be boring & it is tedious how the author gives a description of everyone’s educational background, even down to pre-school or kindergarten! Also, the main character, who seems to dislike pretentious people, then gets engaged to one of the most pretentious characters! I have put my Kindle down & started reading another book, hoping the storyline of this will get better when I return to it. Same your money & try to find it at a library.

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