INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK “A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp . . . Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read—but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here." — Camille Perri, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Recommended by New York Times Book Review • Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • USA Today • Time • Cosmopolitan • Today show • Harper’s Bazaar • Vogue • Good Housekeeping • Parade • New York Post • Town & Country • GMA.com • Buzzfeed • Goodreads • Oprah Daily • Popsugar • Bustle • theSkimm • The Millions • and more! For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise—an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners. Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake. Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point. Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences. Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life. "If you appreciate a good caper, you’ll want to pick up Kirstin Chen’s novel . . . Fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America." — TIME “Propulsive and captivating . . . A provocative story of fashion, friendship, and fakes (in more ways than one).” — VOGUE
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A woman’s seemingly ideal life wobbles off course in Kristin Chen’s wildly entertaining story of crime, fashion, and friendship. Attorney Ava Wong did everything right: she aced her career, married a surgeon, and gave birth to a beautiful son. But when her husband abruptly cancels her credit cards while she’s in China visiting family (worst breakup notice ever), the cracks begin to show. That’s when Ava’s old college roommate Winnie shows up asking for a favor, embroiling Chen’s heroine in a dangerous international counterfeit-handbag scheme. Told from the women’s opposing perspectives, Chen’s zippy novel challenges you to decide who’s telling the truth. It’s a fast, glittery, and fun summer read.
Chen (Bury What We Cannot Take) spins a clever tale offering two sides of a story involving a complicated friendship and knockoff handbags. When Ava Wong's former Stanford roommate Winnie Fang reenters her hectic San Francisco life, 20 years after graduation, Ava is the frazzled mother of a tantrum-prone two-year-old, married to a prominent surgeon, and on hiatus from a tax law career she can't stand. Winnie, on the other hand, has gone from nerd to gorgeous and she's clearly rich. Ava, whose marriage is on the rocks, is dazzled by her friend's physical and financial makeover, then finds out it's all courtesy of a luxury handbag counterfeit scheme. While Ava is on an impulsive trip visiting family in Hong Kong, her husband cancels her credit and debit cards leading Ava to reluctantly work with Winnie, whose goods come from China. The novel's second half picks up with Winnie's point of view, in which Ava is characterized as scheming and manipulative, making canny moves such as leaving a cellphone at a friend's house to secure an alibi while trafficking contraband. Readers face a choice: whose perception is real and whose is counterfeit? The story is further deepened by the author's sharp, convincing details of the fashion industry and its shadow market, which lends this tale of fakes the tang of authenticity. Readers will be left guessing at the truth until the last page.
Fun read with interesting characters
Winnie and Ava are friends in college and then find themselves in business together with a bit of manipulation. Fun read
It was fine
I felt like I was waiting for the good part the entire time…I also didn’t like that some chapters were over 20 pages. The eluding to the detective didn’t add much to me and the side/supporting stories weren’t completely relevant.
Mystery thriller is EXACTLY what this book is! You just have to read it for yourself and you’ll see why. But overall, AMAZING