I’m so glad I decided to pick this one up because it was a mix of a J Lo rom-com, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians opulence, and Weekend at Bernie’s. It definitely left me with a smile on my face and also missing my family a little bit.
Here’s more about Dial A for Aunties
A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.
1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!
When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.
But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?
Perhaps it’s my personality and why I like reading darker novels that I really fell in love with this one. Like I said, this book was the opulence of Crazy Rich Asians crossed with a very witty rom-com (I like JLo, but insert your favorites here), and Weekend at Bernie’s. If you’re not aware of Weekend at Bernie’s, it’s basically a movie where this billionaire is murdered and these two subordinates from his company try and cover it up. That’s pretty similar to what happened here with a few major changes.
The story started off a bit slow, but only because you’re establishing what the book is going to be about. The characters are especially important in this story, so they needed an introduction and context before they get introduced. There’s a little bit of time jumping as Meddie reflects back on her relationship with Nathan. For the most of it, I thought this would be a second-chance romance, but the scenarios Meddie and her family get caught in took more precedent than the romantic elements of the story.
This book made me laugh so much. It wasn’t just Meddie and her family trying to hide a dead body in a super fancy hotel on the weekend of a very important wedding, but it’s also the rapport between Meddie and her aunties. A lot of it was relatable with my own relatives who try and tell you how they know better than you. But I think what I absolutely loved is that their relationship is stronger than anything else. Meddie and these four women that made up her mother and aunts were probably the strongest group of women I’ve ever seen. They took the situation they found themselves in and made it work for them despite knowing they were committing some pretty big felonies.
And the shenanigans were supremely funny. Everything from carting the dead body around the hotel to the stolen jewelry and gifts to even the surprising ending twist were all the perfect concoction for this story to run and entertain the pants off of you. Like a rom-com, the scenarios kept getting bigger and bigger. It almost felt like there wasn’t a moment to breathe from the moment they arrived at the wedding site to the final vows being uttered from the bride.
I’ll admit, you do have to suspend disbelief a lot in this story. I was so surprised that Meddie’s first instinct wasn’t to call someone about the accident. And then the shenanigans at the hotel especially around her ex, Nathan, were hard to believe would really happen. However, it didn’t matter to me. I know the book is flawed, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment. I think it’s because I needed a good laugh and this book was delivering it despite not being 100% believable.
I think the one thing I wished it did more of was discuss Nathan and Meddie’s relationship. It felt like the entire time, Nathan was trying to get a hold of Meddie so they can discuss the future of their life together. I wished that was brought up more and discussed on the page. Perhaps a hilarious scene of them at dinner with her aunties struggling to hold up the body in the background? LOL.
I will say what I appreciated the most about this story is the inclusion of Indonesian-Chinese culture. I personally don’t know much about this world, so I appreciate the author to include it and bring their own culture to the story. It was a lovely touch.
Overall, it was such a fun read that will leave you laughing. It’s great for days when you’re not feeling so great and want to read someone else’s drama. Also, the dead body isn’t too gruesome, so you won’t spend too much time with the squeamish.
Thanks to Berkley for a gifted copy of this book. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.