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The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, au The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing. When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost.


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The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, au The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing. When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost.

30 review for Heiress Apparently

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    New Month, New Tierlist BookTube Video is up - click the link to check out my August Reading Vlog! The Written Review Gemma Huang graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago and since then, she's moved to LA (from Illinois) to take a gap year of acting (much to her mother's disappointment and her father's worry). After a few "hard" (note - me being sarcastic) weeks of trying out for parts, she manages to land the lead role in a redo of M. Butterfly. She plays Sonia, who dre New Month, New Tierlist BookTube Video is up - click the link to check out my August Reading Vlog! The Written Review Gemma Huang graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago and since then, she's moved to LA (from Illinois) to take a gap year of acting (much to her mother's disappointment and her father's worry). After a few "hard" (note - me being sarcastic) weeks of trying out for parts, she manages to land the lead role in a redo of M. Butterfly. She plays Sonia, who dresses as a man (Song) to get a job with her ex-boyfriend. The script is awful but at least she gets to work with her dream director! She's whisked away to China to film BUT (and this is a big BUT), she hides it all from her parents. Her mother has expressly forbidden her from talking about what life was like for her parents in China. Gemma gets there and is immediately mistaken for Alyssa Chua - a wealthy socialite (19 yrs old). Turns out they're cousins and together they begin to unravel why Gemma's mom fled to America and has hidden their Chinese heritage. So. On paper this one worked really well. I loved the concept - it seemed like it was going to be a YA Crazy Rich Asians…except…it flopped for me. There were elements that worked (LOVED the inclusion of Chinese culture and how the MC had issues trying to fit in with her American life and her Chinese heritage...but it felt like everything was handed to her. She was in LA for like a week working "very hard" and then lands a major role. She gets one hot boy and then meets another hotter one. She expresses the slightest doubt (despite having no movie experience) and she gets script changes. She learns that she's rich and eventually gets money. I wanted to watch her struggle and try and do her best and fail before hitting it big. In addition, there were elements that just didn't feel very well thought out. If something is so serious that no one even talks about Tienanmen Square (and it's been erased from the history books) why is she constantly blabbing about it? Isn't she worried about consequences? In addition, her mom told her that she couldn't go to China and that she would have no idea what will happen if she does go. To me...it clearly sounds crazy-dangerous to run to China and just talk to everyone she sees about her mom and Tienanmen Square but Gemma just barrels through. It felt like she needed more societal awareness. Ultimately, there were elements that worked well but most of it just didn't work for me. I'm leaving off my rating on Goodreads cause I don't want people to be influenced by my interpretation. With thanks to Netgalley, Amulet Books and Diana Ma for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I think another 3 solid stars are coming up. The reason is obvious : I liked some parts but the entire concept and pacing didn’t work for me! Funny thing about this book: it’s advertised as American Royals meets Loveboat, Taipei and I wasn’t a big fan of both books as well. But I liked to read more about Eastern culture and traditions and the blurb attracted my attention so I gave it a go. I have to admit I loved Gemma Huang who is main protagonist, an aspiring, rising Chinese American movie star I think another 3 solid stars are coming up. The reason is obvious : I liked some parts but the entire concept and pacing didn’t work for me! Funny thing about this book: it’s advertised as American Royals meets Loveboat, Taipei and I wasn’t a big fan of both books as well. But I liked to read more about Eastern culture and traditions and the blurb attracted my attention so I gave it a go. I have to admit I loved Gemma Huang who is main protagonist, an aspiring, rising Chinese American movie star. After being selected to be cast of toothpaste commercial, she meets with Ken- a gorgeous future boyfriend- then she attends to the audition of M. Butterfly’s remake: they don’t choose her so she gets an offer to replace Constance Wu at Crazy Rich Asians! Okay, I lied, I just tested you to make sure you keep reading my review🙈🙈 Of course she gets the role and most of the scenes will take place in China which means there is a big conflict will occur: she has to go against her family’s first rule: “never set a foot in Beijing” As soon as her plane lands to Beijing, she finds out she’s so popular and she already has her devoted fans. How could this be happening to her? Then she finds her answer: she looks like celebrity societal Alyssa Chua’s identical twin. What a disappointment! I’m not gonna give many spoilers about the book but I want to summarize what I liked and what irritated me deeply. I enjoyed to learn more about the historical presentation about Chinese culture, a woman warrior’s history. I also loved the author’s approach to the sensitive issues like LGBTQ rights, racism. But pacing was so slow, Gemma’s self interrogation about her priorities of her life turned into repeating spiral and the progression and conclusion were so foreseeable. I still want to read more books of the author because the plot was interesting and cultural elements embellished the story’s structure perfectly. But so far that was not a right book for me! I wanted to read something more gripping and exciting. Special thanks to NetGalley and Abrams Kids/ Amulet Kids for sharing this ARC in exchange my honest review. blog instagram facebook twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    2.5 Stars rounded up to 3 Stars because 2 felt a bit on the low side. CW: (view spoiler)[Homophobia (challenged), forced outing, references to Tiananmen Square massacre (hide spoiler)] Well that was a light-hearted and entertaining YA story about family. Whilst this was totally formulaic it still had a certain charm to it. The story was cleverly woven around elements of Chinese history. It's a bit odd that the big reveal for the character is something we as Readers know up front. I don't think the 2.5 Stars rounded up to 3 Stars because 2 felt a bit on the low side. CW: (view spoiler)[Homophobia (challenged), forced outing, references to Tiananmen Square massacre (hide spoiler)] Well that was a light-hearted and entertaining YA story about family. Whilst this was totally formulaic it still had a certain charm to it. The story was cleverly woven around elements of Chinese history. It's a bit odd that the big reveal for the character is something we as Readers know up front. I don't think the author was going for dramatic irony, so it was just a bit ho-hum waiting for the main character to catch up with information we got in the title! There was a bit of female snark in there which resolves itself nicely. The romance was a bit forced, and in my opinion unnecessary, as the focus of this story was the family mystery and Gemma finding her voice as an actress. Just okay for me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Deity of Books)

    "This epic first installment in the Daughter of the Dynasty series is sure to appeal to fans of American Royals and Loveboat, Taipei." That's me. I am a huge fan of both of these but was not a huge fan of Heiress Apparently— apparently (Sorry, I had to do it). The main character is Gemma Huang, an aspiring Chinese American actress. One day, she goes to a casting for a toothpaste commercial where she meets her would-be boyfriend, Ken. He is also Chinese American and aspiring to be in the enterta "This epic first installment in the Daughter of the Dynasty series is sure to appeal to fans of American Royals and Loveboat, Taipei." That's me. I am a huge fan of both of these but was not a huge fan of Heiress Apparently— apparently (Sorry, I had to do it). The main character is Gemma Huang, an aspiring Chinese American actress. One day, she goes to a casting for a toothpaste commercial where she meets her would-be boyfriend, Ken. He is also Chinese American and aspiring to be in the entertainment industry. Another day, she goes to a casting for a remake M. Butterfly and she gets the lead role. The filming location is Beijing and her family's #1 rule is to never step foot in Beijing. As for the reason behind this rule, she doesn't know...yet. For her career, she decides to break her family's rule and goes to Beijing to start filming. When she lands in Beijing, she is met with a crowd of "her fans". Later, she finds out that she looks nearly identical to Alyssa Chua, a famous Chinese socialite, and she has no idea why. Something that I liked in this book was that I could somewhat relate to Gemma. I am Asian American as well. When I was younger, I dealt with the feelings of not being "Asian enough" or not being "American enough", just like Gemma. In the book, Gemma mentions that she would get asked the question, "Have you been to China?". This question reminded me of when I was younger and when I would get asked this question or similar questions. *mini rant* I hate this question and get pissed when people ask this. This question just brings back so many bad memories. I don't know why people ask this. Just because someone is of an ethnicity or a nationality does not mean that he/she has been there or was even born there. To answer the question: No, I haven't been to China and I'm not even Chinese. Sorry, back to the review. Another thing that I liked was the inclusion of China's history. In this book, the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Massacre, and Empress Wu Zetian were brought up and explained pretty well (in my opinion), but I may be wrong because I'm not much of a history person. Empress Wu Zetian is a person that is pertinent to the story. The book describes her as the only female ruler/regent of China, which is true, but she is also known as Emperor Wu Zetian. The last things I like (before we get into everything I didn't like) are the topics that were brought up, like racism, stereotypes, peoples' views, LGBTQ+ rights, etc... There is a Lesbian couple (love the diversity). This book is very predictable and boring. This took me forever to read. I even considered to DNF it. The synopsis of the book practically gives away the ending. The ending (for me) was cringy. “Its the not the Destination, It's the journey.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson Right? Well, the journey wasn't so great either. There isn't really much of a plot. Sometimes, Gemma is concerned about her acting career. One day, she is concerned about her family and finding her identity. Another day, she is just in her hotel room eating ice cream. I didn't like the use of Dramatic Irony. It started to get old and boring. I was just waiting for Gemma to finally figure it out or for someone to tell her. I didn't really care about the characters. They are so boring, annoying, and dramatic. If a book is this bad, probably the romance can save it, right? Well, with this book it didn't. The romance was so predictable and cringy. It was the classic "out with the old and in with the new". ARC received via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monte Price

    I'll edit in my full review closer to the actual publication date, but I will say that this was a fun read that should definitely be on your radar and perhaps even something to preorder. -- Shoutout to Amulet Books for providing me with an arc via Netgalley. The first twenty percent of this book I was enjoying myself, but not fully convinced that it was going to give me the vibes I had assumed I was going to get based off of the synopsis. I have to say that once they story was firmly in Beijing I w I'll edit in my full review closer to the actual publication date, but I will say that this was a fun read that should definitely be on your radar and perhaps even something to preorder. -- Shoutout to Amulet Books for providing me with an arc via Netgalley. The first twenty percent of this book I was enjoying myself, but not fully convinced that it was going to give me the vibes I had assumed I was going to get based off of the synopsis. I have to say that once they story was firmly in Beijing I was far more invested and the vibes that I had thought I was going to get started to really shine through the text. I appreciated Gemma’s connection to her parents back home, but also her desire to find out why it was that her mother never wanted to go to Beijing. I appreciated getting to see Gemma discovering more about her parents and all of the messy situations being in Beijing brought her. Even her dynamic with Eric was more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be based solely on their first interaction. The only real low point for me was how little the movie became after that first meeting with Eric. It started to feel like Gemma’s passion as an actress and that whole subplot was more a vehicle to execute this particular family reconnection story than something that was really important. Which might not even be the correct phrasing seeing as how important it was in shaping Gemma’s outlook in regards to her family life. Whatever the phrasing it did feel neglected for essentially the entire middle portion of the book only to come back into play late in the third act for a moment that didn’t quick click as believable even if it was for a character moment that felt earned. Overall I enjoyed the book, it delivered on all the things I thought I was being promised by the synopsis and what I enjoy in a contemporary read. I look forward to continuing on with the series and I appreciate how this first book managed to still tell a complete story while getting me invested enough in the characters to see where they go from here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    izzy

    I have figured it out. In all aspects but one, this book is thoroughly average. MC falls in instalove, immediately becomes inseparable with a long lost cousin, takes over a movie set as a green actress, lots of descriptions of luxury and designer things, so on and so forth, blah blah blah. Nothing I haven't read a dozen times before: enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. What distinguished this book is the representation and how it's handled. Now, I have said this before but I'm going to reiter I have figured it out. In all aspects but one, this book is thoroughly average. MC falls in instalove, immediately becomes inseparable with a long lost cousin, takes over a movie set as a green actress, lots of descriptions of luxury and designer things, so on and so forth, blah blah blah. Nothing I haven't read a dozen times before: enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. What distinguished this book is the representation and how it's handled. Now, I have said this before but I'm going to reiterate: trauma rep is the bare minimum. I understand that it's important but I personally avoid books whose representation is focused solely on the painful or traumatic elements of a marginalized identity. I honestly prefer joyful rep, the positive and uplifting parts of identity. And, when I can find it, balanced rep, that incorporates both to have a fully-realized depiction of a marginalized experience; rarely do books or media, I find, reach this balance effectively. This book does. And that's why I was so hesitant to slap a 3 on this and move on with my life. It's a perfect, beautiful balance of talking about the struggles of Asian actors and performers, appreciating Chinses culture and history, joking about the immigrant experience, discussing colorism and how being biracial affects identity, and just being... Asian. For all of the bad and the good. So yeah. I could never really rate badly a book that does representation this well. Asian girls deserve fluffy wish-fulfillment romcoms too, and this delivers on that premise. Not the most literary thing you'll ever read, but sweet and even important in its own right. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ how do i feel? who knows, not me! R&RTC

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I went into Heiress Apparently expecting a fun romp through Hollywood and Beijing with some royalty mixed in. What I got? A fun romp through Hollywood and Beijing with some royalty mixed in but also a brutal take down of how the film industry treats Asian actors and actresses, a shocking look at how certain historical events (such as the Tienanmen Square massacre) are portrayed in China as opposed to the rest of the world, so much cultural history and women's history, a look at China's views on I went into Heiress Apparently expecting a fun romp through Hollywood and Beijing with some royalty mixed in. What I got? A fun romp through Hollywood and Beijing with some royalty mixed in but also a brutal take down of how the film industry treats Asian actors and actresses, a shocking look at how certain historical events (such as the Tienanmen Square massacre) are portrayed in China as opposed to the rest of the world, so much cultural history and women's history, a look at China's views on LGBT individuals and rights. I tore through this book cheering every second of the way and can't wait for the sequel! For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!

  8. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: homophobia (which is challenged in the book) Heiress Apparently hit me when I was in the mood for a fun contemporary. And while I definitely think this book was entertaining and charming, but it also sheds light on the difficulties of representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Gemma wants to break into acting, despite her lack of parental support, and she deals with casting c (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: homophobia (which is challenged in the book) Heiress Apparently hit me when I was in the mood for a fun contemporary. And while I definitely think this book was entertaining and charming, but it also sheds light on the difficulties of representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Gemma wants to break into acting, despite her lack of parental support, and she deals with casting calls that type cast her - before she even steps in the room - and having to decide if she should take certain roles which may perpetuate stereotypes. It's a question that other actors do not have to consider. Throughout Heiress Apparently Gemma has to make the tough decisions of whether to speak up about the representation and whether she should just say nothing because of her big role. Representation can change someone's life. The validation and possibilities when we see a figure like us on the screens. But in cinematic history there's been plenty of misrepresentation, as well as problematic role models. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  9. 5 out of 5

    K.S. Marsden

    Gemma is an actress struggling to make the rent, when a new job whisks her away to Beijing, and she learns there's more to her family history than she realised. I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gemma Huang is a Chinese American who has never been to her parents' homeland of Beijing. They refuse to tell her anything about their lives before they came to America, and Gemma is banned from ever going to Beijing. Aside from the secrets, Gemma loves her parents and Gemma is an actress struggling to make the rent, when a new job whisks her away to Beijing, and she learns there's more to her family history than she realised. I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gemma Huang is a Chinese American who has never been to her parents' homeland of Beijing. They refuse to tell her anything about their lives before they came to America, and Gemma is banned from ever going to Beijing. Aside from the secrets, Gemma loves her parents and knows how lucky she is to have them. They are both intelligent, in well-paid jobs, and have provided a comfortable life for themselves. They love and support Gemma, even when she wants to postpone college so she can follow her dream of acting. Gemma goes to live in LA with her friends, and starts to date Ken, a handsome Asian actor she met when they both went for the same toothpaste commercial. After a few months of struggling to make the rent, everything is looking up when Gemma gets the leading role in the new M. Butterfly remake. I enjoyed this little book. The romance with Eric was very cute, and the plotlines had a comfortable predictability about them. You kinda knew what would happen, and just sit back and enjoy Gemma's story. I think the real strength of this book was the representation, with mostly people of colour, and LGBTQ characters and themes. I loved reading about Gemma's opinions on being a Chinese American, she's made to feel like she doesn't belong in either America or China, despite having a claim to both. There are many moments for Gemma to reflect upon, when people have been mildly racist without realising it, where they see her ethnicity before they see her. As an actress, she's passionate about her love of film, but she's resigned to knowing that white Hollywood rarely cast Asian actors. And when they do, they're just perpetuating stereotypes and what they want to believe is real. Gemma has her idols, women that have made it against the odds, and now it's her turn. I loved the exploration of LGBTQ in media and history. How it evolved in China, reflecting the way American media was manipulating peoples' ideas. Gemma identifies as straight, but there are gay and lesbian couples too. Whilst Gemma is in Beijing, and during shooting in male drag, she gets to experiment with gender roles. I'm not sure where the series is going to go next, as all the storylines came to a close, but I'm intrigued to find out.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Against her parent's wishes, Gemma elected to take a gap year to chase her dreams of an acting career. Her big break came via a starring role in a remake of M. Butterfly. The only problem was that filming would take place in Beijing, her very own forbidden city per her parents' orders. Mistaken identity brought her into contact with young Chinese socialite, who held the keys to Gemma's family secrets. This was different from what I expected, but in a good way, as it had a lot more substance than Against her parent's wishes, Gemma elected to take a gap year to chase her dreams of an acting career. Her big break came via a starring role in a remake of M. Butterfly. The only problem was that filming would take place in Beijing, her very own forbidden city per her parents' orders. Mistaken identity brought her into contact with young Chinese socialite, who held the keys to Gemma's family secrets. This was different from what I expected, but in a good way, as it had a lot more substance than I anticipated. Here are five things I really enjoyed as I read HEIRESS APPARENTLY: 1. Gemma was a great character. I was so excited to her, when she won her role, and I was really proud of the way she grew over the course of the story. She also had a great voice and view of things, and I enjoyed her narration. 2. Visiting Beijing was fantastic! Getting to China is a bucket list item for me (and really far out of reach), and therefore, I was delighted to take a trip there with Gemma. Ma helped me take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Beijing, and I really reveled in it. 3. The book had substance. I love a fun book, but I like there to be some depth too. I thought it was brilliant to use the making of the film as a way to challenge Asian stereotypes. Ma also worked in some of the issues faced by the people of China, as well as some of their history. 4. The romance was wonderful. I loved who Ma selected as Gemma's partner. He was deceptively sweet, and I thought he brought out the best in her. He encouraged her often and supported her, when she needed him most. 5. Loved the delicious family drama. I liked the movie stuff, seeing Beijing, and the meet cute, but the story really started picking up for me as it delved into Gemma's family's past. I was so curious to dig up those secrets and thought it all played out in a great way. Overall: A solid start to a new series I look forward to continuing. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  11. 5 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Enjoyable but I felt like it tackled too much and left a lot more questions unanswered than it could have. I actually enjoyed the romance aspect though, and the found family portion...although it felt that the parts that were lacking was the part I was most interested in—the history and the movie! Full RTC. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    This was super fun - kind of Princess Diaries meets Loveboat, Taipei meets a Mary Kate and Ashley movie. It's a light and fast paced story that does cover some weighty and serious topics. Gemma is a struggling actress who suddenly gets the chance to star in a remake of Madame Butterfly that's taping in Beijing. She says yes immediately, even though her family disapproves. They left China decades ago and have never returned. So this book had two plots: the movie plot, in which Gemma struggles with This was super fun - kind of Princess Diaries meets Loveboat, Taipei meets a Mary Kate and Ashley movie. It's a light and fast paced story that does cover some weighty and serious topics. Gemma is a struggling actress who suddenly gets the chance to star in a remake of Madame Butterfly that's taping in Beijing. She says yes immediately, even though her family disapproves. They left China decades ago and have never returned. So this book had two plots: the movie plot, in which Gemma struggles with some of the Asian stereotypes that she's asked to play out in the film, and the family plot, in which Gemma discovers her family history in China. The two weren't all that connected (view spoiler)[ except for the fact that publicity for the film gets her to her famous cousin (hide spoiler)] and maybe could have been two separate books. That, plus a romance and her family relationships, was a lot. The political history in the book, which mainly spanned the Cultural Revolution (in the 1960s and 70s) to the 1990s, when Gemma's parents left China, was really interesting, as were the author's insights about Asian stereotypes in popular culture. Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

  13. 5 out of 5

    anna ✩

    4 stars! This was highly entertaining, fun, past paced and very light hearted. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Heiress Apparently follows Gemma Huang on a journey that takes her from living in LA with 3 roommates in a 2 bedroom apartment to her getting the lead role in a movie shooting in Beijing to her finally finding out why her parents are always so mysterious of their past. This is a whirlwind from the start and it quickly 4 stars! This was highly entertaining, fun, past paced and very light hearted. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Heiress Apparently follows Gemma Huang on a journey that takes her from living in LA with 3 roommates in a 2 bedroom apartment to her getting the lead role in a movie shooting in Beijing to her finally finding out why her parents are always so mysterious of their past. This is a whirlwind from the start and it quickly becomes addictive. I believe going into this without knowing much about it is the best way to do it. Let yourself be surprised and let yourself try to assemble the pieces of this story. This is a fast paced entertaining read that will make you feel as if you're watching a happy film. There are some really incredible historical parts in this book that provide authenticity to the story and just overall allow for the reader to learn more about China as a country and its culture. It is a sweet read about love, betrayal, family secrets and hope. For anyone in need of a pick me up, this is definitely it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    hollie

    I'm struggling to rate this book because, on the one hand, the concept, the cultural representation is everything I love, but this book also was bogged down with so many stereotypes and poor pacing that it was almost too hard to get through. What did I like? - I liked Gemma overall. She was a relatable, fun character and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. - I liked learning some of the histories of Bejing that was woven into this story and I really liked the overall representation of t I'm struggling to rate this book because, on the one hand, the concept, the cultural representation is everything I love, but this book also was bogged down with so many stereotypes and poor pacing that it was almost too hard to get through. What did I like? - I liked Gemma overall. She was a relatable, fun character and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. - I liked learning some of the histories of Bejing that was woven into this story and I really liked the overall representation of the Eastern culture. - I think the way Diana went about exploring the other issues in this book was well done. I think the overall issue for me here was the pacing. I don't think I have read a contemporary book quite so slow in my entire life. I found a lot of the book bogged down with unnecessary filler chapters and I was skipping a lot of it and still found I didn't miss anything from the story. I also didn't care for the romance aspect at all, equally as much as I hated the Alyssa/Gemma thing. I just thought Alyssa would have spent more time explaining what happened between the families if she wanted to keep Gemma away more than she did. This part felt unrealistic to me. Overall, I enjoyed Diana's writing and I would read something from her again. However, this book disappointed me. I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley I stayed up until after 3:00am reading this straight through. It's a fun rom-com that has a bit of a family mystery twist. The movie making aspect is interesting and the romance is sweet. It's the proper amount of unbelievable for a romantic comedy. A little bit, but not too much. It's a book that made me smile and decide that I didn't care if it was a little far-fetched. This is a lovely summer read or book to pick up when you need a few giggles and sighs. Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley I stayed up until after 3:00am reading this straight through. It's a fun rom-com that has a bit of a family mystery twist. The movie making aspect is interesting and the romance is sweet. It's the proper amount of unbelievable for a romantic comedy. A little bit, but not too much. It's a book that made me smile and decide that I didn't care if it was a little far-fetched. This is a lovely summer read or book to pick up when you need a few giggles and sighs.

  16. 5 out of 5

    kglibrarian (Karin Greenberg)

    This enjoyable YA novel with a Chinese-American protagonist highlights the issues of family expectations, secrets, and the sacrifices people make for those they love. Full review to come in a future issue of School Library Journal.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elena L.

    I had such a fun experience reading HEIRESS APPARENTLY! It was satisfying to see Gemma Huang's growth and development throughout the story: from pursuing her dreams as an actress to raising her voice while fighting for her role. Furthermore, Ma created a mysterious atmosphere when it came to Gemma's family secrets. I absolutely loved that this novel is based on the most famous Empress of China, Wu Zetiang - I still can see before my eyes Fan Bing Bing's beautiful portrayal of Wu Zetiang and all t I had such a fun experience reading HEIRESS APPARENTLY! It was satisfying to see Gemma Huang's growth and development throughout the story: from pursuing her dreams as an actress to raising her voice while fighting for her role. Furthermore, Ma created a mysterious atmosphere when it came to Gemma's family secrets. I absolutely loved that this novel is based on the most famous Empress of China, Wu Zetiang - I still can see before my eyes Fan Bing Bing's beautiful portrayal of Wu Zetiang and all the media references regarding Asian characters ("Crazy Rich Asians" to mention one). As someone who used to binge watch Chinese drama since I was little, several passages resonated with me and I kept nodding while being infused with nostalgic feeling. The depiction of traditional Chinese parents and "perfect-child-comparison" was spot on plus the usage of pin yin only increased the familiarity with this novel. Ultimately, the mention of Chinese history was the cherry on the top of cake. I thought that Gemma's mother being involved in art history was a refreshing approach since I rarely read the combination China-art. We see a few (or almost none) Asian representation in media and I found it relevant how Ma brought this subject matter to our attention, also highlighting that Asians are not monolith. What I also adored was the mention of food (hum bao, you tiao, turnip cake and moon cake), Mooncake festival and Chinese customs. There's queer representation in this novel and I was rooting for the cute love story. My only small critique is that I found the revelation at the end anti-climatic as I was expecting a bit more. HEIRESS APPARENTLY is a lovely YA novel that shows you the preciousness of standing for your beliefs and the unbreakable bond of family. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. [ I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Marsh

    If you are looking for a cute, rom-com in the realm of Crazy Rich Asians meets American Royals, look no further. This is Diana Ma's debut and I absolutely ate it up. I am a sucker for cute stories where the main character is fresh out of high school and starting life, and this is exactly what this story was. This book follows Gemma Huang, fresh out of high school and ready to take the acting world by storm. When she moves to LA to start acting and taking a year off from college against her parent If you are looking for a cute, rom-com in the realm of Crazy Rich Asians meets American Royals, look no further. This is Diana Ma's debut and I absolutely ate it up. I am a sucker for cute stories where the main character is fresh out of high school and starting life, and this is exactly what this story was. This book follows Gemma Huang, fresh out of high school and ready to take the acting world by storm. When she moves to LA to start acting and taking a year off from college against her parents best wishes, she could have never seen what was coming. Gemma's mom is very secretive about her past and her family, and makes Gemma promise that she will never step a toe in Beijing, China. There is just one problem... Gemma has secured a role in a remake of M. Butterfly with her favorite actress as co-director. AND it is being filmed in Beijing. Among the arrival of Gemma in China, when she jumps off the plane she seems to cause a bit of a frenzy. Everyone is staring at her, and taking pictures of her not realizing that she is the twin of a major influencer in China named Alyssa Chua. After a stark warning from Alyssa to leave things be and to not let anyone in the family know she's in town, Gemma meets her families rival son. The book follows Gemma as she tries to discover why her mother is shunned from the family and Beijing, while also teaching Gemma about the importance of family. This book also covers topics like racism and homophobia, but I feel like it was handled nicely. Overall, I feel like this was a solid debut YA novel, and I am excited to read more from this author in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Gemma is cast as the female lead in a movie that she thinks is a romcom, but she finds herself in cahoots with the female director to hijack the film and flip some common stereotypes and gender norms. That is not the book I was expecting to read. I was looking forward to a romcom with an American-born Chinese girl discovering her secret Beijing family. They mystery of how Gemma's mother became estranged from her family was plenty of story for me. The movie set dilemma was confusing alongside the Gemma is cast as the female lead in a movie that she thinks is a romcom, but she finds herself in cahoots with the female director to hijack the film and flip some common stereotypes and gender norms. That is not the book I was expecting to read. I was looking forward to a romcom with an American-born Chinese girl discovering her secret Beijing family. They mystery of how Gemma's mother became estranged from her family was plenty of story for me. The movie set dilemma was confusing alongside the missing painting and multiple family dramas already happening. I am rounding up from a 2.5 due to the CRA elements, but don't really think I want to continue with the series. Thank you to Amulet Books and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    I wanted to like this way more than I did and trust me I tried HARD. I loved the cultural tour of Beijing and all the history and I liked the attempts at condemning heteronormative views. However, the whole family mystery thing got a bit out there for me and started to fall apart about 2/3 of the way through. I’ll definitely try more from this author in the future though!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Interesting and charming story. Tons of cultural references that I found very fascinating. It talks about family, secrets, traditions, independence and freedom. A light-hearted read with likeable characters

  22. 4 out of 5

    pia (pixiepia)

    dnf @ 40 pages. I really felt no interest in continuing with this story. I predicted the entire plot within the first 15 pages. super basic story and premise. i'd rather watch Monte Carlo. dnf @ 40 pages. I really felt no interest in continuing with this story. I predicted the entire plot within the first 15 pages. super basic story and premise. i'd rather watch Monte Carlo.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Ok, I'll admit I don't know that much about Chinese history and dynasties, so some of the reason for the Big Mystery around the family passed by me. This falls into the pseudo-Cinderella story genre: let's face it, Gemma's luck is a bit too good to be true, and then in China it's simply fantastical. What surprised me was that the smog my Chinese students complain about didn't seem to be a problem, and the ease with which Gemma travelled around and talked about things like Tienanmen Square withou Ok, I'll admit I don't know that much about Chinese history and dynasties, so some of the reason for the Big Mystery around the family passed by me. This falls into the pseudo-Cinderella story genre: let's face it, Gemma's luck is a bit too good to be true, and then in China it's simply fantastical. What surprised me was that the smog my Chinese students complain about didn't seem to be a problem, and the ease with which Gemma travelled around and talked about things like Tienanmen Square without someone either assigned to watch over/guard her/keep her from making stupid American mistakes felt wrong. As far as silly YA romance with a side of family mystery goes, it's passable. eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amaris (amarisafloria)

    Okay, I have THOUGHTS. Let me just first say that I had the best of intentions going into this one. The premise sounded cool (going to Beijing to film a movie and finding out you look like a famous person?!) and I am ALL about more fun Chinese American stories in YA literature. However ... this was a flop for me. (Please, Diana Ma, do not read this!!! I feel bad about writing it already ... but I just need to verbalize my feelings somewhere 😩) Also, I recognize that this is a book written for te Okay, I have THOUGHTS. Let me just first say that I had the best of intentions going into this one. The premise sounded cool (going to Beijing to film a movie and finding out you look like a famous person?!) and I am ALL about more fun Chinese American stories in YA literature. However ... this was a flop for me. (Please, Diana Ma, do not read this!!! I feel bad about writing it already ... but I just need to verbalize my feelings somewhere 😩) Also, I recognize that this is a book written for teens and I am not one. For any reviews from Asian teens I come across, I will add links here. 1. CLASSIC CASE OF TELLING, NOT SHOWING ... Yes, I want to know there were sparks between you and your love interest, but I want to SEE THEM too. When I can experience this alongside a character (the emotional connection, the feelings, the yearning, etc.), it adds to my level of investment and joy. I did not feel this with any of the "romantic" elements in Heiress Apparently. The insta-love was *so* bad—and usually, I don't mind this trope! IF I can see the chemistry. I don't care if he looks like Simu Liu and looks like a snack in a suit—GIVE ME GOOD BANTER AND CONVERSATION!!! I also felt like all the Chinese history parts were presented in such a random way. There was a lot of it brought up towards the beginning of the book, when we don't know how it all connects to Gemma, so it was just ... a lot of info-dump. I know that it was intended to set up the mystery of ~why her parents don't want her to step foot in China~ but it was so out-of-place that I knew exactly the reason as soon as all this information dropped. And then Gemma spends the entire story trying to figure out this big secret while everyone dodges her questions, so it's not fun. I think it would've been much more interesting if she encountered some truths right away and confronted her parents about it. Then they could have a discussion of sorts ... Anyway, at least I figured out that one of my biggest pet peeves in books is when the plot moves from person to person saying, "It's a secret, I can't tell you ......." It just makes no sense to write in circles like this. 2. I *really* didn't like the way Gemma's white roommate, Camille, was written. First of all, there's not much that's said or described about her. But every single time Camille was brought up in conversation or thought, Gemma always had some back-handed comment or criticism about her, specifically as a white person. Ex: Their other roommate (part Japanese, part Samoan, part white) talks about a past girlfriend (who happened to be white) who secretly went around her apartment collecting her hair (which, by the way, truly what the heck?) Gemma responds with, "I do not understand white people's obsession with Asian women's hair," then looks at Camille and says, "No offense." And Camille says, "None taken ... On behalf of my people, I apologize." ??????? Another example: "Once Camille catches her breath, she asks, "Is Taiwan where your parents are from?" This is the kind of "where are you from" question that I don't mind. Camille's not asking because my Asianness makes me foreign in her eyes—she's just a new friend who genuinely wants to get to know me." I felt like Camille was written as a character to tell white readers, "Look—this is what you should and should not say to Asian people." And it just rubbed me the wrong way. Does it need to be spelled out this way, like, "This is right because ______ and this is wrong because _____"? I think the worst part about it is the fact that there is NO REASON to hate Camille. We literally don't know anything about her!!! I mean, it would be different if Camille was racist and rude to Gemma, but she's not. One more: "And I don't want Camille to give me a knowing look and mentally file the information away in a "Gemma's tiger mom" file. I'm probably being unfair to her. Camille should get some credit for being the only white person in our little friend group." 3. The movie. Gemma is chosen to play the main character in this Americanized(?) version of M. Butterfly, which a distinguished Chinese actress (Eilene Deng) is co-directing. Basically, Eilene wants Gemma to help her change up the movie to play less on Asian stereotypes. Sounds good, right? But tell me why the making of this movie felt like a high school group project 💀 Do actors/actresses have this kind of power??? Like the way Gemma, a new actress, can make all these suggestions while they're filming? This was interesting though—when she brought it up to her boyfriend, he thought Eilene was using Gemma to "prop up her career." But Gemma believed Eilene wanted her to learn to fight for herself. I know it sounds like I despised this book, but there were some good things ... it's just that I feel way more passionately about the things that bothered me lol. It was a good concept, but it was trying to do a lot of big things all at once (the romance with a boy she just met, her mom's secret, making the movie, etc.) and it fell flat. Note: Thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for accepting my request to read and review an early copy of Heiress Apparently.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an E-ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. "When I first came to Beijing, I wasn't thinking about what I wanted or what I was looking for other than my success as an actress. But now I know. I want to belong." I want to preface my review by encouraging you to find own voice reviews and reviewers for this book, as I recognize the fact that I as a white reviewer may have overlooked aspects of the book that are important an Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an E-ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. "When I first came to Beijing, I wasn't thinking about what I wanted or what I was looking for other than my success as an actress. But now I know. I want to belong." I want to preface my review by encouraging you to find own voice reviews and reviewers for this book, as I recognize the fact that I as a white reviewer may have overlooked aspects of the book that are important and don't feel comfortable commenting on the quality of the representation and accuracy of the novel. This review will be based solely on my enjoyment of this book and boy did I enjoy it. The character development of our main character both in her personal and professional life was such a joy to read. Her reconnecting with her culture and family were so heartwarming and the subtle details that were carried out through the storyline and the attention to detail were really great. Our side characters were also super likable and the discussions about sexuality and masculinity in both western and traditional Chinese cultures were really eye opening for me. The historical element was also super interesting and it is something I want to look into more as it is not a period that I know anything about unfortunately. The plot and pacing of this book were spot on for me and I really flew through it. Its a more character driven story but there was still a definite plot which was enjoyable and drove the story forward. I am not sure whether this is going to be a series or not as the first book wrapped up well but I will not be complaining if we get more of these characters. It was such an enjoyable book and I couldn't get enough of it! My big critique has nothing to do with the book itself but more the synopsis on both Goodreads and Netgalley spoils the intrigue considering one of the main revelations is mentioned in both but not mentioned in the story til 80 per cent of the way through the book. This is honestly a serious marketing issue in my opinion so I would urge people to NOT read the synopsis! Rated: 4.5 Stars

  26. 4 out of 5

    legenbooksdary

    Heiress Apparently is a story about families reconnecting and coming together again after years. It was about working hard to do the things you love most and ending an old feud between two families. This coming of age book set in Beijing is interesting and captivating that I'm glad I pick it up. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I read this book but it was definitely a very fun and exciting read. For Gemma who just hit gold in the entertainment industry ignores her mother's request to st Heiress Apparently is a story about families reconnecting and coming together again after years. It was about working hard to do the things you love most and ending an old feud between two families. This coming of age book set in Beijing is interesting and captivating that I'm glad I pick it up. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I read this book but it was definitely a very fun and exciting read. For Gemma who just hit gold in the entertainment industry ignores her mother's request to step foot in Beijing, China. There, she discovers so many things about her ancestry, wealth and family. It kept me in the edge of my seat I went along with the characters as they slowly uncover lifelong secrets of the Chuas, Lius and Huangs. Sure, this book was a bit draggy at certain parts but it was still an enjoyable read as I learnt more about history and visiting the famous attractions in Beijing. It feels like like I was there exploring the vast city again right in the comfort of my own home. In our situation right now, its impossible to travel to other countries but I'm so glad that reading books don't limit me to the many possibilities of the thrill of traveling into new territories. All in all, this book was an engrossing read with a fresh take on Asian American women on Hollywood and the dramatic reveal on Gemma's family saga that stretches back to more than she could possibly ever imagined it to be. Full of drama, with a hint of romance and the overwhelming love you feel to finally be able to reconnect with long lost family.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    *Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC through Netgalley 3.5 stars HEIRESS APPARENTLY is a story following Gemma, a young actress traveling to China to film her first movie while also discovering more about her family’s secrets and herself. This was a light-hearted and really enjoyable read. Gemma as a main character was a good narrator, but I didn’t have a real feel for her personality; I didn’t feel as connected to her as I wanted to, seeing as she is the main character. That be *Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC through Netgalley 3.5 stars HEIRESS APPARENTLY is a story following Gemma, a young actress traveling to China to film her first movie while also discovering more about her family’s secrets and herself. This was a light-hearted and really enjoyable read. Gemma as a main character was a good narrator, but I didn’t have a real feel for her personality; I didn’t feel as connected to her as I wanted to, seeing as she is the main character. That being said, I did really love our side characters and the relationships built over the course of the book. The element of family and heritage was so strong in this book, which was something I wasn’t expecting but enjoyed so much. The romantic relationship wasn’t my favorite but the development for it was present. There was also a good bit of Chinese history and a lot of culture sprinkled throughout this book and it made the setting so much more authentic. This book also focuses on Gemma wanting to make a difference in the movie industry by changing her character in the movie she’s acting in, which allowed for a lot of time on set. There is discussion of many different stereotypes in the film industry (especially regarding Asian actors and characters), and I liked seeing Gemma challenge these with her acting throughout the book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    [ARC REVIEW] This adorable YA focuses on family, with a dash of romance and a splash of Hollywood movie glam! • Heiress Apparently follows Gemma Huang, a recent high school grad, as she navigates auditions and lands what could be her big break in Hollywood. The problem? The movie is shooting in Beijing, and Gemma has been forbidden to visit China by her Chinese parents. Gemma heads to China in secret and unearths world-shattering news about her family and their past. • Gemma goes through a lot in th [ARC REVIEW] This adorable YA focuses on family, with a dash of romance and a splash of Hollywood movie glam! • Heiress Apparently follows Gemma Huang, a recent high school grad, as she navigates auditions and lands what could be her big break in Hollywood. The problem? The movie is shooting in Beijing, and Gemma has been forbidden to visit China by her Chinese parents. Gemma heads to China in secret and unearths world-shattering news about her family and their past. • Gemma goes through a lot in the course of this novel: struggles with her relationships, with her family, and with her career. I loved seeing each of these topics handled so well, but I would have also loved to see each of them a little more fleshed out, especially since this is poised to be a series. I really enjoyed the writing: the scenery and descriptions were beautiful, and I loved the attention to fashion throughout. I also loved the LGBTQ+ representation, and the exploration of government attitudes toward LGBTQ+ folks vs. cultural attitudes. Overall, this was a four star read for me! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ • Heiress Apparently is available now! Thank you to @Piquebeyond for sharing an e-galley with me in exchange for my honest review. • Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @whatalexreads for book reviews, recommendations, and more!

  29. 5 out of 5

    rayna ♥

    3.5 stars this book took me exactly two hours to read. i flew through it, because it was easy to read, with a fun plot, and irresistible characters. i would be lying if i said i didnt wish i had a crazy rich asians secret back story and a fabulous life like gemma, and i especially loved all the references to current pop culture that i understood. it was crazy how completely recent this book is, including mentions of covid in the authors note. i really loved what she tried to evoke with family, be 3.5 stars this book took me exactly two hours to read. i flew through it, because it was easy to read, with a fun plot, and irresistible characters. i would be lying if i said i didnt wish i had a crazy rich asians secret back story and a fabulous life like gemma, and i especially loved all the references to current pop culture that i understood. it was crazy how completely recent this book is, including mentions of covid in the authors note. i really loved what she tried to evoke with family, belonging, othering, microaggressions, homecoming. i understood it all, as a child of immigrants myself. it's another one of those books i would have killed to read 6 years ago. the story that Ma was trying to tell really hit home for me. the writing is a little bit lacking in show-not-tell, but honestly, i think this would make a fabulous movie, and it was great fun to read. nothing extraordinary, but really wonderful nonetheless.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[car accident, homophobia (challenged) (hide spoiler)] Diversity: Chinese American MC, a majority of the cast of characters is Chinese. There is an f/f relationship as well. I had a lot of fun reading this book! I really liked the story, the main character as she slowly tries to uncover her family's past and loved seeing her grow, too. A fun, entertaining read overall :) Thank you to the publisher for granting me an e-ARC through NetGalley. This did not, in any way, Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[car accident, homophobia (challenged) (hide spoiler)] Diversity: Chinese American MC, a majority of the cast of characters is Chinese. There is an f/f relationship as well. I had a lot of fun reading this book! I really liked the story, the main character as she slowly tries to uncover her family's past and loved seeing her grow, too. A fun, entertaining read overall :) Thank you to the publisher for granting me an e-ARC through NetGalley. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bookstagram - Bloglovin'

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