Cover reveal! When Dimple Met Rishi meets Loveboat, Taipei in this hilarious YA rom-com about a Chinese-Filipina girl in Manila whose father sets her up on a marathon of arranged dates in hopes of convincing her to stay close to home for college. Get ready for Chloe and the Kaishao Boys, coming March 7, 2023!
Chloe is officially off the waitlist at USC, and thus one step closer to realizing her dream of becoming an animator in the United States. But before she leaves home, her auntie insists on planning a traditional debut for Chloe’s eighteenth birthday (think sweet sixteen meets debutante ball). To make matters worse, her father, intent on finding Chloe the perfect escort for the party, keeps setting her up on one awkward kaishao—or arranged date—after another. But . . . why does her dad suddenly care so much about her love life? And what happens when she actually starts to fall for one of the guys, only to have to leave at the end of the summer?
Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek!
When the church bell rings, Auntie Queenie steers us all inside. I grab a program and genuflect by the entrance before finding a place to sit. This is the first time I’m not here ridiculously early, so our usual spot is already taken. The five of us walk up and down the red carpeted aisle that stretches to the altar until I finally find one empty pew at the back.
After Jappy and I slide in, Pa says, “I think we should sit nearer the front.”
“This is the only empty row, Pa.”
“There might be something there.” Tita Gretchen points to the section beside the altar.
Just as I’m about to move, Auntie Queenie holds up her hand to stop me. “You two stay here. That side is the . . . adult section.”
“I don’t think churches have adult sections.” I look at Jappy to get some reinforcement, and just then, I become fully aware that he is a boy.
I remember what Auntie Queenie said in the car. “Bad boys don’t hang out in churches.”
Are they trying to kaishao me?! In church?!?
Tita Gretchen gives my shoulder a traitorous squeeze before the three of them leave me and Jappy. When the choir begins the opening hymn and everyone rises to their feet, all I want is to dig a hole in the ground and hide out there forever. Cia waves at us from the choir stands by the altar, and I pretend nothing’s wrong so she doesn’t find out I’m being set up with her brother.
It doesn’t help that I have to scooch closer to Jappy because the woman next to me is wearing what is probably the strongest perfume ever concocted.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy kaishao.”
“The Lord be with you. And with your kaishao.”
“A reading from the book of kaishao.”
Am I really hearing the word “kaishao,” or am I getting drugged by the woman’s perfume?
I try to hold in my feelings, and then I catch Pa sneaking a peek at me and Jappy. Part of me is pretty impressed that Auntie Queenie actually talked my dad into matching me with a guy. Why in the world did it have to be Jappy though?
When we take our seats for the offertory, Jappy whispers, “Is it me or are they watching us?”
I glance over and find the kaishao scheming trifecta staring at us even more obviously.
“Okay.” I cross my arms. “Promise you won’t make fun of me for this.”
Jappy narrows his eyes and pulls out his judgy eyebrow. “For what?” He’s definitely going to give me shit for this for the rest of my life.
“There might be a small . . . slight chance that we’re getting set up.” I sigh. “But I didn’t ask for this,” I quickly clarify. “Auntie Queenie was weirded out that I didn’t have guy friends for the roses in my debut, and she brought up wanting to kaishao me with someone. So you’re, like, the kaishao boy.”
His judgy eyebrow is on full blast. “Kaishao boy?”
“They basically used church as an excuse for ambush matchmaking.”
“And they did this without telling you?”
“Obviously.” I flail my arms between me and Jappy. “Why would I want to get set up at Mary the Queen?”
“Yeah, Christ the King has a way more romantic ambiance,” he deadpans.
I groan. “Jappy, I’m dealing with a crisis here.”
We stand when the priest prays over the Eucharist.
“You can’t blame your dad,” he lowers his voice. “I’m very in demand for dating daughters.”
“Yeah, you’re exactly my father’s type.”
The priest starts reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and everyone around us joins hands. Right when I place my hand over Jappy’s, I catch Auntie Queenie very indiscreetly smiling in our direction.
Spiritually holding hands is very different from romantically holding hands!