15 Feb / Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto [in Booklist]
Murder is never funny, except when it is. In Jesse Q. Sutanto’s rollicking debut, which she describes in a “Dear reader” foreword as “a love letter to my family – a ridiculously large bunch with a long history of immigration,” a fatal accident begets family reconciliation, true love at second sight, and happy beginnings all around.
Meddy (short for Meddelin – her “parents were aiming for Madeleine”) is convinced her sprawling Indonesian, Chinese, Singaporean, and American family is cursed: all the men die or leave. She’s the only Chan of her generation who has stayed in California with her mother and three aunts, even working in the family wedding business as the resident photographer.
Although Meddy is not even close to 30, Ma is convinced that she’s practically an old maid, never mind that Meddy chose family over romance years before. Ma is desperate enough to impersonate Meddy on a dating app, sending her off with a potential rapist. So he dies. Sort of. Dial A for Aunties, indeed, as they navigate a high-profile wedding with a corpse in tow. Sound preposterous? Perhaps, but you’ll be glad you went along for the yacht ride.
High-Demand Backstory: Sutanto’s #OwnVoices comedy has generated big buzz, and there’s even a Netflix series in the works.