Trade Me, by Courtney Milan, is out today. You should get it. Now.

20 Jan

Trade meMany of you know that Courtney Milan writes really good historical romance. I have read most of her published work, and what I have not read, I own anyway. To varying degrees, I have liked all of what I’ve read by her–yes, she is yet another author I love whose books I haven’t reviewed much. I suck, okay?


Ms Milan announced late-ish last year that she was writing a contemporary novel. And it so happens it’s NA. In first person narrative, of course.

Alternating first person to boot.

Some readers wondered what was up with that, and Ms Milan kindly explained why she was taking a break from historical romance–a very brief one, as she still has the first title in her next historical series, the Worth Saga, scheduled to come out in a few months.

Here is the blurb, from the author’s website:

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Systems. But when he makes an offhand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

Now, if you are not a fan of NA and/or first person, you may want to shrug and move on.

If I may, though? I suggest you read this, for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, Ms Milan’s writing is excellent and sucks you right in, deeply and in a hurry.

I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of new adult romance, mostly because I often feel too old for the angst and drama, and the characters feel too shallow and too young. (Yes, I do get the irony of finding NA characters too young).

Lately, however, some truly excellent writing has me rethinking this position–Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series is an excellent example of NA done well. It comes, at it always does for me, to good writing. And the excerpt for Trade Me that I link above? It is sooooo good!

It just whetted my appetite. I must know what happens next, let alone what happens between Tina and Blake.

As I continue reading the novel, my heart breaks. I’m barely on chapter three, and Tina is talking with her mother over the phone. They talk about money and freedom and family, and Tina thinks to herself, “I don’t want a lot out of life. I just want enough money to love without being tangled up about it.”




(I am quite stoked that Ms Milan may write a book about Adam Reynolds, by the way)

So, good writing is definitely the best reason for readers to get this book.

There are other reasons, though, and one of them is that Ms Milan asks herself some pointed, important questions, and then, she answers them for all of us:

Yet the questions I’ve been asked over and over are about Tina: Why are you writing a Chinese heroine? At Berkeley?

Nobody has asked me, “Why a billionaire? You’re not a billionaire.” Nobody has said, “This is your tenth full-length book and up until this point, I had no idea you were Asian. What took you so long?”

I’m not faulting the questioners; don’t get me wrong. But I do have to look askance at the world we live in, when an experience that is shared by hundreds and hundreds of people is the one that comes across as uncommon.

It’s presumed that my experience, and my mother’s experience, is the one that is not represented. It’s presumed so hard that I didn’t even start questioning my own writing choices until I had published six full-length books.

I wrote this book because you had to ask this question. I wrote this book because I was asking myself the questions that nobody was asking me, but that I thought everyone should. And I wrote this book because even though every book I have written up until this point has been personal on some level, there are some parts of myself that never belonged anywhere in anything.

Until now.


Remember Joss Whedon talking about Equality Now a few years ago?

“Why do you always write these strong women characters?”
“Why is this even a question? Why aren’t you asking a hundred other guys why they don’t write strong women characters?”
“Why do you always write these strong women characters?”
“Because you keep asking me that question.”

We tend to forget that there is a wider world, with many more such questions that are asked, over and over, when they should not be.

Thank you, Ms Milan.

7 Responses to “Trade Me, by Courtney Milan, is out today. You should get it. Now.”

  1. Rowena 20/01/2015 at 11:30 AM #

    I can’t wait to download my copy tonight. Thanks for reminding me that it was coming out. Off to read the excerpt now. 🙂

  2. Lori 20/01/2015 at 4:42 PM #

    I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Milan’s writing, her voice just doesn’t work for me. But I’m going to have to try this if only for this review.

    • azteclady 20/01/2015 at 4:48 PM #

      This is not even the review–this was one of those books I can’t even talk about immediately after reading it, because it hits so hard you need time and space to process it.

      However, do read the excerpt, perhaps that’ll sell you the story and her voice in this case?

      I know that sometimes I can’t read an author in one genre but love them in another, so…it could work, yes?

  3. Kat 24/01/2015 at 2:45 AM #

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I don’t even know what it’s about, and I’ve already moved it up my TBR!

    • azteclady 24/01/2015 at 10:15 PM #

      Oh, how I hope you read it soon and share your thoughts!

      I’ve finally written my own review, which is scheduled for Monday.


  1. Trade Me, by Courtney Milan | Her Hands, My Hands - 26/01/2015

    […] week I posted a note to remind everyone about the release of Trade […]

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