Chinese American romance novelist Julie Tieu's Fancy Meeting You Here is a swoon-worthy ode to the power of female friendships. Floral designer Elise Ngo may be busy helping her three best friends--Jesse, Rebecca, and Beth--get married, but her design studio is still failing. So when Ben, Rebecca's self-serious younger brother, hires Elise to help with some of his mother's campaign events, Elise can't say no. But Ben's cold exterior begins to wear off the more Elise gets to know him. Soon, always-the-bridesmaid Elise finds herself falling hard for a guy whose trouble dealing with the stress of being part of a political family and lack of direction in life may not win the approval of the friends she loves so much.
As in other novels by Tieu, the center-stage romance in Fancy Meeting You Here is equal parts heart-fluttering and hilarious. Ben and Elise's chemistry is obvious, and Tieu demonstrates her skill at balancing laugh-out-loud mishaps with scenes of vulnerable self-disclosure. The lovable protagonists of her previous book, The Donut Trap, even make a brief reappearance. But Fancy Meeting You Here stands out from Tieu's other books and from many other romance novels by putting the chemistry between female friends on full display alongside its romantic longings. The quippy dialogue between Elise and her friends, and the dedication they show to each other despite--or even because of--each other's imperfections all make the love between this group of friends as squeal-inducing as the love between the novel's romantic leads. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor