Trade Me by Courtney Milan | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 19th, 2015

Trigger Warnings: heart attack, death, addiction, eating disorder, anxiety, poverty, communism, immigration, transphobic comments (dealt with)

Pages: 279

Publisher: Courtney Milan

Genre: new adult, romance, contemporary 

Goodreads blurb:

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 Technology. But when he makes an off-hand 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. 

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R E V I E W

Trade Me has to be one of the most interesting books I have read, from the concept of literally trading lives to the whole technology part to the mental health representations throughout. It was honestly so engaging that I finished it in a day. Courtney Milan is now an author I desperately need to read more, especially with her excellently diverse casts. I am just so excited to have read this book.

What is Trade Me by Courtney Milan about? This series is focused on the employees/people who surround Cyclone Technologies which is a company that creates gadgets very similar to Apple – but better from the sounds of it. Tina Chen just wants her degree, a job and to be able to stop worrying about her parents. Tina and her parents immigrated from China to America after her father was tortured for practising Falun Gong. Immigration is a difficult procedure and since the Chen family gained citizenship Tina’s mum has taken it upon herself to help absolutely everyone gaining citizenship. She has no qualms about giving them all the small amount of money the family has. This has Tina stressed frequently, as a college student living out of the home she tries to send money home so at least her younger sister gets her medication. Her life is hard and there is no hope of it getting better until she’s a doctor. Blake’s life is very different. He owns shares of his father’s company Cyclone and he flaunts it. He works at the company, he’s not a slacker, but he doesn’t know how hard Tina’s life is. He is going through his own problems, after the death of his father’s best friend and co-owner of the company. The switching of lives for the pair of them comes with a bigger favour for Tina, mainly that she will be getting fifteen grand each month she allows Blake to live out her life. The two find unlikely love in each other, despite how stubborn Tina is. The pair gives each other a different insight and honestly, it was so beautiful.

There was just so much to this story that I know I’m not going to be able to list everything or even truly explain what this book meant to me. I’m going to keep this review as short as I can but I can’t scream my highest praise for this book enough.

I just loved this story. Time to get into what my likes and dislikes are for Trade Me by Courtney Milan.

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L I K E S

I LOVED THE PLOT

This plot was so incredible to me. I sincerely enjoyed absolutely every element of this book (bar the miscommunication of the end). The biggest part I related to was Tina’s responsibility she felt for her family financially. It’s definitely something I feel in my family, my mum and sister don’t save and I constantly have to make up the money. It was interesting to see something like this in a new adult book and I honestly feel like it was well done, which is even better.

Courtney Milan truly crafted an exciting story that I was pulled in to so quickly.

CHARACTERS SO FLESHED OUT

This is a relatively short book, but all the characters are so fleshed out. There is so much depth to every character, even the side characters! I mean, there weren’t many side characters but everyone had a unique personality that was able to shine throughout this short novel. The author has a real talent for writing and I am so excited to read more about these characters in her other books.

POVERTY SHOWN IN REALISTIC LIGHT

I don’t have much to say here, I really just think poverty was shown realistically throughout this novel. The biggest shining point was when Tina treated herself to a mango and classed it as a luxurious purchase. My family is doing better now but there was a time I cried at bananas being in the house because I was so happy. For me, this was incredibly realistic and well done.

FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS

FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS AGAIN. I AM SO HAPPY. I AM BLESSED. Honestly though, Tina and her best friend Maria. The pair is so supportive of each other and I just adored it.

If you want another reason to read this book (honestly, why wouldn’t you? I feel I’m selling this well) Maria is a trans-woman.

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D I S L I K E S

✗ JUST WANTED MORE

I really just wanted more. When the book ended with a bit of a mess I was flicking through my kindle hunting for more. I was so disappointed when the page flickered and it was over! This story was just such a nice treat that made me laugh, smile and cry. I was fully on the edge of my seat and the care of which things are dealt with are incredible. I liked that an eating disorder for a male character was incorporated because there is such a stigma with men and eating disorders. I liked that Blake and his father had a great relationship. I liked that Tina had such a great relationship with her family (though I wish we had gotten more interactions with her mum). I just want more of this story and I can’t wait to read more.

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Overall, I think I’ve made it clear I really liked Trade Me by Courtney Milan. It’s a book I am definitely going to highly recommend and one I think anyone can read, even if romance isn’t your genre. There was just so many things I liked about this book that I can’t even articulate it. I am just struggling so hard.

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Happy reading everyone!

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