Dial A for Aunties

by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Berkley, April 2021, $16

Meddelin “Meddy” Chan hasn’t dated anyone for years, ever since she broke up with her college boyfriend Nathan. Now single, Meddy makes a living as a photographer for the wedding business her family runs in California. Her overbearing mother decides to help her love life by setting her up on a blind date, which goes horribly wrong when Meddy’s act of self-defense leaves her date dead.

Panicked, Meddy turns to her close-knit Indo-Chinese immigrant family that includes her mother and three quirky aunts—Big Aunt, Second Aunt, and Fourth Aunt—to help her hide the body. At the same time, they struggle to pull off a celebrity wedding, and things get even crazier when the body is accidentally sent to the hotel where the wedding is to take place.

Beset by one hilarious complication after another, the Chans try to keep the body hidden from the employees and guests and avoid drawing suspicion. To make matters worse, Meddy’s ex-boyfriend turns out to be the hotelier and seeing him sparks longburied romantic feelings.

Dial A for Aunties is a comedy-romancedrama mix and there are many scenes and lines that will make readers laugh out loud. The way the characters react to each other and to their situation makes for entertaining reading. The Chans’ family bonds and rivalries are a crucial part of this book, one that endears the doting mother and eccentric aunts (based partly off the author’s own relatives) to the reader, even as it leaves Meddy exasperated. Readers will likely relate to Meddy’s need to fulfill her duties to her family, yet still build a life of her own.

People will need to read the book themselves to find out whether Meddy and her family can get through the wedding without ending up in jail. A tantalizing blend of romantic mishaps, quirky relatives, and a behind- the-scenes look at the wedding industry, Dial A for Aunties is proof of a promising new writer.

Teri Duerr
April 2021