The American Boyfriend by Ivy Ngeow

A Gripping Tale of Cross-Cultural Love, Interracial Relationships, and Racial Dynamics

New Delhi, July 2023: Penguin Random House is thrilled to announce the acquisition and publication of the highly anticipated fiction read from our Southeast Asia list, The American Boyfriend, a domestic psychological romantic suspense-thriller by London-based award-winning author and editor, Ivy Ngeow. This gripping novel takes readers on a heart-racing journey through the risks and rewards of online dating, interlaced with themes of cross-cultural relationships and the dynamics of race relations in the West. The book is scheduled to come out on 15 August 2023 from the Penguin Books imprint. It is currently available for pre-ordering on all major e-commerce websites in India.

Perfect for the fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Things We Do In The Dark by Jennifer Hillier, and Verity by Colleen Hoover, The American Boyfriend introduces readers to Phoebe Wong, a Malaysian-Chinese single mother living in London. Tired of her dead-end job and aching to escape the British winter, Phoebe eagerly accepts an invitation from her long-distance titular ‘American’ boyfriend to meet him in sunny Key West, Florida. Accompanied by her teething toddler, Phoebe arrives ahead of her boyfriend and experiences a nightmarish turn of events when she is robbed on her first night.

Ivy Ngeow

Stranded in Key West without money, cards, or passports, Phoebe finds solace in the support of friendly locals. However, when a British ex-pat she meets is mysteriously shot dead, Phoebe realizes she is trapped in a dangerous situation as things continue to go grow out of hand. As suspicions surrounding her boyfriend’s delayed arrival grow, Phoebe becomes determined to extricate herself and her daughter from the escalating danger.

Through the pages of this novel, Ngeow also sheds light on the nuanced dynamics of race relations and gun violence in the subtext. The story delves into the complexities of identity, love, and survival in a world fraught with danger as the readers go on this journey which is full of unexpected twists and turns and a shocking finale for the protagonist.
Talking about the publication of her book, author, Ivy Ngeow said, ‘I wrote a book that Iwanted to read. I was frustrated that there was a serious lack of commercial fiction with strong female Asian protagonists. Much of Asian literature for the Western market falls into the literary fiction or historical category with romanticised tropes of the empire, WWII and “Malaya” nostalgia. But so much has happened since 1957. I write to challenge those tiring stereotypes and cliches. The story I want to give the world is what it means to be a modern Asian woman. She is confident, open-minded and independent, both financially and emotionally. (But it did take us thousands of years and about 40 minutes to get here). As such, this moment is so much bigger than me.’
Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar, Publisher, Penguin Random House SEA, says, ‘Stories like The American Boyfriend are important because they carry forward the message of why representation matters to the masses in a way that it would appeal to them. We hope that this book keeps the readers turning pages until the very end!’

Ngeow is getting ready for her Southeast Asia Book Tour, which will kick off on August 13 with a book launch event in Singapore at Epigram Books. After that, she has lined up a series of exciting events at major bookstores in the country, including SingLit Station, KinoKuniya, and WHS Smith at Changi airport, as well as various school workshops. Once she wraps up the events in Singapore, Ngeow will be heading to Malaysia for her book launch at Eslite Bookstore in Kuala Lumpur on August 20. She also has other events scheduled at Gerakbudaya Bookstore Penang and Riwayat Books. All these events are open to the public, and you can attend them for free.

Ivy Ngeow

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