We’ve all been there: you accidentally kill your blind date in self defense and ask your aunties for help hiding the body, all because your mom pretended to be you on a dating site and thought the eggplant emoji was an innocent offer to cook you dinner.
Okay so maybe we haven’t all been there, but that is what happens in Dial A for Aunties, the hilarious and fast-moving mystery caper and rom-com from Jesse Q. Sutanto that kept readers in stitches this spring. Now the aunties are at it again in a sequel billed as Crazy Rich Asians meets The Godfather (yessss). We’re so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Four Aunties and a Wedding!
Check out the cover by designer Vikki Chu and a synopsis below, then keep scrolling for a few words from the Jesse Q. Sutanto and read an exclusive excerpt from the book. Look for this one in March 2022.
Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.
Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. It turns out Staphanie and her family are The Family—actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to take out a target. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene—over their dead bodies—and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.
A few words from Jesse Q. Sutanto:
After the whirlwind of publishing my first adult novel, Dial A For Aunties, I am so happy, grateful, and kind of terrified to present the sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding. So many readers reached out to tell me how much Dial A meant to them, and reading their messages has been such an incredible experience. They’ve also reminded me of the heart of these stories: familial love. In Four Aunties and a Wedding, I have continued to focus on the love between Meddy and her family despite the many hijinks in the book.
Four Aunties and a Wedding takes place in Oxford, England, the place where I met my husband. Though I loved Oxford, I also remember how surprised I was at how different the immigrant experience was in England versus the U.S. It was a reminder of how widely immigrant experiences vary, even for people who share the same roots.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to my readers for following Meddy and the aunties’ journeys, and I hope you enjoy Four Aunties and a Wedding as much as Dial A for Aunties.
And now an excerpt from Four Aunties and a Wedding:
“Nathan, over here, Nathan! Nathan!” Ma shouts, standing up and waving madly as we weave through the dim sum crowd. Nathan waves back at her, but she continues waving and shouting his name.
“How come she’s never that excited to see me?” I grumble.
“Because I am, in her words, ‘the perfect specimen of a man.’”
I roll my eyes. I mean, I agree with Ma, obviously, but Nathan doesn’t need to know that. Over the past year, my family has doted on him as if he’s their long-awaited prodigal son, and instead of being scared off as I feared he might be, Nathan has quite happily accepted all the attention.
As we near them, I see that there isn’t one, nor two, nor three new faces at the table, but—
“Five vendors?” I hiss.
Nathan squeezes my hand. “It’ll be okay. We’ll eat with them and look at their portfolio and then politely but firmly tell them no.”
I take a deep breath. I can do this. I’m an adult, dammit. I can stand up to my family, especially for my wedding. And despite all of his jokes, I know Nathan would back me up if I wanted him to.
Everyone smiles and waves when we get to the table, and Nathan and I go around greeting them—Big Aunt first, then Second Aunt, and so forth. Even though I arrived here with Big Aunt and the others, I still need to make a show of greeting them again. After I greet my family, I’m left with the vendors. They’re not quite what I expected. There’s an elderly woman who looks about Big Aunt’s age, three men who could be anywhere from thirty to fifty-five, and a young woman who looks about my age.
The young woman stands up and comes around to shake my hand and Nathan’s with a big, friendly smile. “Meddy, it’s so nice to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you, and I’m just so excited about your wedding.”
Her smile is infectious, and I find myself beaming back at her before catching myself. I don’t want to appear like I approve. I squeeze my mouth into a thin line. But then the woman hands me her business card, and I know then that she and I are destined to be friends. Because her card says this:
Staphanie Weiting Tanuwijaya
Stop weiting around, we’re here for all your weidding needs!
I chomp down on my bottom lip to keep from laughing.
“That’s not a typo, by the way. It really is spelled with an a,” Staphanie says.
I meet her eye. “I relate very hard to this.”
“I knew you would, Meddelin,” she says somberly. “When your mom texted me your name, I was like, ‘Okay, I need to meet her. She’ll understand what it’s like to grow up with an unfortunately spelled name.’”
“I do!” I laugh. “I really, really do. Oh god, you poor thing. I’m guessing you get lots of staph infection jokes?”
“Mhmm. And coupled with my Chinese name, Weiting? Forget about it. ‘I’m wei-ting for my staph infection to clear up.’ I hear that one at least five times a day.”
I’m still laughing as we sit down next to each other.
Big Aunt clears her throat and Staphanie and I go quiet. When all the attention is turned to her, Big Aunt gestures at me. “This Meddy, the bride, and that one Nathan, the groom.”
The elderly woman nods and smiles in a very grandmotherly way at us. “Wah, cakep sekali ya? Will give you so cute babies,” she says to Ma. Ma simpers, and the elderly woman continues, “You must have babies right away, okay, not be like these modern people nowadays, waiting and waiting, later your womb will dry up.”
“Ama!” Staphanie scolds. She turns to us. “I’m so sorry. This is my grandmother, she’s just, uh, she’s—”
The sight of Staphanie’s mortification about her family warms my heart. Finally, someone who truly understands what it’s like growing up with my family. “It’s okay, I understand,” I tell her.
“Oh, you so right,” Ma says to Staphanie’s grandmother. “Yes, I don’t know why all these young people they want to waiting, waiting, until they too old to make the baby!”
Nathan places a comforting hand on my back. I can tell he’s struggling to bite back his laughter. I’m glad he finds Ma funny, at least.
“Please, eat,” Staphanie says, placing a har gow on my plate. I quickly reciprocate by spearing a char siu bao and putting it on her plate. Around the table, our families are doing the same, rapidly picking up dumplings and placing them on each other’s plates—a battle to show which family is more well-mannered. Nathan is used to this by now and jumps in with gusto, giving Big Aunt the biggest siu mai and Staphanie’s grandmother the fattest cheung fun. Cries of “Aduh, don’t mind me, you eat, you eat,” and “Wah, you such good boy,” fill the air and soon, everyone’s plate is full and the battle ends in a draw. Now we can finally start eating.
Staphanie takes a small bite of her bao. “So, to give you an overview of our company . . .” She gestures at her family. “Like yours, ours is a family-run business. My ama is the wedding organizer—”
“Oh, wow.” I don’t even have to fake the amazement in my voice. “That’s really amazing, Tante.” I say, using the formal Indonesian term for Auntie. “Wedding organizing is so complicated, especially when it comes to Chinese-Indonesian weddings.”
Staphanie’s grandmother nods with barely restrained pride. “You can call me Ama.”
Calling someone else “Grandmother” feels like a betrayal of my late ama, but there’s just something about Staphanie’s grandma that is so grandmotherly. I totally want to call her Ama, even though we’ve just met.
“Okay, Ama.” Nathan gives her his boyish smile. She beams back at him, and I know then that we have found our wedding organizer.
From Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Used with the permission of the publisher, Berkley. Copyright © 2022 by Jesse Q. Sutanto.