Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen


A tender and funny debut about a Vietnamese Canadian family who will do whatever it takes to keep their no-frills nail salon afloat after a multimillion-dollar chain opens across the street.

Vietnamese refugees Debbie and Phil Tran have made a good life for themselves in Toronto, but their landlord has just jacked up the rent of their family-run nail salon, Sunshine Nails, and it’s way more than they can afford. When Take Ten, a glamorous chain offering a more luxurious salon experience, moves into the neighborhood, the Tran family is terrified of losing their business—and the community they’ve built around them.

But daughter Jessica comes to their rescue. She’s just moved back home after a messy breakup and an even messier firing. Together with her workaholic brother, Dustin, and recently immigrated cousin, Thuy, they devise some good old-fashioned sabotage. But as the line between right and wrong gets blurred, relationships are put to the test, and Debbie and Phil must choose: Do they keep their family intact or fight for their salon?

Full of memorable manicures and even more memorable characters, Sunshine Nails is a humorous and heartfelt novel about family, resilience, and what it means to start over.



Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was hilarious! Perfect summer read. I felt like I jumped into the lives and drama of a best friend or family I’ve known for years, where I couldn’t put it down. Makes for a fun, one-sitting, and great summer book club pick. I’m looking forward to discussing in detail and laughing again over the story and relational aspects I found.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for the free copy for review.

The Story
Historical and cultural context, others just dove right in.

Details of business establishment and transaction, regulation, branding, amenities. Salon clientele.

A lot of small talk conversation, inside jokes and banter. Made me laugh so much. And the tender parts were specific and special. As well as much expected cultural shift and adaptation, where one’s experiences can only enhance my own experiences, relatability, and readability of the book, in such a way I was smiling to myself and thinking, oh yes very true.

Familial expectations and dramatic adventures. Nonstop drama that only those present would believe.

A lot crammed into one book, it certainly had me going.
With all the ideas going on reminds me to a short movie sitcom.
I’m not sure I understood all the entanglement though.

The Writing
I loved the style. Straight to the point, witty, both in narration and dialogue. The chronology and set up for conversation and action was very nice and easy to settle into.

Was a lot of characters to keep straight. I knew about the characters but not who they were. In how their personalities developed over time or what action would have matched their quirks. Some parts a bit crass for my taste. However met my expectation of face-to-face encounter with characterization. I’m not sure all the characters were distinguishable though, even with varying life stages and experiences, most were juvenile teenage which made for half the humor, yet not in character trait distinction as far as personality differences were concerned. Otherwise would have been more of an amazing read if polished up just a bit more from this standpoint.

Definitely looking forward to more.

View all my reviews

<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!



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