Women's International Film Festival-SILVER and Venice Art & Film Festival Best Book and Best Author Winner



A dramatic and fun novel about a group of private high schoolers in an affluent Southern Californian suburb.

Reader Reviews

“We need diverse stories! Belinda Lei has written a fun, mysterious, sexy book that explores the full breadth of the Asian American experience with nuance and wit. Congrats on a terrific debut!”

Maulik Pancholy Actor, activist and Stonewall Honor-winning author of THE BEST AT IT

“Intriguingly juicy yet refreshingly thought-provoking. High school drama mixed with insight into educational social pressures in the Asian-American community.”

MELISSA Dargan YouTube Creator and Founder of TourTrackr.com

“Not That Rich by Belinda Lei gives readers great insight into the world of Asian American students as they find their way through an exclusive, competitive and multi-racial high school experience.”

Patricia Drangel Beta Reader

“Not That Rich shares the journey of high school students and the pressure they feel to develop a perfect resume and identity to deliver their future dreams. The story reveals the feelings of inadequacy students can experience while they attempt to understand where they fit in the world based on their social status and families wealth.“

John Saunders Author of the Optimizer, Lifting the Curve

“Lei’s Not THAT Rich brings a refreshing taste of Asian-American representation into the phenomenal world of YA literature, using depth and narrative to portray an insightful search of identity amidst conflicting societal pressures.“

Giboom Park Author of Not Your Yellow Fantasy

“Not THAT Rich is the book you wish you had to survive high school. She captures the drama, thrill, and difficulty of being a teenager in an increasingly complex American society and reminds us to go a little easier on the young kids these days.“

Elizabeth Lucy Ivanecky Author of The Child In Us: A Collection of Stories About Happiness

“Lei tackles classism, multiculturalism, and the desperate need to academically achieve in one of America’s most frightening places — high school. Caught between the pressures of their high school and real worlds, the main characters of the book take the reader on an interesting journey of a place that every person recalls with fondness and derision.“

Anjana Sreedhar Author of Healthcare of a Thousand Slights

“Belinda Lei’s Not THAT Rich takes readers through the intricacies of a multi-racial, excessively rich high-school, a much more commonplace occurrence in today’s rapidly urbanizing and competitive America. Lei brings Asian American representation to mainstream YA in more ways than one.“

Nikita Chinamanthur Author of Ants

“Reading Not THAT Rich felt as easy as gossiping and sipping Bubble Tea with girlfriends. Yet, woven throughout Lei’s smooth prose are thought-provoking insights. With humor, honesty, and wit, Lei captures the good, the bad, and the ugly of navigating young adulthood in an affluent, predominantly Asian American community.“

Vanessa Hung Beta Reader

“Lei’s book masterfully weaves together nuanced stories from a set of multidimensional characters. I wish this type of representation in media had been around when I was younger to show me Asian Americans didn’t have to be confined to the same old and tired tropes.“

Rebecca Liu Beta Reader

“Belinda Lei’s Not THAT Rich writes movingly about classism and race within the context of America’s high schools, growing rapidly more competitive and voracious every day. Lei speaks on how wealth inequities mold the experiences of high school students, and writes powerfully about the experiences of Asian-American students.“

Angeline Truong Author of After the Rain

“Lei navigates the culturally emerging world of her generation growing up in East Los Angeles. A moving series of stories, Lei brings to the surface the nuances of what it’s like to define her own cultural identity while still confronting the culture she and her peers have inherited from their parents.“

Jon-Erik Jardine Author of Return toPō

“This is a vibrant portrayal of the California Dream and raises questions of access in a deeply inequitable society.“

Jeremie Gluckman Marketer and Author of In The Shadow of Big Tech

“You’ve seen Gossip Girl, you’ve seen The O.C., but Lei brings you a fresh story of elite teenage life like no other. A much-needed portrayal of Asian American culture in the modern pre collegiate world, Not THAT Rich intertwines a variety of perspectives to tell the story of wealth, pressure, and identity in a way that will resonate with you no matter what your background.“

Simone Lamont Author of Fooling Sheep

“If you ever wonder what a personal tale of one’s cultural identity reads like, you got to pick up Lei’s Not THAT Rich. It's a touching, authentic, yet dramatic depiction of growing up in an Asian American community. Stop Googling around,or trying to get a sense of the experience from news or mass media, read Lei's coming-of-age stories and you'll be so inspired.“

Mary Yuan Author of Where Is Home?

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Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians.

“He had class, he had style, and he certainly was not fresh off the boat. He was fresh off a private jet.”

Hunter and Trisha Wang, like the majority of their classmates, are trying to balance AP classes, Ivy League applications, numerous extracurriculars, and tumultuously juicy social lives, all while living in their affluent, suburban bubble. Will Hunter get into Stanford and still be able to maintain his relationship with the “it girl” Sierra Jones? Will Trisha find love with outsider Ray Martinez and figure out what’s going on with her influencer best friend, Pamela Shah? Will billionaire newcomer Jack Zhou figure out how to fit in? And who exactly is The Stranger? Welcome to Winchester High, a prestigious college preparatory school where students live seemingly perfect, privileged lives.

In Not THAT Rich, we find that things are not always what they seem, and no matter how much money, power or influence you think you have, high school will always be complicated.

Hi there. It's Belinda.

I wrote this book because, like many teenagers out there, high school was an immensely transformative experience for me, filled with all the angst, laughter, tears, and drama that makes your teenage years so formative. Through this book, I want to not only give readers an escape into a satirical and predominantly affluent Asian American community, but also lend my voice to young readers out there who might feel lost or invisible because of their racial, sexual, socioeconomic, or generational identity.

Ultimately, I hope that Not THAT Rich takes readers through a dramatic, yet fun, story, but also inspires feelings of reflection.

Belinda Lei, Author of Not THAT Rich Image


Belinda Lei is a Southern California native and an avid reader of all genres from thriller to fantasy — but especially young adult novels. She is a Yale MBA candidate, proud Georgetown Hoya, Managing Director of an anti-bullying non-profit, software engineer, and a former strategy consultant. In her spare time, she can be found cooking, spoiling her chubby cat and grumpy dog, and binge watching dramas.


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