Chick-Lit Pasifika-Style or How to B(l)end the Formula: Lani Young’s Scarlet Series

Publication year
Contemporary Women's Writing

Here's the abstract:

This article focuses on Scarlet Lies (2015), Scarlet Secrets (2015), and Scarlet Redemption (2019), the popular romance series by Samoan writer Lani Wendt Young. The novels deploy the recognizable chick-lit formula to narrate the predicaments and romantic adventures of a young Samoan woman in what could be defined, following Selina Tusitala Marsh, as “‘Chick Lit’ Pasifika-style” (“Aotearoa Reads”). My main argument is that Young b(l)ends the conventions of chick lit both by hybridizing some of its defining features and by repoliticizing the formula. While dealing with commonplace preoccupations of chick-lit heroines, the novels serve as effective tools for social commentary as they raise criticism toward both Samoan and western societies, reflect on the neocolonial and neoliberal structures affecting the lives of her young Samoan characters, and introduce discussions on culturally specific issues.