My love affair with the Chinese web novels started when I watched a drama and found that it was based on a webnovel. And so, I fell into this rabbit hole called Danmei literature, especially the Chinese M/M romance webnovels. While it is easier to love these stories, most of the novels lack a good translation, and so never finding their intended international audience. While searching for interesting webnovels, I came across the site Chaleuria which hosts some amazing books. One of the most entertaining webnovel I have read(twice) last year was Fake slackers
Author: Mu Gua Huang
Original Publisher: JJWXC.
Illustrator: Lina Ngo
My Rating: 4/5
After class placements were decided, the school’s two infamous ‘problem youth’ not only shared the same class but the same desk. They’re clearly good at studies but pretend to be slackers. Faking their own lack of knowledge, from head to toe, they just keep meandering further down the path towards academic oblivion. Have you heard the grapevine about the two older students who always fight over the last place in class? This story is a serious comedy about the little matters of growing up and learning about yourself.
The story is of two boys -Xie Ye & He Zhao who were infamous as Tyrants of East & West wing of the respectively in their first year. In the second year, it so happens that both the lowest performers of the school are placed in the same class and end up sharing the last bench in the class. From their first meeting ( which happens outside the school) to the last scene of the book which follows these two to college, the book is a laugh riot. One is aloof & appears hot-tempered though silently follows his overconfident & shameless deskmate in his misadventures.
From the earlier part of the story itself, it is clear that both of them are actually having a very high IQ and are capable of being topper not just in the school but perhaps the whole city. Still, for reasons of their own, unknown to even each other they compete to be at the lowest rank. They do not cheat, do not disturb others as long as their sleep & games are not bothered, and apart from their low scores, are almost model students. They both are the undisputed kings in an online game that has battles fought on skills in Chinese, English , Maths etc. The gaming part and the users on the game make for a really funny sub-plot.
Gradually other students in the class, instead of being scared of their old reputation, start liking and protecting them not just from their scores but also to keep their relationship secret from the school, fearing it will not be good for their reputation. I did not know whether to laugh or cry at their homeroom teacher's efforts to make them learn something and improve their scores. And then once more they totally made their teachers cry when they decide to quit acting and show their true colors. Between these two milestones, is a journey of discovery, care, love, and weird blunders.
It is a sweet and really hilarious situation that these boys and the class find themselves in over the period of two years leading to admission in college. But along this romance, there is a deeper plot of friendship, family, loyalty, and guilt from some choices that others make for us.
I loved every single character from this class and almost felt sad when the book ended the first time. I re-read the book last month because I really needed that dose of laughter that this story guarantees. Pick it up for good fun and you will not be disappointed. The book has a lot of kisses and fluff scenes and a few graphic sex scenes too, so if that is not your preferred genre, do skip [ those scenes, not the book I hope ;) ]
Though I read the story partially on the site, You can now buy the ebook from the site or on the kindle store. Chaleuria is a fully licensed novel site for your Boys Love/danmei/yaoi fix. I recommend the site as I found the translations really good to read.