Title: 抛弃渣攻后我和影帝HE了 (En: I Found My Happy Ending With An Award-Winning Actor After Dumping My Scum Boyfriend)
Publisher: JJWXC (http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=4213695)
Status: Complete (86 chapters + 1 bonus chapter)
This story combines three popular BL tropes: dumping your scum boyfriend for someone better, rebirth, and also age difference between the MC (Ye JunQiao) and ML (Ren YuanZhou).
The jacket copy of the novel makes it sound like popcorn literature but what makes this story stand out among all the other stories with the same elements is the way the author handles the tropes.
The person reborn doesn’t have all of his memories and the scum boyfriend has a believable and realistic reason for being scum. Even the age difference, which can be problematic, is dealt with in as respectful a manner as possible. There is about a decade of difference between the MC and the ML, but because one acts older than his age and the other younger than his age, the dynamics between the couple is not awkward.
There is no first love at sight, just a slowly unfurling relationship that feels organic and natural. For a large part of the story, the Ye JunQiao and Ren YuanZhou are not lovers. Instead, Ye JunQiao is very aware from the beginning of their relationship that he is older and does his best to take care of Ren YuanZhou as he would a younger family member. As for Ren YuanZhou, his attitude towards Ye JunQiao slowly changes from distrust to love, catalyzed by some of the memories he regains from his past life. And when their relationship begins to change to a romantic one, they both move forward cautiously and respectfully, with self-reflection and awareness of what this change entails.
What I enjoyed the most about this particular novel is that this is a slow burning story of two people coming together, finding each other at just the right time. It is refreshing for both characters to not only acknowledge the age gap but also its impact on their relationship and their future. The world they exist in is realistic, it’s a world that I can picture myself inhabiting, which helps make Ye JunQiao and Ren YuanZhou more believable as characters.
The best way I can describe this story is that it’s a realistic fairytale. Just as there are idealistic aspects to the story, there are also regrets. But to me, those regrets only emphasize the sweetness of Ye JunQiao and Ren YuanZhou’s relationship.