The team behind The Nanny Diariesand Citizen Girlreturns with another breezy chick lit portrayal of a woman wronged and, eventually, empowered. When Kate Hollis's childhood chum Laura calls from their Vermont hometown and announces the arrival of Jake Sharpe, a mega rock star and Kate's high school sweetheart, Kate jumps on a plane from Charleston, S.C. (where she's a sustainable development consultant) and makes for idyllic Croton Falls. Through it's been 13 years, Kate still has a primal need to confront not only the boy who abandoned her before the senior prom, but the musical pirate who used her personal life as fodder for his most celebrated songs and cheated his high school bandmates out of deserved recognition and royalties. Chapters switch back and forth between the present and the pivotal middle and high school years where Kate (then Katie) and Jake did the first-love thing: readers get to see Jake's growing he's-just-not-that-into-you-ness and how (surprise!) their Zima-fueled love (it was the '90s) was idealized. While one spends much of the book wanting to shout at Kate to give it up, go back to Charleston and get on with it, McLaughlin and Kraus do get the nagging need for closure in even the shallowest relationships comically right. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Dedicationby Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
Kate Hollis’s ex-boyfriend’s face plasters newsstands and TV, the Internet, and the multiplex. Jake Sharpe is one of the biggest recording stars on the planet, and every song he’s famous for is about Kate. For over a decade his soundtrack has chased her - from the gym to the supermarket, from the dentist’s office to the bars. Now thirty-year-old Kate gets the call that Jake has finally landed back in their Vermont hometown for an MTV special. The moment she has been waiting for has arrived.
On the eve of their prom, Jake Sharpe vanished, resurfacing when his song “Losing” - about his and Kate’s first sexual experience - shot to the top of the Billboard charts. And the hits kept coming, each more personal than the one before.
Now Kate gets her chance to confront Jake and reclaim her past. But after eleven years of enduring protracted and far-from-private heartbreak, everyone in Kate’s life has a stake in how this plays out. Kate must risk betraying the friends Jake abandoned, the bandmates whose songs he plundered, and her own parents, who fear this will dredge up a shared past more painful than any of them want to acknowledge. But after getting the call in the dead of night and jumping on a plane, can she turn back now?
Newsweek dubbed The Nanny Diaries “a national phenomenon” and the New Republic proclaimed, “Thank God for Citizen Girl.” Now McLaughlin and Kraus have written a poignant, humorous tale about modern celebrity obsession and coming of age during the divorce boom. With flawless depictions of the 1980s, a charismatic heroine, and their signature biting wit, the authors offer upanother lively and hilarious tale of a smart young woman looking for satisfaction in the chaos of contemporary culture.
"Diabolically funny." -- The New York Times
"McLaughlin and Kraus have created an amazingly distinct voice...cynical and wry, but also compassionate." -- Newsday
"McLaughlin and Kraus deftly satirize post-feminist, postmodern, twenty-first-century America." -- Booklist
"This third effort from McLaughlin and Kraus is spot on...a moving story. A bittersweet coming-of-age tale with flashes of wit and an especially sympathetic heroine."
"McLaughlin and Kraus get the nagging need for closure comically right."
-- Publishers Weekly
- Atria Books
- Publication date:
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Read an Excerpt
By Emma McLaughlin
AtriaCopyright © 2007 Emma McLaughlin
All right reserved.
December 22, 2005
"Laura?" I ask into the phone, disoriented, voice sandy with sleep.
"Yeah," I murmur, my head sinking, pushing the receiver deeper into the pillow.
"He's here," she repeats. "In Croton."
Her words register and my eyes fly open. I sit up.
"Awake now?" she asks.
"Yes." I look over to my bedside table, tilting up straighter to see over the
stack of books. The glowing numbers on the clock read 4:43 a.m. "How -- "
"Mick's been throwing up -- some kind of stomach flu slash candy cane binge
with the baby-sitter. I look out the bathroom window and his mother's house
is lit up like Disney World, called the sheriff's office and they confirmed it.
He's here. He's here, Kate."
I fling off the duvet. "I'm coming." Dropping the cordless into its metallic
stand, I swing both feet to the smooth wood floor of my bedroom.
He's here -- there. Jake Sharpe. Of course it's not three P.M. on
a Saturday. Of course you reappear in the middle of the night like some
Adrenaline surges. I grab yoga pants from the chair, pull them up under my
nightslip, and tug the little black cardigan from the doorknob. Throwing open
the closet doors, I stand on tiptoe, fingernails catching the edgeof my
suitcase handle just enough to avalanche it off the shelf, business trip
toiletries raining on my head and rolling across the hardwood. I scramble to
retrieve the miniature bottles, an anxiety-dream sweat dampening the silk of
my slip. Only I'm awake. And Laura's flare finally hovers in the night sky over
the snowy hills of our hometown.
Indignation fuels the whipping open of drawers, fistfuls of underwear,
T-shirts, and pajamas filling the case, my mind moving ahead to the important
items -- skinny jeans, date sweater, dangly earrings -- the heels that knock me
up to five-nine. The two zipper toggles collide and I shove my brass travel
lock through the holes.
Rolling down the hall I push my feet into my sneakers, yank my trench from its
hook, open the front door to the cricket quiet of my suburban street, and reach
into my pocket for the keys -- shit, my purse. I whirl in the dark apartment,
spotting it hiding on the kitchen table among the boxes of unwritten Christmas
cards, rolls of wrapping paper, and my laptop. No. I don't need my laptop. Just
bring the binder to read on the plane. Then I might start the report. Then I
might need my laptop. Just bring the laptop. I try to unclip it from the
docking station, but my fingers fumble. I flick the light switch on, startled
by the jarring brightness. But, oh, this is good, yes, okay, good, light helps.
Okay, reality check. I take in my reflection in the kitchen window, face
creased from sleep, eyes puffed from deprivation of same, brown hair tangled
from passing out in forgotten ponytail holder.
This is insane.
I flick the light back off, swing the front door shut, stalk back to the
bedroom, flop on top of the bed, and pull the still-warm duvet over me
like a taco. Letting the keys drop from my grip, I will the adrenaline
away, will back the peaceful dead-to-the-world repose I was beneath just
Sleep, Kate. Go back...to sleep. You've been working nonstop -- the conference,
the meetings, the forty-two-hour round-trip to Argentina. This bed was all you
could think of. Aren't you comfortable? And relaxed? Living your life? Sleeping
in your bed? Isn't it nice to be an adult...who can get into her own bed...in
her own apartment...and go to sleep...on her own timing. My pulse deepens.
And not be reduced to some stupid...knee-jerk...adolescent...obsessive...
lunatic behavior...just because Jake's finally shown up -- finally shown up --
I sit up. Breathless.
And within minutes find myself flying along Route 26, counting off the exits
to the Charleston airport.
I pull the suitcase from the backseat and lock the Prius with a double
beep, glancing up once again at the LONG-TERM PARKING sign. I ignore the
implications. This is a swing through, that's all. An eight-hundred-mile
The sky still black behind me, I pass between the sliding glass doors into a
brick-walled trough of canned air and canned music. The lone ticket agent,
wearing three-step eyes and impressively pronounced lipstick for predawn,
smiles in greeting. "Checking in?" she asks. I blink at the crimson foil
poinsettia pinned to her uniform. "Checking in?" she repeats.
"Yes?" I answer uncertainly.
She looks at me inquisitively as I look at her inquisitively. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. Yes. I'm going to Croton Falls, Vermont. Burlington is closest, but I'll
take whatever you have." I drop my purse on the counter and rest my messenger
bag heavy with my laptop between my ankles.
"Can I see your I.D.?"
I flip open my wallet and slide the plastic over.
She looks down at the card with a frown. "Solutions for Sustainability?"
"Sorry." I trade her my office badge for my license.
"Actually I don't have one, but I need to get on the first flight. What do you
She taps the keyboard, and I watch her stare intently at the obscured screen,
all the possible routes back to him. "Well, let's see, there is one seat left
on the commuter to Atlanta, then a two-hour layover, which would get you into
LaGuardia by three and then another layover..."
"Is that really the earliest I can get there?" I lift my wheelie onto the metal
She tears the outdated baggage tag from the handle. "Two days before
Christmas -- yes."
"Right. Great. Thank you."
"If the weather cooperates you should be in Burlington by six P.M." Almost
twelve hours from now. Rock on.
I take my ticket, with its two layovers and one leg in cargo, and make my way
to the gate, wishing for a Starbucks, but settling for a man selling the bare
basics from a brown Formica cart.
Slinging my messenger bag into the overhead bin I take my seat in row thirteen
with a bruised banana and large black coffee. I nestle against the plastic
wallpaper and let my hair down from its makeshift topknot, my lids drooping
shut, blocking out the sensation of everyone settling in around me.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has informed us we may be hitting
some turbulence, so we will be turning the seat belt sign back on.
Please make sure that they are fastened." I reflexively open my eyes to
double-check that I'm still buckled in beneath my neglected binder on
Argentina's revised pollution regulations. My gaze locks with the
headline of my seatmate's US Weekly. "First photos ever! Jake Sharpe and
Eden Millay spotted ring shopping in St. Bart's. Is it WEDDING BELLS?"
We hit an air pocket and the plane drops, my stomach lurching.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're now beginning our descent." Twisting the opening
of my bag toward me with my foot to keep it level, I pray those aren't
I peer out the window for some visual landmark to orient me -- a landing strip,
the distant lights of Burlington, but the blackness seems thick and
impermeable. Then the clouds clear the full moon, the snow-covered fields
suddenly gleaming as if lit by a flashbulb. I rub my eyes as the wheels touch
A chapped-cheeked luggage handler emerges through the plastic flaps from the
tarmac, pulling the laden metal cart behind him, trailing tread marks of sleet
on the tile. He deposits its contents before us, and immediately there's a
flurry of grabbing hands, the snapping of handles extending, as my fellow
passengers take what's theirs and go. I stare for a moment in disbelief at the
empty steel trolly. Shit. "Sir?" I make a beeline to where the man is checking
off arriving flights on a clipboard. "Is that all the bags?"
"Sorry, ma'am, there're baggage delays coming out of New York. If yours isn't
there, check with Velma at the desk. She can help you fill out a report."
I drop my head. "Thank you."
As Velma and I fill out the forms she repeatedly promises with a big smile
that they will bring my little rolling bag to my door the minute it arrives
in Burlington, the minute. Only, she concludes brusquely, as she taps the
layers of forms neatly back together on the countertop, it's Christmas and
she can't make any promises. I nod, heaving my bags back onto my shoulder,
the realization sinking in that I'm going to be trying to make someone regret
his entire existence in yoga pants. I walk to the sliding glass doors and --
ohfuckohfuckohfuck -- run through the snowdrifts in my sneakers to the few
waiting taxis, their mufflers steaming. I slam the door shut behind me with a
rusty squeak. "Hi, I'm going to Croton Falls, please."
"Croton!" the driver coughs, resting the cigarette on his lip to shift the car
into drive. "My cousin's in Fayville -- with the Christmas traffic, that
could be an hour, easy."
"I know." I let my bags slide off my shoulder onto the torn vinyl seat. "I'll
pay your return fare." I re-count the fold of twenties from the LaGuardia ATM.
"Suit yourself." He grumbles our destination to his dispatcher on the CB duct
taped to the dashboard.
"And, sir?" I flap the clammy Lycra hems away from my bare
ankles. "Would you mind rolling up the window?"
He flicks the glowing butt onto the road as he reaches for the circular end of
the handle. "Didn't think it was gonna be snowing?"
I huddle against the maroon vinyl, tucking my legs up under me in an effort to
warm the damp fabric. "I didn't think it was going to be December."
Copyright © 2007 by Italics, LLC
Excerpted from Dedication by Emma McLaughlin Copyright © 2007 by Emma McLaughlin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are the New York Times bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries, Citizen Girl, Nanny Returns, and the young adult novels, The Real Real and Over You. They are the cofounders of TheFinishedThought.com, a book coaching firm, and work together in New York City. For more information visit EmmaAndNicola.com.
- New York, New York
- Place of Birth:
- McLaughlin: Elmira, New York; Kraus: New York, New York
- B.A., Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU (McLaughlin, 1996; Kraus, 1995)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is full of surprises! I just wonder why Kate waited so many years for someone who left her at prom alone. It's kind of funny toward the end when she states "it was just 3 minutes 47 seconds" or something like that. I was lughing very hard. I read this book in 6th grade but I didn't understand. Now I understand it after reading it seven times. :) fun! lol! I love this book and I am going to buy it. I love this cover too its amazing!
After having a particularly harrowing, literally life-changing week, I rambled into the library, searching for the perfect book. You know the kind. The book that cozies up to you, amuses you, confounds you, and ultimately seduces you. That is exactly what I found in this charming novel crammed in the rows of piled bookshelves and emerald and gold carpet. McLaughlin and Kraus are excellent writers not because they write with funny witticisms or because they write good romances, but because they present real people in real-life situations. All in all, Dedication was an exceptional book that I particularly recommend.
Fun, quick read that I didn't want to put down. From the opening page, I was curious to find out what would happen next. I liked the writing style, the storyline, and the 80's references. The authors did a great job of giving enough background on the characters to make me care what was happening in their lives. The ending was not what I expected and at first I was not sure I agreed, but upon thinking it over for a bit I decided it was actually perfect. If you're looking for an amusing and entertaining book to immerse yourself in, check this one out.
Honestly i really did not like this book. Sure it had it's moments but the two main characters (jake and katie) were both too involved with their own lives to realize what each other needed. The ending is a complete let down! It leaves you hanging at a point that is just plain annoying. Don't waste your money is my advice.
This book is one of the best books i've ever read. The story line is great & its well written. I've read it 4 times and it just keeps getting better!!!!
Kate Hollis has just gotten the call she's been waiting for years to get. Her ex-boyfriend, Jake Sharpe, has just returned to their hometown. Yes, Jake Sharpe. The Jake Sharpe who's a mega-rockstar. The Jake Sharpe who was her high school boyfriend and who broke her heart when he disappeared on her right before prom night. The Jake Sharpe who has made fame and fortune detailing their sexual relationship and all of Kate's family issues in his songs. Now it's payback time. McLaughlin and Kraus tell this story by alternating between the 18 year old Kate and the 30 year old one. Kate is now an accomplished professional, but still haunted by the betrayals Jake has done. She has maintained a close relationship with her best friend in high school, and comes home to confront Jake when her friend calls with the news that he has hit town. Even her parents worry about what the result of such a confrontation will be, but Kate is determined. She feels that she can't move on until this issue from her past is resolved. Lovers of "chick lit" will love this book. It is written in a light and breezy style, with twists and turns in the plot. I think it would be incredibly difficult to write a book with someone, and I wondered if they had split the writing with one author doing the 18 year old Kate and the other the adult one. If they did, it wasn't possible to tell as the book flowed easily between the two eras. This book is recommended for readers looking for an enjoyable read and those interested in how women resolve life issues.
The story starts out slow and is made tedious by the authors writing style. Though they do have you wondering from the beginning what could Jake have done that was so bad. The second half of the book, the story picks up, as you discover the gist of the problem. I have a feeling a lot of people won't like the ending, but I thought it was exactly right for the way the authors developed and wrote the characters.
The dynamic duo of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have done it again by creating a funny and entertaining book for for chick lit lovers everywhere. The book is told from the main character's perspective in two time periods. Her high school years, and her life as an accomplished 30 year old with a score to settle. Kate Hollis is out for revenge, on her ex-boyfriend Jake. Who has made his whole music career out of revealing what went on in their high school relationship, including her secrets and her personal family problems. Kate was a fun character. She seems so fearless. This could be her only chance at confronting her ex about basically exploiting their relationship in order to build his career, an she is ready to make the most out of it. In the beginning I really didn't get what was going on in this book at all. It was just confusing to me, but after a while things started to make sense and I got a lot more into the book. The plot was interesting to say the least and it kept my nose in the book. I enjoyed the high school years part of the book more than the present day telling of the book. The high school sections were a lot more believable, and they seemed like real actions and emotions a high schooler would feel going through what Kate went through. Though when it came to the present day sections, I found it hard to believe that it was a thirty year old telling the story. I had to flip back to the beginning of the chapters many times to see if it was high school Kate talking or 30 year old Kate. Besides that, the book was enjoyable. There were many ups and downs in the book, that throw you off whatever idea you will have about how the book will end. Jake and Kate went through a lot of roller coasters in their relationship that I think a lot of girls can relate to. Through the high school and middle school years, Jake was a wonderful character. But as he showed up in Kate's adult life, I started to question his compassion, and how he viewed women as a whole. You'll understand what I mean if you read the book. In the end, I did enjoy this book. I loved how the book ended and I felt Kate finally womened up and became the strong 30 year old she should have been all along. I Recommend: this book to all Chick-lit fans!
This book had me at the first sentence. It was clever, witty, moving, riveting, all of those adjectives and more. I procrastinated on other projects just so that I could read this book. I love it when that happens! Getting lost in a good book is one of my favorite things in the world. Usually switching back and forth between past and present is confusing and irritating, but not the case here. Even without the titles of the chapters, the reader could tell which time period they were in by the descriptions of the clothes and the fads and the music. I can't believe what people wore in the 80's! Glad I was a bit young for that crazy fashion...And the end of each chapter left you wanting more, but kept you in suspense as you learned more about the family and friends from the past or the dramatic events of the present. The end made me a bit nervous. Katie did something I did not expect her to do, especially after she had been so strong and stubborn throughout the whole book. It makes sense when you think about the connection between her and Jake, but still, I didn't want her to do it, and I was afraid it was going to ruin my entire reading experience of this book. Thankfully my reservations were resolved by the last page turn. The entire book just worked. The flow of the dialogue, the mix of characters, everything leading up to the end of the story, it all added up to a wonderful read. I enjoyed "The Nanny Diaries", written by the same authors, and I was ecstatic that this one was just as good if not better.
I really couldn't put this book down. I enjoyed the way it cross referenced her life between childhood and present day. I enjoyed the characters as well, especially Laura!