The Smart One and the Pretty One

( 45 )

Overview

"This sparkling novel about two sisters is both witty and stylish. Even if you don't have a sister of your own, you won't be able to resist LaZebnik's charming take on modern relationships. Read it!"
- Holly Peterson, bestselling author of The Manny

When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she ...

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Overview

"This sparkling novel about two sisters is both witty and stylish. Even if you don't have a sister of your own, you won't be able to resist LaZebnik's charming take on modern relationships. Read it!"
- Holly Peterson, bestselling author of The Manny

When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.
Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .

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Editorial Reviews

<b>Aleksandra Walker</b> - Booklist

Ava is the smart sister, an LA. lawyer who hasn't dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chaufifeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old "contract" betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can't believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence 2006, writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters. Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one or both, readers will find this book irresistible.
Marie Claire
"A witty romp."
From the Publisher
Ava is the smart sister, an LA. lawyer who hasn't dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chaufifeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old "contract" betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can't believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence (2006), writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters. Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one (or both), readers will find this book irresistible.—Aleksandra Walker, Booklist

"A witty romp."—Marie Claire

LaZebnik (Knitting Under the Influence; Same As It Never Was ) has written another alluring tale of two seemingly different sisters, Ava and Lauren. Both think they have the answers for how the other sibling should live, ignoring some glaring gaps in their own personal history. Ava is the successful lawyer who can always be found in the frumpiest of frocks, whereas her younger sister lights up a room with her fashionable wardrobe but is now financially depleted because of it. When Ava decides to have Lauren sign a contract that states she will spend money only on necessities, Lauren humorously and affectionately decides that Ava should be held accountable to a "contract" their mother agreed to over 20 years ago that betrothed her to one Russell Markowitz. After Lauren tracks Russell down in an attempt to hook him up with her sister, Ava meets him and is erroneously convinced that Lauren is more his stylish type. It takes tender family bonding and some self-discovery for the two to realize that they are more alike than they thought. Recommended for fans of intelligent chick lit and all public libraries.—Anne Miskewitch, Chicago P.L., Library Journal

Aleksandra Walker

Ava is the smart sister, an LA. lawyer who hasn't dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chaufifeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old "contract" betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can't believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence (2006), writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters. Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one (or both), readers will find this book irresistible.
Booklist
Publishers Weekly

In the winning latest from Knitting Under the Influence author LaZebnik, sisters Ava and Lauren Nickerson look a lot alike, but hyperpractical attorney Ava, 29, wears dowdy clothes and holds men at arm's length, while flashy, debt-ridden boutique owner Lauren, a few years younger, goes for the quick romantic fix. Drawn together in L.A. by their mother's illness, they determine to straighten each other out. Soon Ava ropes Lauren onto a budget, while Lauren, having uncovered a playful contract in which their parents jokingly betrothed Ava at age eight to a neighbor's young son, decides to find out if the grown-up two-who are strangers-might indeed make a match. The fact that fiancé-designate Russell Markowitz proves to be twice-divorced presents no obstacle to Lauren, especially after she learns that he works in the clothing industry and might be of assistance in making over Ava. Despite the lightweight premise, moments of real depth combine with witty dialogue as LaZebnik deftly spins each turn convincingly to avoid easy answers. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

LaZebnik (Knitting Under the Influence; Same As It Never Was) has written another alluring tale of two seemingly different sisters, Ava and Lauren. Both think they have the answers for how the other sibling should live, ignoring some glaring gaps in their own personal history. Ava is the successful lawyer who can always be found in the frumpiest of frocks, whereas her younger sister lights up a room with her fashionable wardrobe but is now financially depleted because of it. When Ava decides to have Lauren sign a contract that states she will spend money only on necessities, Lauren humorously and affectionately decides that Ava should be held accountable to a "contract" their mother agreed to over 20 years ago that betrothed her to one Russell Markowitz. After Lauren tracks Russell down in an attempt to hook him up with her sister, Ava meets him and is erroneously convinced that Lauren is more his stylish type. It takes tender family bonding and some self-discovery for the two to realize that they are more alike than they thought. Recommended for fans of intelligent chick lit and all public libraries.
—Anne Miskewitch

Kirkus Reviews
Sisters reunite over a family cancer scare. Lauren is busy living large in New York City when she gets a disturbing e-mail from back home in Los Angeles. Across the country, her big sister Ava gets the same e-mail at her law firm. The news: The sisters' mother has early-stage breast cancer and will be undergoing radiation therapy. With little tying her to her job and city, the peripatetic Lauren retreats home to California. But she can't leave her troubles behind: Along with loads of cute outfits Lauren is packing a nasty credit-card problem (she simply can't say no when it comes to cute strappy sandals). More serious sister Ava doesn't share this live-for-the-day attitude. For Ava, life is about sensible Aerosol shoes and racking up billable hours at the firm. When the two girls move in together it's the traditional odd-couple scenario: Lauren's the clotheshorse with a zillion face creams and Ava's the tidy one who sticks to a budget. Nerves are frayed as the sisters meddle in each other's lives. Despite her protestations, Lauren offers the excitement that Ava's life needs. But rather than embrace her younger sibling's zesty lifestyle and sunny outlook, Ava decides to teach Lauren about responsibility and puts her on a tight financial leash. In retribution, Lauren decides to become a stealthy matchmaker. Of course, each girl has the other's best interests at heart, but the well-worn story line is pretty much a snooze, and comparisons between this work and Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes are inevitable. LaZebnik (Knitting Under the Influence, 2006, etc.) understands the dynamic between sisters, but her characters are stereotypes and they weigh down the already dowdy plot. Flatter than aballet slipper. Agent: Alexis Hurley and Kim Witherspoon/InkWell Management
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446582063
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/10/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,472,053
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV writer husband and four children. She is the author of the novels Knitting Under the Influence (5 Spot, 2006) and Same as it Never Was and co-author of Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life.

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Read an Excerpt


The Smart One and the Pretty One


By Claire LaZebnik
5 Spot
Copyright © 2008

Claire LaZebnik
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-446-58206-3



Chapter One Your sister is on the phone," Jeremy said as Ava approached his desk and snagged a Hershey's Kiss out of his candy dish. Jeremy was a perfectly good assistant in other ways, but his endless supply of chocolates made him an indispensable one, in Ava's opinion.

Ava looked at her watch. "She wants to talk now?"

"Should I tell her you'll call back?" he asked. Jeremy had sweet big brown eyes and thick, tousled hair. There was something slightly babyish about his round chin and full lips that made Ava feel mildly maternal toward him, though he was only a few years younger than her.

"No, it's all right. I'll take it." Ava went into her office, shut the door, and punched the speaker button on her phone.

"Transferring," Jeremy's voice said, and then there was a beep and Lauren's voice came out of the speaker. "Ava? Are you there?"

"Yep. Just got here." She shrugged off her coat.

"Really? So late?" Lauren's voice had the breathy quality of a young girl, but she lingered on her s's in a way that was oddly sultry. The combination suited her: in person she managed to be simultaneously childlike and alluring, with wildly curly dark hair, big eyes, a pointed chin, and a small, curvy figure.

In theory, she and Ava resembled each other-they were both small and dark-haired and anyone could immediately identify them as siblings-but Ava, whose hair was straight and who knew herself to be neither childlike nor alluring, didn't see it at all.

"It's nine a.m.," Ava said. She hoisted her heavy briefcase onto her desk. "Three-hour time difference-remember?" She extracted her laptop and a few folders, which she arranged in a neat pile on her desk, squaring the corners.

"Yeah, I know. I just figured you got up with the sun and made it to the office by six. Hey, A?"

"What?"

"How seriously do you have to take letters from a collection agency?"

Ava digested that for a moment and then the weight of it made her sink into her desk chair. "You want to start at the beginning?"

"Not really."

A pause. "Okay, then it depends a little on how many you've gotten and how much time has passed since the initial notice, but ... I'd certainly take them pretty seriously. Who's sending you the letters?"

"Who isn't?" Lauren said with a little laugh. "I'm up to my ass in debt, Ava. No, deeper. Up to my ears."

"Why?" Ava said. "I mean, you rent your apartment, you have a job, you don't have kids-"

"My job is the problem," Lauren said. "I can't go out there and buy stuff for the boutique without seeing things I want for myself."

"Wanting something and having to own it are two different things."

"Not for me."

"Well, that explains why you're up to your earholes in debt," Ava said. "So do you need me to lend you some money?"

"No, no," Lauren said. "I don't want your money. Unless, you know ... you feel like you want to-" She cut herself off. "No, really, I don't. But I thought maybe if you wrote some of these debt collectors-you know, on your letterhead-maybe used some legalese, sounded official-"

"And tell them what exactly?" Ava said. "That you're above the law and shouldn't have to pay money you owe?"

"Would that work?" said Lauren with a hopeful little laugh.

"You need to talk to a debt counselor, Lauren. Someone who'll contact your creditors, consolidate all your debts, and set up a payment schedule for you. Do you want me to get some names for you?"

"Would I still have to pay it all back?"

"Of course."

"What about declaring bankruptcy? Don't people do that all the time?"

"It's a morally corrupt way to avoid accountability," Ava said seriously.

Another little laugh. "But besides that-"

"It should only ever be a last resort," Ava said. She stood up, which made her notice a small stain at the bottom of her sweater that hadn't been visible in the mirror of her badly lit bedroom that morning. "I'll e-mail you about the debt counselors as soon as I get some references. In the meantime, cancel all your credit cards and stop buying stuff. Make yourself a strict budget and stick to it. And if you can't stand being around beautiful, expensive things, get a different job. Did I mention that you should stop buying stuff?"

"I get it," Lauren said. "How are you doing?"

"Fine," Ava said. "I got my TiVo fixed."

"Woo-hoo. It's an exciting life you lead."

There was a knock on the office door and Ava walked over and opened it. "It had been broken for a while," she said, raising her voice so Lauren could still hear her. "I was missing all my favorite shows." Jeremy was waiting outside the door, a steaming cup of coffee in his hand. She mouthed her thanks as she took the cup, then said out loud, "I need to get to work, Lauren."

"Yeah, okay," Lauren said. "Bye. Oh, wait-one last question. I almost forgot."

"What?"

"Hypothetically ... A landlord can't just suddenly evict you for not paying your rent, right?"

Ava groaned.

* * *

Lauren's boss had asked her to cover the boutique that afternoon. Normally Lauren was the one who went to trunk shows and designer showrooms while her boss manned the store, but Saralyn had promised a friend with a new handbag line that she would check it out herself. Lauren didn't mind. She liked working with customers. She knew what looked good on people and enjoyed creating outfits for them. And once she had put them in something really spectacular, she was often inspired to try on something similar, so she frequently ended a day in the store with a bag of her own purchases-bought, of course, with her employee discount.

It was a fairly slow weekday, and after she had helped a preteen and her mother find something they could agree on for the girl's first middle school dance-the girl wanted it to look sexy, the mother didn't, and Lauren got them to compromise on a tube dress that was form-hugging but didn't actually reveal anything-she was all alone in the store until a young man entered.

He was probably about twenty-eight, in good shape, and wearing a blue wool suit and a dark red tie. He could have wandered in from any of the financial or legal offices that surrounded their downtown store. She wasn't crazy about his goatee, but it didn't matter: any guy who came into their store was taken, or he wouldn't be shopping there.

"Hi there," she said, looking up from the sweaters she was refolding and stacking. "How are you doing?"

"Great." He studied her briefly. Lauren was wearing a very short skirt with go-go boots and a tight heather-brown cropped sweater that was much shorter than the crimson tissue tee she wore underneath. "I have a feeling you'll be a big help," he said with a pleasant nod. "You're so stylish. I need a present for my girlfriend."

"What's the occasion?"

"Birthday," he said. "It's today, actually."

"Today?" Lauren said. "You sure put it off till the last minute, didn't you?"

"I kind of forgot." He gave a sheepish smile. "She had to remind me this morning."

"Ouch," she said. "That's why BirthdayAlarm-dot-com was invented, you know."

He held out his hands in a gesture of supplication. "So long as I get it in before midnight, I'm okay, right?"

"Don't worry-we'll find her something fantastic. Did you have anything in mind?"

He indicated her outfit. "How about that sweater you're wearing? I wouldn't mind seeing her in that."

She adjusted the sweater slightly. It was one of her favorites. For that month. But she hadn't bought it at the boutique. "You sure you don't want to go with jewelry? You don't have to worry about size and everyone loves to get it."

"You know best."

"Let me show you what we've got." She circled around behind the jewelry counter, which was also the cash register stand, and sorted through the necklaces hanging on the wooden display tree. She slid a long silver link chain off a branch and held it up. "This is really popular right now. It's extra-long, but it can be doubled up if she wants to wear it choker-length. I bought one myself a couple of weeks ago."

"How much?" he said.

She squinted at the tag. "A hundred and twenty-nine dollars."

He gave a low whistle. "That's a little more than I was hoping to spend."

That was actually fairly inexpensive for their store. "Okay," Lauren said, slipping the necklace back into place. "We'll find something else." She poked through the other necklaces, checking the price tags, and then pounced on one that was less than a hundred dollars and very simple, just a teardrop red stone hanging from a delicate silver chain. It wasn't exciting but it was completely unobjectionable.

She slid the necklace off the post and laid the stone across the palm of her hand. "This is it," she said. "This is the one you want." Men shopping for gifts liked to be led to a decision-that much she had learned from her years of selling to them.

"It's pretty," he said obediently. "How much?"

"Eighty-nine."

"You know what would help?" he said. "If you put it on. So I could see what it looks like. Would you mind?"

"Not at all," Lauren said, but the clasp was a tricky one and the little hook kept slipping out of the link.

The guy said, "Let me help," so she handed the necklace to him and gathered her long hair in one hand to bare her neck as she turned her back to him. He leaned over the counter that was between them and strung the chain out above her chest, then brought it around to the nape of her neck. His fi ngers brushed against her skin-possibly more than was necessary, but she wasn't sure and decided to ignore it.

Once it was fastened, she turned again with a bright smile, letting her hair drop back into place. She touched the necklace to reassure herself that the stone hit just below the hollow at the base of her neck. "There," she said. "How beautiful is that? If you don't buy it for your girlfriend, I might have to buy it for myself. And I can't afford to go around buying myself any more jewelry, so you'd better take it."

"It looks great," he said. "But I'm not sure the necklace can take the credit. I bet everything looks good on you."

"Hardly." She reached up behind her neck again. Fortunately, it was easier to undo the clasp than to fasten it. "Shall I wrap it?"

"It's a go," he said with a nod.

While she was tying a ribbon around the box, another customer walked in. Lauren looked up and said, "Hi-be right with you," and the woman said "Take your time" and wandered over to the sweaters.

"There you are!" Lauren said, slipping the box into a bag and handing it to the guy. "I hope she enjoys it."

"Me too," he said and took the box out of the bag and held it out to her. Lauren stared at it uncomprehendingly. Then he said, "It's for you."

"Excuse me?"

"It looked so good on you," he said. "I think you should have it."

"You're so funny," Lauren said, trying to pass it off as a joke, give them both an out. Flirting with a male customer was one thing-it was practically in her job description-but the flirting was supposed to end as soon as the charge was approved.

Apparently he hadn't read the rulebook. "No, really. Take it." He put the box on the counter between them and pushed it toward her.

"I can't." She folded her arms. "Take it home and give it to your girlfriend. She's going to love it."

"If you're not comfortable taking a gift from a stranger, then give me a chance to get to know you. Have dinner with me tonight."

"I doubt there'll be enough birthday cake for all three of us," Lauren said. "That's not what I meant-"

"I know." She gave the box a backhanded slap. It flew across the counter and the guy had to make a dive for it before it hit the floor. She took advantage of the moment to escape from behind the counter and quickly hail the new customer, who had some question about hat sizes.

The guy lingered for a little while longer, trying to catch her eye, but she pointedly ignored him, and eventually he gave up and left, carrying the little box with him.

At least his girlfriend would get a pretty necklace, Lauren thought, though she suspected it might get thrown back in his face sometime in the not too distant future.

* * *

A few weeks later, Ava returned to her office from a meeting to find that her father had sent her and Lauren a joint e-mail. The subject line said, "Serious news."

The entire body of the e-mail read "Your mother has cancer. Call home."

"Oh my God," she said out loud and grabbed the phone. Her parents' line was busy: her father refused to get call waiting because he thought clicking over to a new call was disrespectful to the original caller.

She kept trying, dialing with trembling fingers that fumbled and hit the wrong buttons, but the line stayed busy. After a few minutes of this, Jeremy buzzed in to tell her that she had a call.

It was Lauren, who didn't bother to greet her, just said, "Have you spoken to Mom and Dad yet?"

"Not yet. I was in a meeting and only just got Dad's e-mail. My God, Lauren, Mom ..."

"I know, I was freaking out, too, but it's okay." The normalness of Lauren's voice was the most reassuring thing Ava had ever heard. "I can't believe Dad told us like that. The man is insane. Mom's fine, Ava. They just found a few cancer cells in one of her breasts-I mean, literally, we're talking a few cells. They'll blast them with some mild chemotherapy and she'll be fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. I talked to Mom about it. She was actually laughing at me for being so upset. Dad sent that e-mail without even asking her. Anyway, you should call them, of course, but don't worry. Everything's okay." Her voice broke on the last word and there were little sighing sounds. It took Ava a few seconds to realize that her sister was crying. "I'm sorry," Lauren said, her voice thick. "I've been doing this ever since I got the e-mail, even though I know everything's fine. I think it was the shock of thinking Mom could be that sick."

"I know what you mean," Ava said. "But she's not, right?"

"But what if something goes wrong? Or there's a next time and it's more serious? They're getting old, Ava." She took an audible deep breath. "Anyway, you should call Mom now. But remember-don't overreact."

"I wouldn't dream of it," Ava said. She hung up on Lauren and called home.

Her father answered. "Finally you call."

"I only just got your e-mail a few minutes ago," she said. "But I spoke to Lauren and-"

"You called her before you called us?"

"Your line was busy," Ava said. "And she called me, which by the way is what normal people do when they have to give scary bad news. They pick up the phone-they don't send mass e-mails telling people their mother has cancer."

"I had to do it by e-mail," he said. "You know how touchy you girls are. No matter who I called first, the other one would have been hurt."

"That's not true," Ava said.

"It is true," he said. "Lauren called us right away, you know."

Ava let out a slow breath between her teeth. "May I talk to Mom?"

"I think you should," he said seriously and put her mother on the phone.

Her mother sounded oddly cheerful. "It's good to hear from you, sweetie!" she said. "How are things at work?"

"Fine," Ava said. "How are you?"

"I'm so fine it's embarrassing," Nancy said. "I'm sorry about that e-mail. Your father wanted you girls to know as soon as possible that I'm dealing with this thing, but it's really nothing all that serious."

"Tell me exactly what the doctor said."

"He said I have a few cancerous cells in my breast. It's hardly even a lump-just the beginning of one."

"How'd they find it?"

"Oh, something showed up on a mammogram and then they did a biopsy and it came back positive."

Ava felt vaguely that a good daughter would have already known that her mother was having breast cells biopsied, but she hadn't. She wondered if Lauren had.

Her mother was still talking. "-the thing about this family," she said. "I love you all dearly, but little things become big ones. First your dad with that over-the-top e-mail, and then Lauren calling up sobbing as though the world had ended and insisting on coming home-"

"She's coming home?" Ava said. "She didn't tell me that."

"Day after tomorrow. I told her not to, but she insisted. She's been living across the country from us for years and suddenly she can't be apart from me for one more day. She can be so melodramatic."

"Yeah," Ava said. "I've met her."

"But since she is coming, I thought we could all have dinner together Friday night. Can you make it?"

"I've got to check," Ava said, pulling her keyboard closer so she could get to her online calendar.

"You have to come," her mother said. "It's my dying wish. You have to honor your mother's dying wish to get her family together."

"That's not funny," Ava said.

"It's a little bit funny," her mother said. "See you on Friday."

(Continues...)




Excerpted from The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik Copyright © 2008 by Claire LaZebnik. 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.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Witty Chick Lit Fare

    No matter how old we are or how far we travel whenever we return to our first family we often revert to the old familial roles. Like an oldie but goodie tune sung slightly off key grown men and women transform into "the baby" or "the favorite" as soon as they re-enter their childhood homes. And few familial relationships are as complex as the sister bond.

    In The Smart One and the Pretty One author Claire La Zebnik spins a delicious tale of adult sisters who come to appreciate that they are more than their childhood labels. The twentysomething Nickerson sisters reunite due to personal crises: their mother has cancer and sister Lauren is in dire financial straits. The sisters quickly resume their respective roles as the "smart one" (Ava) and the "pretty one" (Lauren). Ava, an attorney, has a successful career and money in the bank, but hasn't had a serious romantic relationship in years. Lauren, an unemployed clothes buyer, dresses stylishly and is never long without a new guy on her arm, but is homeless and has creditors chasing her for unpaid debts. While both sisters love and support each other, they believe that they can "fix "the other sister. To that end Ava corrals Lauren into cleaning up her financial mess, while Lauren plays matchmaker for the reluctant Ava.

    While both sisters have romantic entanglements, the men are supporting players to the sister relationship. The author even includes her own personal sister Hall of Fame at the back of the book: Little Women's the March sisters; The Simspson's Bouvier sisters; the real-life Brontes; Pride and Prejudice's the Bennet sisters; and Greek mythology's the Gorgon sisters.

    The Smart One and the Pretty One is witty chick-lit fare with a meaningful twist!




    Publisher: 5 Spot (September 10, 2008), 304 pages
    Review Copy Provided Courtesy of Hachette Book Group.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    A+

    The Smart One and the Pretty one it cute, entertaining, and it will keep you reading until the very end. I would know since I stayed up until 5 a.m. to finish it. This book is definitey worthy of a sequel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great summer read.

    This was my first reading of a Claire LaZebnik novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters are endearing in their flaws and I cared about them. The relationship between the sisters was sweet, and the romances realistic. Written with both humor and poignancy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    If a chick-flick were a book, this would be it!

    If you're looking for a book to cozy up with while you're indulging in a glass of wine or some chocolate truffles, then this is the perfect catch! This was just flirty and fun, and I enjoyed it until the last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Smart One and the Pretty One - great fun!

    The title says it all. The Smart One and the Pretty One captures the rivalry and tension two young single sisters can share. Though the plot is a familiar one, I enjoyed the book very much. The pretty one, Lauren, is flighty and irresponsible and I wanted to shake her a number of times while Ava, the responsible lawyer sister, had my sympathy. The other characters are equally engaging and the Nickerson family draws you in to their lives. I found The Smart One and the Pretty One a fun satisfying read.

    Publisher: 5 Spot (September 10, 2008), 305 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2012

    This was a fun read. While there are serious issues presented t

    This was a fun read. While there are serious issues presented to the characters, it isn't depressing. It's a quick read and I enjoyed it. Entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    So what...

    The characters are thinly drawn. There's virtually no plot. Nothing interesting happens. Some quirky and cute dialogue, but otherwise a real yawner.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Omg

    Omg this book is f'in amazing. Seriously.

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  • Posted October 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Perfect Beach Day read!

    This is definitely one of those books that would be a perfect chick flick.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    "The Smart One and the Pretty One" lived up to my expectations as a fun, spunky piece of chick-lit and then surpassed it. I quickly devoured this book in three days, so involved did I become in both the story and the characters.

    Both sisters, Ava and Lauren, are relatable - - they are witty, they are competitive, they are flawed. Both could be more annoying than amiable - - Ava, the conservative, buttoned up attorney who has some preconceived notions of relationships and men; Lauren, the flirty, flighty spendthrift who acts before she thinks and doesn't think too often of the future. I think most of us have aspects of both sisters in our personalities and that is what made them more endearing to me than aggravating. They have a strong bond, which they realize and identify during the novel, and act like typical sisters.

    Typical, too, in a sense, are their romantic relationships during the book. I could tell exactly where the story was headed for both sisters, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment with the book. I liked both their male counterparts and I liked the fact that they were as equally flawed as the sisters themselves.

    While "The Smart One and the Pretty One" made Lauren's financial woes and her poor handling of money a source of humor and one of the bases for the eventual contract disputes between her and Ava, it handles the sisters' mother's cancer diagnosis with much more seriousness but still keeps the overall tone of the book as bubbly as a glass of champagne. As a bit of an aside, a peripheral character who is also being treated for cancer at the same hospital as Nancy (the sisters' mother) is shown to be quite ill and there is certainly nothing lighthearted about it. In fact, some of the best dialogue (wittiness aside) in the book is between Lauren and the character of Daniel, speaking about dealing with a family member suffering from cancer and trying to make jokes during a depressing, demoralizing time.

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Nickerson sisters and lamented the ending of the book. I can only hope that Ms. LaZebnik found the sisters worthy enough for a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2008

    3.5 Stars

    I enjoyed reading this book and I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed with the ending. After I thought about it some more, I began to wonder if the author will write a sequel. I consider this book to be the beginning story for each character, setting the tone for what's to come. I don't want to include any spoilers in my review, so I'll just say I have many questions regarding the relationships that were discussed in the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008

    Humorous and thought provoking¿

    Ava and Lauren might look alike, but the two sisters are as different as night and day. Ava is a successful lawyer. She is successful in business, but not in affairs of the heart. Ava likes to look nice, and it takes money to accomplish looking her best. When the two are reunited at their mother¿s bedside, they each form a plan for improving the other. Ava puts Lauren on a budget and Lauren decides to help Ava¿s social life. Claire La Zebnik has a wonderful style. She uses just the right amount of humor and drama to create a thought-provoking page turner. Despite the normal sister bickering, these two sisters love each other. La Zebnik has captured to the true essence of a sister/sister relationship. While this is chick lit, La Zebnik does not degrade men. She presents them in a multifaceted manner. The Smart One and the Pretty One is a pleasure to read.

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    Posted August 5, 2010

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