The Regulars: A Novelby Georgia Clark
Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with/i>
A fierce, feisty, and “wonderfully entertaining” (Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular girls who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?
Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
Wildly irreverent, blatantly sexy, and observed with pitch-perfect wit, The Regulars is fresh “compulsive reading from a bright new voice” (Brenda Bowen, author of Enchanted August) in fiction, perfect for fans of Jennifer Close and Kevin Kwan.
Think you’d do anything for the chance to be supermodel pretty? Well, it gets messy.In Clark’s (Parched, 2014, etc.) first adult novel, self-esteem issues compel a group of friends to renounce rational decision-making for a chance to take their looks from average to unforgettable. Evie Selby, a copywriter at a women’s magazine, is having a hard time accepting the culture of online dating. Her roommate, Krista Kumar, dropped out of law school to start an acting career, but it’s going nowhere. And their good friend Willow, a troubled photographer and daughter of a famous director, doesn’t understand what her puppy-dog boyfriend, Mark, sees in her. They’re all in bad places. If only they were prettier, right? They’d have more confidence, get more opportunities. When a shot at this lands magically in their laps, all three can’t help but grasp at the possibilities that come with trying a drop of the Pretty. Warning: now’s the time to suspend your disbelief. One drop of the Pretty potion gets them a week of long-legged, doe-eyed bliss. So, they make (terrible) excuses for the whereabouts of their real selves and walk through the doors that suddenly begin to open for them. Doors that lead to movie roles and dates with the superflirtatious novelist Velma Wolff. You'll find yourself getting sucked in as things descend into chaos, but there really isn’t a solid foundation to this story. An opportunity to build up a back story for the Pretty comes and goes in one underwhelming chapter. And while these characters promote liberating views on female sexuality, issues are either dulled by self-congratulating rants or resolved in fairy tale–esque fashion. One redeeming quality is that becoming Pretty does not involve a Cinderella-like transformation—it takes the adage “beauty is pain” to a new level. If you like basking in over-the-top banter and don’t roll your eyes at perfectly neat endings, you’ll have a fun afternoon on the beach with this one.
- Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Read an Excerpt
Despite her mother’s impassioned insistence to the contrary, Evie Selby had never thought of herself as beautiful. There were moments when she felt cute: some high-angle, low-light selfies that made her dyed black hair and small, intent face look pixieish, even sweet. There were moments when she felt cool: the day she started wearing the thickest black-rimmed glasses she could find, the night a line of poetry was inked into her pale forearm. But beautiful? No. That was the domain of women with evenly placed, oversized features, with hair like horses’ manes and bodies like foreign sports cars: angular, flashy, quietly powerful. Women like the smirking, self-satisfied model who was emblazoned on one of the glossy page proofs that were tucked under her arm. If only she had a quarter, a fifth, an eighth of that woman’s allure, Evie might feel more confident about tonight’s date.
Stop it, she instructed herself. She pushed her glasses up her nose and drew in a breath of summer-thick city air. You are a goddess. You are a catch. You are, like, the outcome of every self-help book ever written. And, she realized on checking the time, you are also late. She was supposed to be at the Wythe Gallery three and a half minutes ago.
Despite what those on the happily coupled sidelines might think, 99 percent of online dates weren’t exciting enough to be fun or nerve-racking enough to be adventurous. They were just . . . awkward. Boring. An hour of small talk with someone you’d think twice about saving from a burning building. Online dating was like Russian roulette. Mostly misses. But sometimes, people Evie knew had met that all-too-rare bullet: a smart, aesthetically pleasing New Yorker who was still single. Maybe tonight, Evie thought, is the night I blow my brains out.
The gallery was only half full. Even though it was a Monday, she’d been expecting a bigger crowd, if only from the cachet of Willow’s last name. A mere smattering of Brooklynites clad in sheer skirts and vintage bow ties stood chatting in front of her friend’s pocket-sized experimental photographs. And they all seemed paired off. Everyone except one girl on the other side of the room. About Evie’s height, but thinner, smaller. Dark hair fell to her shoulders. She was dressed simply in a T-shirt and skinny jeans. When she turned to look at a photograph, Evie’s jaw loosened.
Totally Ellen Page–y.
Impossibly, Quinn was even more attractive in person.
Panic coursed through Evie’s veins. I should have worn an A-game dress.
She needed booze. A small bar offered wine and beer. Willow’s boyfriend, Mark, was playing barkeep.
“Hey.” She dumped the proofs onto the folding table. “Can I leave these here? Is my makeup okay? What white wine do you have?” She shot another look at Quinn, not yet ready for eye contact.
“Evie, hey.” The tall, bespectacled boy gathered his replies quickly. “Yes, yes, and sauvignon blanc. Rough day at the office?”
Evie shook her head. “Date.” She nodded at Quinn.
“Ah.” Mark handed her a cup. “Fun.”
Evie cracked a smile.
Mark grinned. “Go get ’em, tiger.”
Evie grabbed another cup for Quinn and began walking over, trying to quell the irritating kick of nerves. “Quinn?”
At the sound of her name, the girl turned, revealing a moon-shaped face, and eyes that seemed more round than oval. Clear skin. Sweet smile. “Evie?”
“In the flesh,” Evie said, trying not to think about her own less-than-clear skin, her own less-than-sweet smile. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Evie said again, inwardly kicking herself for sounding like a robot. She offered Quinn the cup. “Thirsty?”
“Actually, I don’t drink. I don’t need to drug myself to enjoy life.”
Evie blinked. Fucking online dating—
“I’m kidding.” Quinn grinned and plucked the wine from her hand. “Thanks.”
“Oh.” Evie breathed laughter. Online, Quinn was acerbic and difficult to pin down, qualities Evie found as attractive as the warmer, less artfully constructed person standing in front of her.
Quinn glanced around. “This is your friend’s opening?”
“Yeah. Willow Hendriksen.” Only now did she spot Willow pressed into one corner, walled in by some intense arty types. Her formless green silk shift and light ash-blond hair colored with a hint of pastel pink gave the twenty-two-year-old the look of being slightly untethered. There was something distinctly ethereal about Willow Hendriksen, like she might transform into a flock of birds if you snapped your fingers. “That’s her.”
Quinn looked at Willow as if she was nervous to get caught doing so. “That’s Matteo Hendriksen’s daughter, right? The filmmaker?”
Evie nodded. “Mm-hmm.”
“Wow. Cool. Have you met him?”
“Yeah.” Evie nodded again, warming to the fact Quinn seemed impressed by this. “Sure. He’s not in the States much these days. But Willow still lives at home, so when he’s around, we hang. We chill. We’re chill buddies.” Evie winced. Did I really just say chill buddies?
“God, I can’t imagine what that must be like,” Quinn said. “Having created so much great art that people like and respect.”
What Evie couldn’t imagine was how she was in Quinn’s league. “So, you’re a musician?”
Quinn shrugged. “Trying.”
“You sound like you’d have a great singing voice. And you have a great look.”
Quinn smiled in pleased surprise. “Thanks.” She moved to the next photo. Evie trailed her. “Someone just told me what you spend most of your time doing is actually what you do. Like, if you say you’re an actor, but you just go to one audition a week and spend most of your time working as a server, then you’re a server. I did the math, and hey, turns out I am a musician.” Quinn smiled up at Evie, almost shyly. “And your profile tells me you’re a writer. What do you write about?”
Evie didn’t think of herself as a writer in the way Quinn was a musician. She had a blog called Something Snarky, but it was anonymous, and it wasn’t what she spent most of her time doing. That was being a lowly copyeditor for a women’s magazine called Salty, fixing typos in stories called “How to Blow His Mind Using the Contents of Your Refrigerator.” That wouldn’t impress somebody like Quinn. “I write for the New York Times.” The words fell out of her mouth, as unplanned as a sneeze.
“Whoa!” Quinn laughed a little. “Wow. That’s amazing.”
“I think they’re trying to even out their gender ratio, you know?” Evie improvised, recalling the fact the Times had the biggest gender gap in the industry when it came to writers. “It has its ups and downs. Like everything.”
“You’re a staff writer?” Quinn’s eyes stayed wide.
“Yep,” Evie said. “I interned there during college, and just started a few months ago.”
“Wow. I know I said it before, but that is really impressive.” Quinn’s eyes stayed glued on Evie’s a beat longer than they should have before she slid them away. Warm, liquid desire unspooled slowly in Evie’s stomach, like a cat waking up from a long afternoon nap.
“Have you eaten?” Quinn asked.
Evie shook her head.
“Oh good, I’m starving. There’s a Moroccan place around the corner. Any interest?”
“Sure.” Definitely. Three thousand percent.
“Great. I’ll just use the restroom.”
Evie slung her purse over her shoulder to go linger at the gallery’s entrance. She sipped her wine, actively containing the sheer exhilaration that Quinn’s suggestion—more specifically, Quinn’s acceptance—had inspired. It had been six months since she’d had sex. The most action she’d gotten all summer was a Pap smear. And while (when done properly) sex could be a whole lot of messy, sticky fun, what she really missed was being kissed. The nervous, enthusiastic, almost-always-botched first kiss, memorable in its imperfection, passionately inelegant. This narrative was leading to that kiss. The meal, the drink after the meal, the amble to someone’s subway, the kiss.
Of course, her lie was stupid. But she could always back out of it later. Or hell, maybe she could get something published in the Times. Sure, she was only twenty-three, but the way Quinn had been looking at her made her feel like she could climb Mount Kilimanjaro without breaking a sweat.
The low, almost musical murmur could only be the lady of the hour. “Willow, hey!” Evie gave her a one-armed hug, pressing her free hand into Willow’s sharp shoulder blade. “Congratulations.”
Willow smiled wistfully and let her gaze wander around the half-empty room. “I never wanted to be famous because of my name, but this is sort of depressing.”
“No, it’s not! This is amazing.”
“Which is why you’re leaving after . . . five minutes?”
“I’m not leaving! I’m just . . . going to a different place—”
Willow waved the excuse off and gave Evie a knowing smile. “Am I witnessing a rare Evie flirt?”
“Indeed you are.” Evie couldn’t help but grin. “We’re getting food.”
“That’s great. You look really pretty.”
“Oh please.” Evie rubbed at the dark circles she was sure her glasses accentuated. “I look like someone just punched me in the face.”
“Stop it.” Willow tugged a lock of Evie’s dark hair affectionately.
Quinn’s voice sounded behind them. “Your friend behind the bar gave these to me. Wanted to make sure you didn’t forget them.”
Evie spun around.
Quinn was carrying the Salty proofs. The story on top was about vajazzling. “ ‘Add some ooh-ah to your hoo-ha.’ ” Quinn read Evie’s subhead aloud, before fixing her with an odd frown. “Wowsers.”
“God, are you still taking work home, Evie? I thought you said you weren’t doing that anymore.” Willow smiled at Quinn. “I’m Willow.”
“Quinn,” Quinn replied, but she was looking at Evie. “Work?”
“I’ve been trying to get her to quit all year,” Willow said. “Maybe you can help me stage an intervention.”
Evie darted her gaze from Willow, to Quinn, to the pages. Her throat had tightened. “They’re not actually for me.”
“But your name’s there.” Quinn pointed to the white ticket stapled to the top, reading, “ ‘Copyeditor: Evie Selby.’ ”
“Right.” Evie’s cheeks were warming. Her breathing had become shallow. “Right.”
“Call me later.” Willow melted away.
“So you’re a copyeditor as well as being a journalist,” Quinn said, sounding as if she didn’t believe herself.
Shit. Shit. “No.” Evie’s voice was pint-sized. “I mean, I’m just the first part.”
Quinn’s mouth was ajar, set into a look of bewildered confusion. “You straight-up lied about writing for the Times.”
“Actually, I was positively visualizing my perfect future.” Evie licked her lips. “It’s a very powerful technique.”
Quinn’s expression became incredulous. All warmth, all interest had been sucked away.
“Please don’t go,” Evie said. “You’re—fuck—you’re really cute, and nice, and I am too, nice, I mean. Jury’s still out on cute.” She was babbling. “I fucked up, I’m sorry.”
Quinn backed up a step, slowly, as if not wanting to alarm an angry dog. “Sorry, Evie. This just feels wrong.”
Her date exited the gallery, leaving Evie with a plastic cup of wine and a guide on how to accessorize a vagina.
Meet the Author
Georgia Clark is an author, screenwriter, and performer living in New York City, and the author of the YA novels She’s With The Band and Parched. Georgia is widely published in women’s and lifestyle magazines and has written for TV. A native Australian, she lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and a fridge full of cheese.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The Regulars is the story of what happens to three women and a special drink that will change their lives. Evie, Krista and Willow are best friends who are just your average twenties something girls who are trying to make it in New York City when an opportunity to change everything with just one drop of Pretty, a potion that will make you unbelievably drop dead gorgeous. will change everything for them. As they soon learn that being pretty isn't everything and the web of lies they spin while hiding who they are, will catch up with them in a truth-revealing ending that will prove to them that beauty is only skin deep. When I first started this book, I was wandering where is this book going and you will see once the Pretty is introduced on how this might end. This is a great book to give a young person to make them see that, beauty is only skin deep and no matter what you look like, what's inside is what matters the most like these three women discovered by the end of this book. I can totally see this becoming a movie that people would love to see play out on the screen, I know I would!! Thank You to Georgia Clark for writing this book that is humorous and with a life lesson that we all need to hear sometimes! I received this book from BookSparks in exchange for a honest review.