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These Girls

( 36 )

Overview

Family secrets may shape us all, but it?s the rich, complicated layers of friendship that can save us.

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It?s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more ...

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Overview

Family secrets may shape us all, but it’s the rich, complicated layers of friendship that can save us.

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pekkanen (Skipping a Beat) follows three girlfriends in her pedestrian third novel. Though they’ve been co-workers at Gloss magazine for several years and roommates for six months, Cate and Renee are only casual friends, until a new roommate cements their friendship. Cate, recently promoted to features editor, is struggling to assert her new authority amid office gossip about just how she got her promotion. She’s also harboring a secret: she left college without graduating because of an embarrassing indiscretion. Renee’s up for a promotion herself, and she’s willing to take extreme measures to lose weight in order to fit into fashion-magazine acceptable. When Renee and Cate’s dashingly handsome colleague, Trey, “a six-foot-three, single, straight, employed man... more coveted and rare in New York City than a rent-controlled one-bedroom,” needs a place for his younger sister, Abby, the girls are happy to let her use their spare room. They’re both nursing crushes on Trey, but they also take an instant liking to Abby and the solid friendships they form help Abby move past her own dark secrets. Pekkanen’s got wit and an ear for dialogue, but missed opportunities for conflict keep the story flat and the characters from evolving. Agent: Victoria Sanders, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Sarah Pekkanen's latest celebrates the healing power of female friendship for three very different young women sharing a New York City apartment. At turns bittersweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and painfully real, you'll wish you could move in with these girls." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and Sing You Home

“The honesty and complexity that Sarah Pekkanen brings to her three main characters in These Girls is impressive and rare. You can't help but root for each one of them as they struggle to strike that elusive balance between professional success and personal happiness. The bonds among Pekkamen's female heroines will have you reaching for the phone to hold your own best girlfriends a little closer.” –Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres

"In These Girls, Sarah Pekkanen again proves her innate understanding of women's relationships. With a style that's both wry and heartfelt, readers will absolutely recognize themselves and their friendships on the pages. These Girls is lively and engaging and ultimately satisfying, so get comfortable because you won't be able to put it down!" –Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter Is the New Black

"A fun and engaging romp...Pekkanen's authorial voice is sweetly snappy, the plot is character-driven, and the book ends satisfactorily without tying up every loose end. Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Close will enjoy this refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous novel." —Booklist

"Pekkanen’s characters are sympathetic and familiar, and readers are likely to identify with aspects of each protagonist. Fans of Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, Liza Palmer, and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this smart novel by a rising star in women’s fiction." —Library Journal

"Good fun....an entertaining take on modern love and life in the Big Apple." —Kirkus

"Chick lit with grit." —Ladies Home Journal

"The power of friends and family carries this fast-paced novel through to a satisfying, although somewhat surprising conclusion. If you like chick lit with substance, Pekkanen delivers another winner." —Philly Examiner

“Sarah Pekkanen deftly weaves together the lives of roommates and friends…each battling demons, professional and otherwise, and within a few pages you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in all of them. The surprisingly good news is that this author knows that ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t necessarily involve a cute guy.” —Entertainment Weekly

"A pleasure." —People

“Pekkanen offers a conversational writing style and a knack for making readers care about her characters… a refreshing look at the importance of female friendship.” —Washington Post

"I loved Sarah Pekkanen’s These Girls. Just when you think the single-girls-trying-to-make-it-in-media-in-NYC trope was totally played out, along comes a fresh, charming, moving take on what it’s like to be in your twenties, desperate for the guy to like you, for your secrets to stay secret, for this diet to be the one that works." —Jennifer Weiner, EW.com

Library Journal
Pekkanen's third novel (after The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat) offers an engrossing look into the lives of three young women, each struggling with a personal crisis. Renee, a magazine staffer looking to score a new position at a beauty magazine, is forced into a competitive situation with other hopefuls while wrestling with her own body issues. Cate is adjusting to her promotion to features editor as she tries to cope with the authority issues raised by a staff she's new to supervising. And Abby is a graduate student, fleeing a nanny position and a different town. The three stories are woven together well, and while each of these women is carrying a secret, Renee's and Cate's secrets are told to the reader in the beginning of their narratives, while Abby's is revealed, quite satisfactorily, in a series of flashbacks. VERDICT Because Pekkanen's characters are sympathetic and familiar, readers are likely to identify with aspects of each protagonist. Fans of Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, Liza Palmer, and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this smart novel by a rising star in women's fiction.—Amy Watts, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
Kirkus Reviews
Pekkanen's (Skipping a Beat, 2011, etc.) latest showcases her penchant for exploring relationships wrapped in big-city trappings. Cate, the features editor for a big-time New York–based women's magazine called Gloss, and Renee, an associate editor at the same publication, share an apartment the size of a postage stamp with oft-absent model Naomi. When Naomi ditches the pair, hunky writer Trey asks if his seriously damaged younger sister, Abby, can move into Naomi's room while he's on the road. Trey, who picks up National Magazine Awards as casually as after-dinner mints, happens to be the hottest thing around, both professionally and as dating material. Renee had an awkward couple of dates with Trey and nurses the hope that she will one day win him over. In the meantime, she's trying hard to win the position of beauty editor at Gloss but is pitted against two others for the promotion. Determined to bag the job, Renee starts taking the diet pills that Naomi left behind in an attempt to lose weight, while Cate struggles with trying to prove her mettle in the magazine business to a lecherous and demanding boss. All three women harbor secrets that could bring them public humiliation and/or turn their worlds upside down, and Pekkanen's story traces the ways in which the three work toward making themselves whole while forging a friendship that will outlast disappointments in life and love. A bit heavy on clichés and coincidences, this is a breezy but uninvolving read that revolves around an industry rife with job insecurity. Pekkanen peppers the book with celebrity names and pop-culture references and loads down her prose with unnecessarily detailed descriptions of the characters' hair, clothes and makeup, but she redeems herself with an unexpected ending. Good fun overall, though the speed at which the female characters bond rings false. An entertaining but not very memorable take on modern love and life in the Big Apple.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611735284
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Series: Premier Fiction Series
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is the author of The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat. Her work has been published in People, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY, among others. She lives with her family in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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Interviews & Essays

Jodi Picoult interviews Sarah Pekkanen about writing, motherhood, and the magic of female friendships...

Jodi: These Girls explores the nuances of female friendships. How hard was it to create a sense of realism between your main characters - Cate, Renee, and Abby - and how much of that came from your own personal experience in your relationships with female friends?

Sarah: Female friendships are vitally important to me, which is why I dedicated These Girls to my girlfriends, especially one I call my "frister" (a friend who turned into a sister). I'm surrounded by wonderful guys - I have two brothers and three sons - and I adore them. But female friendships nurture and uplift me, and I find them so textured and fascinating, which is why I'm drawn to writing about them. I love it that my girlfriends and I - often aided by a bottle or two of wine - can hopscotch from serious to silly to painful topics during the course of a single conversation, and end the night feeling as if we could've talked forever. I drew on all of those emotions while writing These Girls.

Jodi: Your main characters in this book come to reevaluate what's important in life as they navigate the complications of careers and love. As someone with three young children, and who has enjoyed a bit of success now as a novelist, how do you prioritize what's important in life? Has this changed as you've grown older?

Sarah: I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a little girl. After college, I covered feature stories for The Baltimore Sun newspaper, but when my first son was born, I left that job because it required a long commute and frequent travel. And when I suddenly stopped writing, I felt as if I'd lost a crucial piece of myself. But I couldn't figure out how to reconcile my need to write with my need to be with my children. Then one night after the kids were asleep (by then I had two young boys), I sat down in front of on my computer and began to type. The words poured out of me, and turned into my first novel, The Opposite of Me. I never forget for a moment how lucky I am to have a flexible job that I adore, and it's fairly easy for me to work in writing time around my kids' schedules. My family is my priority, but I know I'm a happier - and better - Mom when I'm writing, too.

Jodi: As someone who has twists in books all the time, I get asked about my endings a lot. These Girls, too, has quite a surprise in store for the reader. Did you know it would end this way before you started writing the book, or did that evolve?

Sarah: I love books that contain twists (which is one reason why I'm a big Jodi P. fan!), and I knew even before I wrote the first line of These Girls that it, like my previous two novels, would pack a big surprise at the end. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries and sometimes I even deconstruct them, studying how an author put together pieces of the puzzle and used tension-building techniques like foreshadowing. It's my hope that readers feel as if my books have the same page-turning quality as a thriller - but with less blood and mayhem, of course!

Jodi: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to break into writing as a career?

Sarah: Treat writing like exercise - you need to do it nearly every day to get results. For people who say they're too busy to write a book, I'd encourage them to search for little windows of time in their day. Maybe wake up half an hour earlier than usual, or carry around a notebook and write a few paragraphs on the bus ride into work. Jodi, I remember that you and I once chatted about how we both wrote in car-pool pick-up lines outside of our kids' schools because it was one of the few quiet times we could carve out of the day. I'd advise other writers to fight for those little snippets of time, and the page count will pile up, slowly but surely.

Jodi: What is the most bizarre fan encounter you've ever had?

Sarah: I love that you asked me this question, because it was the very first question I ever asked you! Years ago, I was writing a newspaper article on strange things that happen to big-name authors at booksignings, and you told me about the time someone asked if you'd ever consider writing non-fiction. You replied that it seemed daunting because one had to be meticulous about getting every single fact straight... and then you brought up James Frey, who got into trouble for making up parts of his memoir A Million Little Pieces. And a few minutes later, the librarian in charge of your booksigning brought over two audience members to meet you: James Frey's parents. This was during the time when Oprah was eviscerating him, but you merely brought up his situation as an example and didn't pass judgment or make a joke. I thought it was very classy, and even his parents weren't bothered by your comment, which says a lot.

So... as for my most bizarre fan encounter, I'd have to say it was the time when my husband and I took our three kids out to dinner at a busy restaurant. One of our sons was very tired and cranky - we later learned he hadn't eaten lunch at school that day - and while we were waiting for a table, he completely melted down, crying and whining. We quickly left, and then my two-year-old tripped and fell on the sidewalk and he started crying too. So there we were, this hot mess of a family, and suddenly a woman stopped and pointed at me and yelled, "Aren't you Sarah Pekkanen? I love your writing!" And that remains, to this day, the first and only time I have ever been recognized in public. (And I'm still kicking myself for not answering, "No! I'm J.K. Rowling!")

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    This is the third book by Sarah Pekkanen that I've read, and it

    This is the third book by Sarah Pekkanen that I've read, and it may be my favorite so far. It's about three roommates who work together at a beauty magazine in NY. Like all of her books, it explores relationships, this time between female friends. It was a fast read, but I liked how it wasn't predictable. I thought I knew what was going to happen, but then there would be twists and turns that would take me by surprise. This is an enjoyable book that has a lot to say about how we need our "girlfriends."

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read Author

    Cate, Renee and Abby are These Girls. They are three girls you can’t help but fall in love with. All three girls have history, baggage…things they are hiding…things they don’t want to talk about. Each girl has her own story, and their three stories overlap each other until they are braided together forming a strong friendship.

    The smart, sexy and talented Cate believes her career is like a house of cards, if someone figures out her lie her career will fall apart. With a new promotion at Gloss, Cate feels she has something to prove the boy’s club and to herself. As her career seems to hit some bumps in the road, Cate recognizes she is missing what is going on right in front of her.

    Renee wants no needs to get the promotion as the beauty editor of Gloss and she is willing to do whatever it takes. Even if whatever it takes means drastic measures to ‘fit’ into the idea of what a beautiful person must look like. The beauty of Renee is a beauty she doesn’t seem to see in the mirror. She is fun, funny and loving. Anyone would want to be her best friend, but she doesn’t realize her true beauty.

    Abby had been happily working as a nanny and fallen in love with the little girl in her charge, Annabelle. Out of nowhere, Abby rushes into the story as a mystery--you will pull one layer after another to finally unveil her pain.

    The more and more I read the deeper emotionally I connected to all three characters. I don’t always relate to characters or maybe to just one, but I related on some level to all three women! I think what surprised me the most, was while reading These Girls I felt as if I was becoming part of the friendship that was blooming. They became my friends. A definite recommened!

    I just have to add this one line that JUMPED out of the book, “I think the hardest things to talk about are also the most important things to talk about,” (Pekkanen 306) expresses why we need good friends. Now go grab yourself a copy of These Girls!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was anxiously awaiting the release of this latest work by Sara

    I was anxiously awaiting the release of this latest work by Sarah Pekkanen. I was not disappointed. This story is about the friendship of women. The struggles with career, image and love. I liked that it was told from the perspective of the 3 women, hearing the story of their own feelings and also how they saw each other. Each of them admired by the others for their special qualities but each feeling terribly inadequate. And making us realize that things are not always as they seem.
    Well written, complex characters you will love.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2012

    I¿ve never been very good at doing what people expect me to do,

    I’ve never been very good at doing what people expect me to do, so I decided to pick up THESE GIRLS, because (a) it sounded interesting, and (b) I’d heard Sarah Pekkanen’s name before, but I have trouble remembering where. It didn’t hurt that it also received a nice blurb from Jodi Picoult, and I happen to be a fan of her work. Aside from my memory loss, I do have a rather eclectic taste in books, and I’m pretty much willing to take a chance on just about any book that interests me.

    So I wasn’t all that surprised when I discovered I enjoyed this novel. It’s a light-hearted read with some rather interesting and realistic characters, stimulating storylines, and a couple of twists and turns. It’s not the most thought-provoking book I’ve ever read, but I read for about a hundred or so different reasons, and this one certainly fit the bill at the time I picked it up.

    THESE GIRLS manages to give more than a few insights into the way women think, and since I’m a guy, this is rather useful information. Some might even call it research. I’d call it a good, old fashioned beach read with more than a little heart. And if that’s what you’re looking for, you might want to check this one out.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Disappointed

    Not awful; not very good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I have a four and a half year old daughter who wakes up too earl

    I have a four and a half year old daughter who wakes up too early every morning, and yet I found myself reading Sarah Pekkanen’s These Girls late into the night, braving a tired tomorrow because I needed to know what was going to happen next.
    These Girls follows the lives of three very different characters living in New York City: Cate, Renee, and Abby. Each young woman’s story is told with compassion, the characters quickly come to life a few short paragraphs, and the dialogue is some of the best I have read, so sharp and witty and full of personality. Their individual dramas are compelling and complicated. And somehow, with the novel brimming with such great characters and storylines, Pekkanen also manages to braid these lives together with the kind of friendship that will have readers tearfully calling up their childhood BFFs. This novel is beautiful on so many levels and you will think of these character long after you have finished the last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2012

    Sarah Pekkanen has a way for developing characters that a reader

    Sarah Pekkanen has a way for developing characters that a reader can fall in love with at page one. She has the opportunity to develop three unique characters who begin as room mates and end as friends. Cate, Renee and Abby end up living together through different circumstances and each are struggling with hard life situations.

    Although I may have not personally related to any of the problems these girls are trying to overcome, I felt like I was really able to experience their full emotions. The reader was given details at precisely the right moment. I was completely impressed by the uniqueness each girl had, their voices were of their own. The other thing that struck a cord with me was the character of New York, I loved how New York was described.

    Another Sarah Pekkanen book that I will be passing along to friends and family.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review The cover is classic chick lit -

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review

    The cover is classic chick lit - flows with Sarah's other novels too. Lone female staring out a window in New York. I'd bet on Abby - I do wish they would have put all three women on the cover.

    The story does go from Cate, to Renee and then to Abby. It follows their messed up love lives, and mistakes they have to overcome. I really connected with Renee, having my own issues with weight. The fact that she's in that industry at all proves her worth. And she's not even fat, but compared to all the models and fashionistas she works with, she feels every pound more than anyone else would. She even realizes that when thinking about going back home.

    Cate feels the need to prove herself because of a big mistake she made back in college. She comes across as cold and guarded to other people - even she realizes this. But what happened to her in college has to do with it.

    Abby - her story makes me want to curl up and cry. You won't find out what is going on in her life until the end. But it keeps you so addicted to the story, along with the other 2 that you won't be able to put it down.

    Sarah's writing is so smooth, and the flow is fairly fast - never boring. I truly was sad when the story ended. I fell in love with each and every character...well I'm talking the 3 main ones. There were a few outside ones I wasn't too crazy about, but they were written that way. :o)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2014

    READ THIS BOOK!!!!

    I totally lucked out when I took a chance while looking for a new book to read and bought this. This was the first book I have read by this author, and as soon as I finished this one, I went and bought anything I could find by her. I LOVED IT. I got into it immediately. After the first page I was hooked and couldn't stop. The characters where very believable and down to earth. Read this book, you will NOT regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    Loved this

    Great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2014

    Great Read

    I really enjoyed this bok but think the ending could have been better felt like i was left hanging

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  • Posted March 18, 2014

    Loved this book! Seriously will make you want to move in with th

    Loved this book! Seriously will make you want to move in with these girls! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Engaging, warming, and humorous

    Sarah Pekkanen has been added to my favorite author list! (she knows chick lit). I have read five of her books recently, (all winners), and looking forward to reading The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat. (I seem to begin with newer ones and work my way back.)

    If you enjoy Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin (which I am a big fan of both), you will love Sarah’s books. She gets to the heart of the matter through friends and family, especially in the gal pal relationship. Each of her characters has a past, a story which has not been told, and much baggage--- she sets the stage delivering tidbits to keep you hanging until the end.

    Engaging, warming, and humorous and with realistic topics of student/teacher romantic relationship, nanny/boss, weight/diet pills, past unfaithfulness of parents, step siblings, and some secrets which haunt them and have been hidden away come to the surface, plus others. The fun setting in NYC, glamour magazines, and social media--which carries this fast paced novel to a satisfying ending. Would love to see a sequel and continuation of the character of Renee.

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  • Posted June 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Good but I didn't think it was her best

    A good story but I struggled wanting to read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Great Read

    I was looking for something lighthearted, yet still intetesting. I found exactly what I was looking for in "These Girls." A very realistic view on female friendships and their insecurities without being nuerotic. I cant wait to read more by Sarah Pakkanen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    I didn't want the book to end!

    The story of three women, careers, love and friendship=great book!

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Sarah Pekkanen's third novel, "These Girls" is as ca

    Sarah Pekkanen's third novel, "These Girls" is as
    captivating and enjoyable as the previous ones! The story is about three
    young ladies living in New York, who share an apartment together. Cate
    and Renee both work for magazine companies and Abby is recovering from a
    traumatic affair with her prior employer. The unique personalities of
    these women are explored as they each progress with their personal and
    professional lives. Their diverse lives ultimately intertwine, and the
    meaning of sisterhood is evidenced by their loyalty and love for one
    another. This is a very heartwarming read. Many readers will be able to
    relate to the characters and/or the situations presented, and book clubs
    are sure to find many topics for discussion. I am already looking
    forward to the next novel by this gifted novelist!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Just finished this novel.....

    ......and really enjoyed it. This is the first of Sarah's novels that I've read. I liked the main characters & how Sarah intertwined their lives. I'm debating on which of Sarah's works to read next.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable

    POsted on Romancing the Book's blog
    Reviewed by Sabrina
    Review Copy Provided by Book Spark PR

    I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting into when I requested this book to review. I expected heartache, friendship going above and beyond the call of duty and maybe a small tease of romance. What I got out of it was so much more. Normally when you read books about friendships, you get people that have known each other for years. All through college or high school and that is why they are still friends, even if they have grown apart. What intrigued me about this book was this was NOT the case. The girls didn’t really know each other at the beginning of the novel, and what they went through for each other even at the young stage in their friendship was incredible. I don’t know if I could do it. I’d like to think I could for someone I didn’t really know, but… I dunno. This book takes a hard look at what women give up for their job, the stresses they can feel in their everyday life, and the people that make it better and worthwhile. I don’t want to say anything more that that as everything as it is revealed in the story is important to discover with the characters. Suffice to say that this is worth reading if you like friendship stories. My only complaint was one little thing left undone at the end of the story that I thought should have been worked out, but that is me and I can see why the author left it as ambiguous as she did.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2012

    This is what chick-lit should be

    This is a fun book that tracks a year or so in the life of three very different girls, cataloging their failures and successes via both inner monologues and their own views of each other. Each has problems that the others struggle to understand as they go about their lives in New York City, most of which revolve around the magazine industry.

    While lacking the depth of the author's previous book Skipping a Beat and falling somewhat short of the gold standard for this genre (that being the engaging train wreck that is Bridget Jones' life), this book's realistic details, fully fleshed-out characters, and engaging storyline raise it well above the quality of average chick-lit fluff. No need to be embarrassed if you are spotted reading this one beside the pool.

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