“I laughed my way through this novel. A must-read from Meredith Schorr.” – Chick Lit Plus
It’s more about finding yourself than finding a man…Jane Frank is ready to fall in love. It’s been a year since her first and only relationship ended and far too long since the last time she was kissed. With the LSAT coming up, she needs to find a boyfriend (or husband) before acing law school and becoming a partner at her father’s firm. There’s just one problem: all the guys in New York City are flakes. Interested one day and gone the next, they seemingly drop off the face of the earth with no warning and no explanation.
In her misguided belief that life doesn’t really start until you get married and have kids, Jane jumps from one extreme to the next trying to force a happily ever after until she breaks. Will she ever find her path, and can she do it without alienating her friends and family and risking her career in the process?
A State of Jane is a hilarious, heartwarming, and honest coming-of-age story of what happens when a good girl discovers there is more to finding love than following the rules.
“A witty true-to-life story that will not disappoint you, it is Chick Lit at it’s very best!” – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
“I am a huge fan of chick lit, but this book was so much more. It has become one of my favorite reads!” – The Little Black Book Blog
“There’s plenty of men on offer and enough funny, cringe-worthy scenes to make Jane’s journey into the dating world a thoroughly enjoyable one.” – Best Chick Lit
Related subjects include: chick lit, women’s fiction, humor, humorous fiction, rom com, romantic comedy, friendship.
Books by Meredith Schorr:
JUST FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
A STATE OF JANE
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
The Blogger Girl Series:
BLOGGER GIRL (#1)
NOVELISTA GIRL (#2)
Part of the Henery Press Chick Lit Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...
|Product dimensions:||5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Holding the phone against my ear with my shoulder as I painted my toenails in OPI's That's Hot Pink, I said to my sister, "Wish me a happy anniversary."
"Happy Anniversary, little sister." Claire was only seventeen months older than me, practically my Irish twin, but she always insisted on referring to me as her "little sister."
"May I ask what anniversary you're celebrating?"
"My first one. And hopefully my last."
Claire replied, "Clarify."
"My first anniversary as a single person. It's been exactly a year since Bob and I broke up, and I'm officially ready to fall in love again." I looked toward my computer screen where my eHarmony profile was 28 percent completed.
Claire snorted. "Says who?"
"I've done extensive research online, and my scores on several questionnaires clearly indicate that I'm emotionally available for a new relationship."
A hint of doubt in her voice, Claire questioned, "'Cause it's been exactly a year?"
"Precisely. Three hundred and sixty-five days." I wasn't going to let Claire's teasing get to me. I knew waiting a year meant I'd be less likely to waste my time in a rebound relationship.
"Only you would actually believe a few days could make a difference," Claire said in obvious amusement.
"Ha ha, Claire. Keep laughing all the way down the aisle on my wedding day when you're my matron of honor."
"Who do you intend to start this new relationship with?"
"Someone amazing. I just have to find him. Could be anywhere — eHarmony, the subway, a bar, at work. In fact, a new set of first year associates is starting this week." I bit my lip. "Although, if they started law school right after college, they might only be twenty-five." Not everyone worked as a paralegal first like I did.
"And that's a problem because?"
"I'm twenty-six! I'd rather date someone older. Or my age." Thirty would be ideal since men matured less quickly than women. A four-year age difference might mean we'd be ready to settle down at the same time.
"It's a one-year difference, Jane. Keep your options open."
"They are open."
"Whatever you say."
I blew on my toes, willing the polish to dry faster. "I hate when you do that, you know."
"Do what?" Claire asked innocently.
Claire sighed dramatically. "You're not in high school anymore, Jane, and guys in New York are not gonna fall at your feet." Laughing, she added, "Except the really short, nerdy ones with balance problems. Just don't expect to meet Dr. Right who looks like Eric Bana. It ain't easy, and you've got lots of competition."
I met Bob the summer between our sophomore and junior years in high school, when we were co-counselors for the same group of seven-year-old boys. We became good friends, but when I told Claire I had a crush on him, she said I'd never have the guts to make a move and should just use his friendship as practice for talking to guys. "As always, thanks for the uplifting pep talk. And it's not as if guys fell at my feet in high school either. Bob was my first boyfriend, remember?"
Softening her voice, Claire said, "Sorry if I sounded mean. You're a definite catch, sis. But you're naive, and I don't want you to be unprepared. Just go in with no expectations, okay?"
"Okay," I said quietly. I had hoped Claire would share my excitement, not give me unsolicited advice.
Her voice brightened. "You do realize you'll need to actually go on dates first, right? Which means no more back-to-back episodes of the Barefoot Contessa and Iron Chef on the Food Network on Saturday nights."
"It's not like I'm a hermit, Claire. I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to move on after a nine-year relationship." The fact that I broke up with Bob and not the other way around didn't make the split any less traumatic. Or at least not that much less traumatic. On a positive note, I'd learned a lot of new recipes over the past year. "Anyway, I'm ready now."
"I'm sure you are. Just please don't expect things to be as easy as they were when you met Bob. The dating world post-millennium is an entirely different animal, and you're dealing with experienced men, not innocent boys. It might not be as easy to meet another Bob. If you don't believe me, ask Pin Cushion."
Pin Cushion was my sister's secret nickname for my far from virginal roommate, Lainie, and she was the last person I'd ask for relationship advice. Birth control advice, maybe. We'd met through Craigslist and although she was often negligent in the way of household duties, I was happy she wasn't a psychopath.
"I'll be myself and things will happen. Like they eventually did for you."
Claire groaned. "Eventually is the operative word. And now we can't make a baby to save our lives."
I remembered how Claire had dyed her dirty blond hair jet black when she dated a drummer in college, and how she gave up meat when she dated a vegetarian. She wound up married to Kevin, another high school teacher from the suburbs who, ten times out of ten, also chose cheeseburgers over tofu and soy milk. They were a perfect match, but baby making had proved to be a challenge. "It will happen when it's supposed to, Claire. I truly believe that." Secretly, I wished it would happen sooner rather than later so I could start buying cute baby clothes for my little niece or nephew.
"My advice to you — take your own advice. It will happen when it's supposed to happen. Don't look at every guy as the potential 'one.'"
"Not every guy, Claire. Just the single, handsome, ambitious, generous, funny ones." A message popped up on my computer saying my session on eHarmony was going to timeout if I remained idle for another sixty seconds, so after I told Claire I loved her and would cross my fingers she didn't get her period that month, we hung up and I finished my online profile. I couldn't wait to be matched with someone with whom I was compatible on twenty-nine dimensions.CHAPTER 2
The next night, I had drinks at the Brass Monkey with my best friend, Marissa, and her older sister, Katherine. We sat on the rooftop sipping pear cider and enjoying a view of the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. It was an Indian summer, but there was still a chill in the air. I reached behind my chair for my pink and green Lilly Pulitzer cardigan, wrapping it around my shoulders. Gesturing toward Marissa, I asked, "How are things going with that guy Eric?" She had met him on PlentyOfFish. When I asked why she didn't try eHarmony, she said she lacked the patience to complete the extensive questionnaire. I, on the other hand, was certain the extra labor would pay out in finding me my consummate other half.
Marissa took a sip of her drink. "I don't know. He's really nice, but totally clueless."
"In what way?" I asked.
Snorting, Katherine said, "Do you have all night?"
I ignored Katherine. She'd been a know-it-all ever since she got married the year before, and I never forgave her for making Marissa wear a beige maid of honor dress. With Marissa's pale complexion, she looked naked. And besides, beige was only flattering on girls who wore a size four or less. Marissa was not one of those girls. Neither was I.
I nodded toward Marissa. "Details, please."
Marissa gave an embarrassed smile. "I guess his first offense was taking me to Smiler's Deli on our first date. It was approaching closing time, but we managed to snag some grilled vegetables and stale California rolls before they cleared out the salad bar. Second, and more ridiculous, was telling me on our second date that he was in therapy because his ex-wife left him. Too much information way too soon." Marissa shook her head of long plum brown hair as if bewildered by it all.
"Are you talking to anyone else?" The whole internet dating phenomenon fascinated me since I hadn't been on a date with anyone except Bob since the summer of 1999.
"Yeah, but still at the email stage. Eric already asked me out for a third date."
"Did you let him down easy?" I asked.
"She said yes," Katherine said matter-of-factly. "He's nice, not ugly, and he asked. She has to give it another chance. Pickings are slim."
How would Katherine know this, being that she was the opposite of single? Oh, yeah, because Katherine knew everything. Tuning her out, I asked Marisa, "But do you like him? You shouldn't force yourself to go out with him if you don't."
"He's really nice, but I'm not sure if I could ever be attracted to him. I'm trying though."
It pained me to watch Marissa practice this ritual time and time again, believing she could create chemistry if she tried harder. She'd been my best friend since she lived across the hall from me our freshmen year in college, and I wanted her to meet her soul mate almost as much as I wanted to meet my own. "Why are you even trying? You shouldn't have to try to be attracted to someone. You either are or you're not."
"Or you close your eyes and pretend he's Bradley Cooper," Katherine said, laughing.
I took a sip of my drink, thankful it was diluted with ice. I wanted to squeeze in an hour of studying for the LSAT before bed. "You can't settle. New York City is full of eligible bachelors. Onward and upward, I say."
Looking at me like I was a clueless intern on my first day of work, Katherine raised her chin toward the air. "Yes. Manhattan is full of eligible bachelors. Eligible bachelors who are unemployed, uninterested, gay, or looking to get laid."
Marissa nodded her head in agreement. "Jane will see soon enough. She's ready to start dating again."
"Really? One piece of advice. Try to refrain from telling every guy who hits on you all about how you and Bob 'lost the spark' and how important it is to find 'the spark.' Ranting about your ex-boyfriend is not the best way to get a new one."
While Katherine's face distorted into an obnoxious laugh, I glared at Marissa. She mouthed, "Sorry" and quickly looked away.
"I did that once, and I wasn't even interested in the guy," I muttered. And how kind of my big-mouthed best friend to share it with her bigger-mouthed older sister. "Besides, the spark is important."
Katherine downed the rest of her cider and placed her empty glass on the table. "Well, best of luck finding the spark, Jane. I can't wait to hear about your dating disasters. Marissa's are getting old."
Katherine was so cynical, I wondered how she ever managed to get married. Then I remembered what her husband looked like and smiled to myself. Placing my hand over Marissa's, I said, "You'll meet the right guy someday. Don't waste time on the wrong ones. Remember when I told you Christopher would say yes if you asked him to the formal senior year?"
Marissa nodded somberly. "Yeah."
"I was right then, and I'm right now."
"What about you?" Marissa asked. "Have you spoken to anyone yet?"
"Not yet, but ask me again tomorrow and I might have a different answer." I handed my credit card to the waitress. "These drinks are on me, ladies. I'm feeling generous tonight."
"Thanks, Jane. What's the occasion?" Katherine asked.
Tucking a strand of dirty blond hair behind my ears, I said, "Love is in the air. I feel it. I'm checking my eHarmony matches as soon as I get home. Maybe the love of my life is waiting in my inbox."
Katherine looked at me doubtfully. "Your optimism is inspiring."
Half laughing, Marissa said, "With Jane's luck, the 'one' will be the first guy she goes out with. She'll be married before I get past the fifth date with someone."
"I hope so." I paused and looked at Marissa. "Not the part about you and the fifth date, of course. But just in case eHarmony doesn't pan out, I've also joined a group on Meetup for singles in their twenties through thirties, and I'm smiling at every cute boy I pass on the street. I want to be settled in a committed relationship by the time I start law school next year, when I'll be too busy studying to meet anyone."
Katherine stood up and flung her bag across her shoulder. "I hate to drink and run, but I told Martin I'd be home twenty minutes ago." To me, she said, "Thanks again for the drink and best of luck in the dating jungle. Don't get eaten alive."
We waved goodbye before I said to Marissa, "Alone at last."
"Why are you looking at me like that? I didn't mean it as an insult to Katherine. I just haven't spoken to you in a while." Marissa and Katherine were also less than two years apart in age, but you'd think they were twins from the way Marissa told Katherine everything.
Marissa furrowed her dark brows. "This has nothing to do with Katherine. I'm just afraid your expectations with this dating thing are too high. It's not easy."
"You sound like Claire."
"Maybe Claire knows what she's talking about."
I waved my hand in protest. "I appreciate your concern, but I know what I'm doing." Marissa's cautious attitude toward dating wasn't exactly confidence inspiring. Anxious to change the subject, I said, "How's work? Any samples you can spare?" Marissa worked in the corporate department of a cosmetics company. Along with a 25 percent discount off of the wholesale price of products, they were always passing along free samples.
Marissa's face brightened as she reached into her bag. "Yes. I completely forgot. Here," she said, handing me an assortment of sample-sized perfumes. "I'm not sure if any of them are good, but you can have them all."
I happily threw them into my purse. "Thank you. I'm almost out of my Michael Kors."
Smiling, Marissa said, "What are friends for?"
"We're meeting tomorrow morning at the Greenmarket, right?" I bought all of my produce at the farmer's market in Union Square, but it was only open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. "I'll be there by eight thirty to beat the crowds."
Marissa smirked. "I'll aim for ten thirty. No fruit is worth getting up early on a Saturday morning."
I stood up. "We'll agree to disagree on that." With a hug goodbye, I said, "Sleep well."
Later that night, I sat at my computer desk and logged onto eHarmony. I wondered if my future husband was among my twenty-three new matches. The first eligible bachelor was Peter. He was five foot five. Since I was five foot six, I clicked "not interested."
The second match was Nate. He was cute with short brown hair, dark skin, and broad shoulders. And at five foot eleven, he was a nice height for me. He was a financial consultant, so he could probably meet my intellectual standards, and since he loved home-cooked meals and I was a master in the kitchen, we were probably a perfect match.
I confirmed my interest and moved on to the next — Brett. Brett posed shirtless with a harem of women in every picture. I clicked "not interested," figuring he didn't need another girlfriend.
I finished reviewing the remaining twenty matches, confirming interest in four of them, and climbed into bed.
I closed my eyes and imagined where Nate would take me on our first date. Hopefully not Smiler's Deli. Later, I dreamed about swim-up bars and sex on the beach with Nate on our honeymoon. The dreams were interrupted only once when I woke up in a panic, remembering I had forgotten to study for the LSAT. I made a mental vow to spend an extra hour the following night and fell back against the pillow, anxious to return to the Caribbean and beach-side massages with my future husband.
I brought a ripe nectarine to my nose, breathed in the sweet fragrance, and placed three in my basket. I wanted to take full advantage while the fruit was still in season. I could use it in a fresh fruit salad or maybe make a relish. I paid for my fruit and glanced at my watch. I was meeting Marissa at the Deep Mountain Maple vendor in five minutes, we'd walk around for a few more minutes, and then head to Max Brennar for coffee and breakfast. It was Marissa's favorite spot for hot chocolate and how I bribed her to meet me on Saturday mornings when she'd rather curl on the couch and catch up on her DVR.
I spotted her fawning over a jar of syrup and poked her lightly in the back. "Hey, you."
Without turning around, Marissa said, "If I buy the syrup, will you make the French toast?"
"It's a deal. I even saved an article from BuzzFeed with recipes using maple syrup. There was one with sausage I'm dying to try." My mouth watered just thinking about how a hint of sweet could enhance a savory dish like sausage.
"God bless you for being you and loving me," Marissa said.
Thirty minutes later, with my grocery bags tucked safely underneath my chair, Marissa and I sat comfortably in a booth at Max Brennar. "How was the rest of your night?" I asked.
"I fell asleep watching Breaking Bad and have to watch the episode again. I hate when that happens." She pouted. "How about you?"
I told her about Nate. "I can't wait for you to meet him."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "A State Of Jane"
Copyright © 2017 Meredith Schorr.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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