Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ten Girls to Watch

I have a Goodreads profile--just what I need, another digital forum to keep track of--because I thought it would be a good way to see what books my friends are reading, what titles have gotten good reviews, etc. I had no idea that the site had other benefits to it. One of those benefits is giveaways of advanced copies of books. The idea is that Goodreads members get them, read them and review them and then followers want to read the book. It is good old fashioned word-of-mouth marketing in a digital forum. So I entered a few contests and I won a book! It is Charity Shumway's Ten Girls to Watch. (Actually, I won two books, but I haven't touched the second one yet...)

I was a little doubtful when I got my copy of the book, but i gave it a chance during my many, many, many hours of breastfeeding. (Awesome opportunity to read, BTW.) I ended up liking it quite a bit. It is a pretty good summer read if you're looking for a mindless chick-lit type book. Think something along the lines of a Jennifer Weiner book or The Devil Wears Prada and you've got a pretty good idea of what you're in store for.

Here's the review I wrote for Goodreads.

Of there was a 3.5 star option, this book would have that, I'm feeling generous, so it got a four rather than the three it probably should have earned. Here's why:

Ten Girls to Watch is classic chick lit: Nice girl goes to NYC to make it big as a writer and finds herself struggling. She fumbles through relationships, friendships and work with equal parts self-deprecation, snark, and earnestness. Astute readers can glean where this book is headed from page one.

Here's the thing- In all of its early predictability, the book shifts toward plot developments that aren't as expected as that first page suggests. That's not to say there is a whole lot of depth or literary merit to it (it won't be up for book awards), but it is an absolutely enjoyable summer read. Shumway has written a novel that will sell well and will entertain readers even if it doesn't win literary awards.

Shumway has created a very likable protagonist who, through a really cool writing assignment, gets to come of age with some advice from successful, accomplished women. This is woven into the plot very effectively and never once hovers in the land of preachy-ness that it very easily could have landed in. 

This is a book I'll recommend to girlfriends who are off to the beach or on vacation. Like other titles of this genre, it is a feel-good departure from the world. Unlike those others, it manages to end pretty realistically without some gag-worthy, sugary sweet group hug that is often the norm. More importantly, though, Dawn is carefully crafted into a character I could see myself being friends with. Shumway managed to make this reader want to see Dawn through all of the ups and downs of her early twenties.


In my defense, I wrote that on my iPhone while breastfeeding a baby, so I know it could be a little bit better, but these days I do the best I can with the time I'm given by the little man.

The book comes out this week--Tuesday (July 31) to be exact. Go ahead and preorder it, then go lounge by the pool or at the beach and enjoy some mindless (but well written!) summer reading.

What's your favorite summer read?

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