Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Julie's Review: These Girls

Summary: 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. ~amazon.com

Review: I am so happy to have discovered Sarah Pekkanen and her wonderful books. I can't imagine what I would have been missing out on if I hadn't!! Ms. Pekkanen writes from the heart. Her characters are the people you know, the people you love and perhaps even yourself. These Girls captures the struggles to be successful in a success-driven world and how friendships don't just happen, but how they have to be cultivated.

There is something about all three of them that draws you into their stories. Each of them is hiding something, each of them is trying to heal from family situations and each of them is trying to figure out where they want to go in their lives. All three of them are so genuine and so well written that at times you feel that they are sitting right next to you tell you their tales.

Cate is frozen with fear about what will happen if people find out the ugly truth about her past. Will it hurt her present and future? Renee struggles with her weight, especially now that she's going to be going for the beauty editor job at Gloss. Can she get the job if she's not a size 4? Abby ran away from a situation that has left her immobile with sadness. Can she pick herself up and recover from it?

Typically in books like these, I tend to identify with or like one of the main characters more than the others. Not in this case. I loved them all equally. Each of their stories moved me in different ways.

For Cate, I wondered how she would handle her growing attraction to Trey since she knows Renee pines after him. I also wondered when she would quit doubting herself and her talent.

For Renee, I get her weight struggles. I've been there done that (OK, still do it). I've done the diet drugs but never took it as far as she does. In a world where women are touted for their looks instead of their soul, this is something that 99.9% of women can relate too.

For Abby, who desperately wants to be loved, falls for a man who is off limits because he shows her some attention and affection. Most of us women have fallen for the wrong man at some point in our lives and have had our heart broken because of it.

You see them struggle and you see them triumph. You know the end of the book isn't the end of their stories. Would I love for Ms. Pekkanen to write a sequel? Of course. Will I be extremely disappointed if she doesn't? Nope. I'm happy with how she told the stories.
If you are looking for a book that celebrates female friendships, then look no further than These Girls. You won't be disappointed.

Final Take: 5/5


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