Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Books mostly about women in the NYC area

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz - One recent trend in fiction is the psychological suspense thriller with a twist, and I'm on board (though I can't see what's so great about other trends like dystopian societies, witches or vampires). NetGalley was kind enough to give me this book, and I loved the plot, with its frequent revelations (didn't see THAT coming). I had to downgrade it to 4 out of 5 stars (which is still good; I'm a tough grader) because the writing was a little windy. It took its sweet time getting to those revelations and let us in too deeply to the heroine's every thought (she is a psychologist, so maybe all that navel-gazing is on purpose). Without spoiling too much, I'll say it's about a psychologist (yeah, we know) who seems to have the perfect life - grew up in wealthy Manhattan, went to Harvard, psychology grad school at Columbia, married to a pediatric oncologist (who everyone is in awe of for doing such meaningful work), has a bustling practice of her own, one precocious tween kid, and lives in the sprawling pre-war apartment she grew up in (mother died, father remarried and moved into the new wife's place, and gave her the old one). There's also an adorable country house in rural CT.  At the start of the novel, Grace is being interviewed ahead of her upcoming book release (also titled You Should Have Known), about how women should heed early signs that Mr. Right is not so right - like, he's GAY, silly. Events then occur that make Grace need her own advice.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - A young girl growing up in Manhattan in the '70s leads a seemingly humdrum life, but wait, there's a sci-fi element. Maybe I need to reread this, but that part was a little confusing. I didn't like this enough to want to check it out of the library again.

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer - I met the author at a friend's book party, which was kind of neat since I'd read some of her (and her mother's) books. This one was about a couple of English teachers in suburban New Jersey, who have a  good marriage and one teenage daughter. The new drama teacher stages Lysistrata, and weird things start happening as women are seized by a magical spell driving them away from their men. It almost feels real, and when the dust clears, lessons are learned.

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger - I don't remember much about this book (some of the "to be reviewed" pile is a few years old), but it's my type of thing, about a New York showbiz publicist. Let's see... (reading about the book) Bette's job revolves around partying with the jet set, and she's soon dating a rich playboy and the subject of gossip herself. It's a similar environment to The Devil Wears Prada, but I liked the first book more (and do remember it).

In the Bag by Kate Klise - If you ignore the fact that the plot is somewhat contrived, this was a delightful little book (maybe not that little, 306 pages). A single mom traveling to Europe with her teenage daughter entangles with a single dad and his teenage son. There are notes, emails, mixed-up luggage, and much coincidence (oh gee, the mom's friend is able to lend them her Paris apartment because she is overseeing the exhibit in Spain that the dad is organizing). I was rooting for everyone. The plot seemed cinematic, but I didn't find anything about a movie version.

Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman - Mike (female) loses her NYC advertising job, and finds work teaching life skills to seventh grade girls. Sounds like BS, but I could have used a few lessons in this subject. Away from the fast-paced ad biz, she learns about herself and her relationships, etc.

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad - I admit to watching more than a few episodes of The Hills (though not every season). I was not expecting great literature, and in this era of branding and packaging wonder if Lauren really wrote this. Not that it's so great that she couldn't possibly have written it, but c'mon. She does thank "collaborator" Nancy Ohlin. I don't know for sure who wrote what, so these remarks are "alleged," OK? Anyway, Lauren definitely knows about the subject matter, a young girl who finds her every move documented for a reality show. It's dishy, show-bizzy fluff. And I'll admit that it's not the only Lauren Conrad book I own.

Perfect is Overrated by Karen Bergreen - This book wasn't perfect or overrated (groan). I loved the author's Following Polly, and this wasn't as good, but still OK (I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars, which for me is decent). Kate is a former prosecutor now raising a child. Her marriage to an NYC cop has fallen apart, but he still lives in the same building. This comes in handy when moms in her daughter's posh preschool start dropping like flies.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner - I saw Jennifer Weiner read a snippet from this at the Upper West Side B&N, and read it much later. Another book about a murdered mom, this time in suburban Connecticut (didn't realize this was such a risky job). Kate didn't know the victim well, but is a bit bored and investigates with the help of some quirky pals.

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