Book Review: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

April 18, 2012 book review 6

These Girls is book three by the lovely Sarah, and I’d like to start by saying how I first learned of this phenomenal author.  In the Spring of 2010 I started seeing facebook messages from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner, Jennifer was shouting from the rooftops about this new author, Sarah Pekkanen.  Now this is a voice I typically listen to.  Jennifer even offered any of her older titles free and autographed to anyone who pre-ordered Sarah’s debut novel The Opposite of Me.  I was so impressed with this outpouring of support from an established author to a new one.  In the past two years I’ve learned how loving and giving the community of writers is.  I love the cheering from so many writers for others.  So you would think I’d rushed and ordered the book, but I didn’t.  In fact it was the winter of 2010 when I had been communicating with Sarah myself on facebook that I read her short story All is Bright, I loved it.  I then read her second book Skipping a Beat and fell deeper in love with Sarah and her work.  We’ve chatted on fb and twitter, she’s encouraged me and my blogging and reading and cheered me on when parenting is crazy.  While I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting the engaging Ms. Pekkanen I feel that we are friends, and I’d give a big ol’ GF hug if we were to meet.  Now on to book three……..These Girls, a book that tells the story of girlfriends, and how they give so much to each other.

These Girls is the story of Cate, Renee, and Abby. We first meet Cate and Renee who live and work in New York City, for a trendy magazine, Gloss.  They also share an apartment.  Cate has recently been promoted, and she’s excited but a bit nervous about the first issue with her as Features Editor.  Cate also fears someone will find out her secret, something she left behind in college, and nothing she is proud of.   Renee is still an associate editor at Gloss but a Beauty Editor’s position is opening up.  Renee is now in competition with two other women for the job.  Each will be using social media of  facebook and a blog to promote themselves and their ability to communicate their knowledge of beauty.
A fashion model roommate moves out, but lucky a friend of the girls, Trey, has his sister show up out of the blue, and he’s leaving town.  He doesn’t want his sister, Abby, to be alone, and she temporarily moves in with Cate and Renee.

Of course Renee and Abby have secrets too, don’t we all in some ways.  Renee is a voluptuous woman, but she’s so uncomfortable in her own skin, she feels fat and unattractive.  Reading her feelings was hard for me, I could relate so much to her view of herself.  Renee finds some left over diet pills from the former model roommate, she decides these will help her lose some unwanted weight and make her a shoe in for the Beauty Editor job.
Abby comes to NYC after leaving a nanny job in the DC area. While trying to muddle through and hide their imperfections and transgressions these three women eventually become closer and they find the warmth and strength in friendship, and what girlfriends give best to each other.

I feel that I’ve said so much already about the characters and plot of this book, but honestly this is just the tip of the iceberg.  All three women have secrets and all have families in turmoil.

While these women are much younger than I am, and at the beginnings of their careers and lives I really  enjoyed this book.  The themes were honest and universal.  I found endearing qualities in Cate, Renee and Abby, things in their pasts I could relate to.  Their family stories were heartbreaking, and I recall that we all carry some baggage from our youth.  It’s difficult to escape our families, no matter how old we are.

I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend.  Sarah Pekkanen has yet another winner.  Please look for Sarah on facebook, twitter and on her website.  She has a wonderful book trailer about girlfriends, get the tissues first, it’s a tearjerker.  This book was provided to me by Washington Square Press, but in no way influenced my review.

6 Responses to “Book Review: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen”

  1. bermudaonion

    I haven’t had a chance to read These Girls yet, but I will soon. I love Sarah’s writing – she gets emotions without being sappy.

  2. Zibilee

    I loved your review, Anita, and think that what you said about the book mirrors much of what I felt about it. Pekkanen is such an amazing author, and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. I think Skipping A Beat will be next for me. Great review today!

  3. Meg @ write meg!

    I’m in the middle of this one now and really enjoying it! I never seem to tire of books set in Manhattan, despite the fact that I’ve probably read a billion by now. Books on friendship are usually winners for me!

  4. Jenny

    I have GOT to read something by her! I’ve heard such great things about all her books. I think I’ll start with this one since it’s the newest and since I love New York, LOL.

  5. Anita

    This is the first I’ve heard of her. Thank you for introducing her to those of us who are not familiar with her work. She sounds like a truly gifted storyteller. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to read her work.

  6. Pam

    I love how you have developed real relationships with authors through social media and author events. It’s truly amazing!

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