Wednesday, April 4, 2012

These Girls - Review & Interview

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Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Source: Book Sparks
Rating: Highly Recommended

About the Book:

In her third novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen examines the lives of three women working and living together in New York City and shows that 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.

Cate’s 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.

Mini Review:

It is no secret that I fell in love with Sarah's writing from the moment I picked up The Opposite of Me.  I have not missed a book since her debut and don't plan to miss one ever!  One of the things that amazes me about Sarah is her ability to write new and intriguing novels that are all so different from each other.  The Opposite of Me, Skipping A Beat and These Girls are all wonderfully written yet so unique and different from each other.  They all explore a facet of life that most women can relate too, yet do do individually making each book different and exciting.  It's almost as if you can't expect anything from Sarah aside from a great story!

These Girls was a wonderful story about three women brought together by circumstance and fate.  Their lives are full of secrets that they keep from one another, yet those secrets are what will bond them in the end.  It reminded me that many of us have hidden emotions or events we don't want to remember though they have shaped who we are today and as the girls discover, they are situations others can understand and emphasise with because we have been through a similar hurt or pain that brings about the same emotions and self doubt.  I loved how Sarah used the three women's stories to bring them together and show the importance of female friendship and companionship.  We all need that friend to have coffee with, cry with, laugh with and ultimately feel comfortable with at any moment in time, knowing they are there for us without judgement and scorn.

While this story has a New York based setting and involves women in the city, it's much different than other "girls in New York" stories I have read.  The setting spans outside of the Big Apple and includes so much more than women trying to survive in the city.  These Girls actually discusses some sensitive and important topics that plague women and girls today.  I was impressed with the storyline.  The characters are, as usual, well developed and likable.  I was not let down.  While These Girls is not my favorite novel written by Sarah to-date, it is an excellent and exciting read.  I highly recommended it and look forward to her next novel!!

Enjoy the interview with Sarah below!!  I had a lot of fun coming up with questions to ask about her newest release!  In all honesty, it wasn't hard to do, I loved the book.

Interview with Sarah Pekkanen:

These Girls takes a different approach to women connected and living in NYC. There are some deep seeded issues in this novel. What was your motivation or inspiration for writing it?

I wanted to write a novel celebrating the rich, nurturing bonds of women's friendships for a few reasons: First, it seemed like the natural progression in my books, since all of my novels focus on the important relationships in a woman's life. My first book, The Opposite of Me, was about sisterhood. My second, Skipping A Beat, was about marriage. These Girls, my third novel, is about female friendships - and because friends so important to me personally, I was eager to plunge into the creation of three very different women who became roommates in New York City and formed an incredible friendship. My novel is told from alternating points of view of my main characters - Cate, Renee, and Abby - and each of these women is carrying a painful secret. They end up finding the emotional lifelines they need in each other.

Which character do you connect with most? Why?

There are bits and pieces of me in all three characters! When my editor asked me which was my favorite character, I told her it was whichever one I was writing at the time. I think I'd most like to go out and have a glass of wine with Renee, who's so funny and warm, but I'd like to hang out with all three women.

Have any of these characters been "real" in your life?

Ooh, good question! I don't base characters on people I know - even though I can't tell you how many times people have suspected that they're the inspiration for a character! - but everything I write is inspired by reality. All of my observations and thoughts and ideas are filtered through a kaleidoscope, then sprinkled onto the page. I did do some interesting research for These Girls, which is set in the world of glossy magazines, when I went to New York and had a staff writer for a big magazine sneak me into headquarters very early one morning. I got a great behind-the-scenes tour and some juicy gossip - and you can bet a bit of that made it into These Girls!

How does it feel to have your third book published? What's different now versus your life when you released your first, The Opposite of Me?

It feels amazing. This is the first time I've had the sense that I might actually get to keep doing this for a living! With my first two novels, I was so nervous, and felt as if I'd stumbled into a dream that could end at any moment. But I recently signed a new 3-book deal with my editor and publisher, and now I'll have new books out every Spring through 2015. I'm ridiculously excited - this is what I've wanted to do ever since I was a kid, and to be able to do it for a living? I'm grateful every single day.

Thanks so much for having me here today, and if any readers want to connect on Facebook or Twitter, please come find me there so we can keep chatting!

Highly Recommended

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