**Giveaway is now closed**
What happens when you marry "Sex and the City" to "Reality Bites?" The result is Jennifer Close's debut novel, "Girls in White Dresses."
Isabella, Mary and Lauren become friends in college. After they graduate, they are faced with the complexities of the real world, which include work, dating, city living and keeping up with their friends who seem to get married in droves. They question themselves and their choices when it comes to relationships, careers and where to live, hoping that they ultimately have made the right choice.
I was extremely impressed with this novel. It reached out and grabbed me instantly and didn't let go until the last page. I am still thinking about it now. The women are very candid and honest about their feelings and the world around them. There are some humorous moments, but they are more subtle. (I did laugh out loud quite a few times though.) The whole story is told with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and that's what made it so entertaining. I could relate to some things that were said and other parts reminded me of people I know. The dialogue was realistic and Ms. Close didn't strive for perfection for any of her characters. She just let the story flow naturally to see where things would end up. I even liked how she gave some secondary characters a chapter of their own. Those were entertaining and I wished she had even elaborated on those characters and their thoughts more throughout the book. I loved her use of description that allowed me to experience a freezing winter's day while in the middle of a heat wave in real life. I could also relate to each of the women in one way or another.
The only criticisms I have are over time and character descriptions. The time in this novel seemed to speed by, aging the characters a lot from when they started off in the story. I felt like some things got skipped over and other things happened too close in time. However, that is how life feels sometimes, so maybe she got it right by using this method. And while Ms. Close had great use of description when it came to places and things. I wish she had used this description for people, as I had a hard time visualizing most of her characters. I'd like even some clue, like a hair color. I felt like they had generic looks the whole time and I couldn't differentiate one character from the next physically. If you have a good imagination and like to make up images of a character in your head without much to go on, then you will definitely enjoy this aspect of the novel. I like my character descriptions spoon-fed to me though.
Overall, Ms. Close's debut novel was a delight to read and an easy page turner. I am a book multitasker, but I put all books aside just so I could continue reading this one until I finished it. It really says a lot about society these days and the way people view singlehood and relationships, depending on which side of the fence they are on at the time. There are a lot of truths that resonated with me. I hope you will enjoy this novel as much as I did. Thanks to Molly Erman from Random House (who also sent me the ARC for review), you have that opportunity! She's giving away TEN copies to some lucky readers in the US and Canada!
For more information on the book, visit the page for it at Random House. You can also "like" it on Facebook and follow Jennifer Close on Twitter.
How to win "Girls in White Dresses":
There is a part of the book where the women go to a bridal shower of another friend. The theme is "My Favorite Things" and each person is asked to give the bride-to-be a gift of their own favorite thing. Please tell us: If you were to give someone a gift that was your favorite thing, what would you give them?
Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you.
US/Canada only. Ends August 6th at midnight EST.