Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Girls in White Dresses

By Melissa Amster

**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.

59 comments:

Kritter said...

My gift as a "favorite thing" would be the Nook - I have become quite attached to my Nookster as I call it. I can load it full of books and take it anywhere from the gym or on a trip!

kdurham2@gmail.com

faithspage said...

An iPod or Kindle...

kyfaithw at aol dot com

Laura Kay said...

I have to agree my favorite 'thing' is my Nook color. I love it for reading and having two small kids, I love to hand it to them to play games when we are out and about and they begin to get restless ;)

Laura Kay
anovelreview(at)yahoo(dot)com
www.anovelreview.blogspot.com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

My favorite things would be a gift card so they could buy books of their choosing

jennie said...

My gift would be a Gurgle Pot. They're amazing, unique and bring a sense of humour to your morning coffee.

jennie(dot)gibson(dot)shaw (at) gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I was just in a friends wedding and I actually did just buy her a nook, which is my absolute favorite thing. She loves it. Now we get to share books!!

Dana
volleygirl24@hotmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

This book sounds great!
Well, needless to say my favorite things are books. I would either give the new bride to be a beautifully bound leather addition of a book that reminded me of them (this would depend on the person) or a gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
candc320@gmail.com

Amy said...

My gift for a friend at her bridal shower will always be tailored to the specific friend but I always try to give a pretty basket filled with special items just for the bride-to-be. Most often these are all book-related items including a warm, pretty throw for those chilly nights, an e-reader if she likes them, a bookstore gift card, a couple of books by a few of her favorite authors, a collection of short stories by Flannery O'Connor or Raymond Carver or another great short story author, a journal and pretty pen, a collection of book marks and book plates etc. You get the idea and it's all chosen for the particular woman.

I was reading a recommendation for Girls in White Dresses before I stpped by here this morning so I was excited when I saw this post & giveaway! Thank you!

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

Dawn said...

My gift would be some looseleaf tea, most likely English Breakfast tea. I would also give a china teapot, along with two teacups, milk, and sugar bowl. Tea for two! I love tea.

Dawn
gleamofdawn3(at)yahoo(dot)ca

Georgina said...

As a favorite thing I would have to give them books, pampering gifts and chocolate. That would be my perfect gift
georginascott1989 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Allison said...

A really nice candle is my favorite thing to have and to give!

grlcalledallie@hotmailDOTcom

Nina said...

Some things that save me when I need to relieve stress are some guilty pleasure DVDs, so I think my own DVD Survival Kit would be my favorite thing! The Complete Series of Golden Girls along with the Oprah 20th Anniversary DVD special perhaps? Haha.
nina565(at)aol(dot)com

PoCoKat said...

My favorite thing is a Kindle!

littleone At shaw DOT ca

Catherine Fraga said...

My gift as a favorite thing would a book...I love the idea of the Kindle and Nook and ipad...although I don't own any of those yet...so my deeply passionate reading self would opt for the sensuousness of a real book...
sacto1954@yahoo.com

Kim W. said...

My "favorite thing" would be a package containing a gift certificate to buy books, another one for Starbucks, and another one for a pedicure, so whilst getting pampered she could have a coffee and read a book! And maybe I would buy myself the same thing so I could join her!

Cate said...

Surprisingly, my closest friends aren't into reading the way I am, so a kindle, or nook (or any other electronic reader) wouldn't be a great gift for them, even though it's one of my favorite things. So next on the list (if I could afford it) would be two tickets to somewhere warm. One for me, and one for her so we could have a "last hurrah" before she gets married, because I LOVE to travel!

Jennifer L. said...

I'm so glad I found this site. I love Chick Lit!
For a gift I'd give a basket of really nice, all-natural skincare products.
jentam777 at gmail dot com

Teresa said...

One of my favorite times when I got married was taking our stack of gift cards and filling a basket with things we couldn't otherwise buy. Because of that experience I would give her a gift card for wherever she was registered.

I would love to read this book!

teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

Books of course! But I would give them a gift card to a book store so they could pick out their own books :)

jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

RivkaBelle said...

One of my favorite things is 'books', obviously ;o) But for a wedding shower gift, my variation of this is cookbooks - they're always fun to flip through, and any new bride can always use some extra kitchen help :o)

quarterback.girl[at]gmail[dot]com

Jencey said...

My favorite things gift would most likely be a wedding bouquet. I have caught four of them. No one seems to want to retire me yet. :)

I am a follower of the blog on fb and blog.

jenceyg@msn.com

Shannon said...

I would have to say cash. It's not my favorite thing, but the couple could use it to go on a nice vacation before the kids arrive or even help pay off the wedding/honeymoon/ring or they can get their favorite thing together.
tiredwkids at live dot com

Snitz said...

I'm not a big gifter. I prefer to give money or gift cards.... and truthfully, that's my favorite kind of gift to receive!!

snitz76 [at] gmail [dot] com

kstar said...

If the bride was a reader, then a book I think she'd love or one that has a history with us would be a great start to a gift.
I also like to scrapbook, and if it was a bride who could be into something like that, I think it'd be a great gift as well. The scrapbook could be wedding and honeymoon centred and would be a great memento for the bride.

books.etc.blogger AT gmail DOT com

meandmom said...

My favorite things would be either my mp3 or my kindle.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

karenk said...

i would give her a kitchenaid mixer...i love mine.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would give a Keurig Platinum brewer

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Katie said...

Depending on the person of course, I would give my favorite coffee/coffee house basket - a coffee sampler, french press, some flavorings, a gift card, and a couple magazines.

Dolly said...

My favorite 'thing' is my laptop - my window to the real people in the world. (Books are my window to all people, real or imagined.)

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

maria said...

I'd make a gift basket and put my favorite things in there that i use daily, fave lipgloss, mint tea, things that would come in handy etc.

billiondollarprincesss@hotmail.com

Margie said...

I'd have to give them books, along with a bouquet of my favorite flowers.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

cindy r said...

I cannot wait to read this book! I have been waiting for it since Oprah's early tease this past winter. I have so many favorite things, but I doubt they are everybody else's favs. In this economy, I believe it's smart to go sensible, so I give gift cards! YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG! Everyone LOVES a Visa giftcard.

I also love giving dainty hankies!

writeoncindy@yahoo.com

Susan Audrey said...

It might not work for everyone, but my favorite thing is the blanket I have slept with every night my whole entire life. That probably sounds corny and childish, but it brings such a sense of comfort and good memories, and it has the benefit of going over my eyes when I'm not quite ready for the morning light! So I would give someone the gift of a blanket.

susanaudrey33 at gmail dot com

Lucie Simone said...

My favorite thing would be a spa treatment! I'm all about the pampering. But I probably couldn't afford that, so I'd go with a good book and a box of gourmet truffles.

Lalucie@sbcglobal.net

mep said...

For bridal shower gifts, I like to give a collection of tested favorite recipes from my kitchen or a favorite cookbook (a Barefoot Contessa or The Pioneer Woman Cooks). I also give sil-pats, one of the most useful kitchen items I have!

I hope I win as I have been eagerly awaiting this book's publication!

Michelle said...

my "favorite thing" gift would be hands down the i pad.
mzanfardino(at)nc.rr(dot)com

the book sounds awesome btw

Carol N Wong said...

My "favorite thing" gift would be a beautiful edition of Sara Teasdale or Emily Dickenson poetry.
Those poems come into my heart and
make me feel so treasured.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

jenniferjabaley said...

My gift as a "favorite thing" would be a spa day with her friends. It combines relaxation (a gift we often don't give ourselves) and the company of good friends.

I've been so excited for this book ever since hearing Allison Winn Scotch rave about it!!

thanks for having a great give-away!
Jen
jabaleyjennifer(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

StereoQueenBee said...

My favorite thing I would not want to give away. I am so in love with my bf... But I would want the person to find someone as wonderful as I have... So I would want them to have the gift of true love.

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite thing, other than books is butterflies. So I would probably give a pretty butterfly necklace as the gift. Love to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Heather said...

I would probably say a scrapbook since I love scrapbooking!!
ra6352 (at) gmail (Dot) com

Amy said...

If I had to choose 1 thing it would definitely be a gift cert to sephora. A few other gifts would be a gift cert to Barnes and Nobles or Itunes, for her to buy whichever book(s) she is currently interested in.

email is: amyrbromberg@gmai.com

Vilma said...

I would have to say a bag filled with MAC lip gloss.

Vilma

Vlopes@plymouthrock.com

stacybuckeye said...

My favorite thing basket would include books (based on the bride), wine, chocolate and a photo book with pics of the two of us :)
stacybooks at yahoo

Kat said...

Definitely books and chocolate. :)

ladykathryn@rogers.com

Gwendolen Gross said...

Favorite thing to gift: oh, I'd love to give someone a PONY.
This book goes on my tbr! Rock on, CLC!
ggross@optonline.net

anjibeane said...

A camera. I love books, shopping, coffee and yarn, but a good camera to capture her favorite moments.

anjibeane@comcast.net

Linds said...

I'd give them a pair of running shoes and a workout outfit that's functional, but makes them feel adorably sexy at the same time. After losing close to 30# when I picked up half-marathoning a few years ago (after never running a day in my life beyond the required gym tests), I now know the power of a good jog when a person feels confident doing it.

filzlh AT gmail DOT com

Meredith said...

My favorite thing would be a gift certificate to my favorite sushi restaurant and if it was a BYOB, a bottle (or two) of saki.

Meredith said...

Forgot my email address: meredithgschorr@gmail.com

Gayle Gardner Lin said...

No! Even if she is my friend, she can not have my children. But I'd certainly wish her the ability to have her own.


gaylelin@hotmail.com

Pia Bernardino said...

I would give her an iPad 2 =)

piabernardino(@)bermillion(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Books, Chocolat, Chanel, and a Cabana Boy.

Nancye said...

The best wedding gift I ever gave was to my best friend I gave her a special pottery plate painted with their names and the date of their wedding with decorations on it in their wedding colors. It turned out to be a very special and treasured gift even now, over 20 years later!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Susan said...

I would say that my favorite thing to give the couple would be a griddle. We got one for a wedding present 30+ years ago and used it all the time.

suzebomb(at)gmail.com

bevsclark said...

I would give her a collage frame of photos of her, her finace, and her friends. A picture can make you smile and bring back wonderful memories.

bevsclark at gmail dot come

M. said...

A gift certificate to a bookstore, plus a gift certificate to a chocolatier, plus a gift certificate to a great coffee shop, of course!

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

JHS. said...

I would probably give the person a gift certificate to Amazon and some beautiful seasonal flowers.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

AmandaSue said...

I'd give them a gift basket of chocolate from around the world! Because other countries have the best chocolate!

unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com