Wednesday, May 2, 2012
"Then" is still now, thanks to Jennifer Weiner and a giveaway!
In honor of "Then Came You," by Jennifer Weiner, being released in paperback on May 8th, we are re-posting the review that Melissa A and Melissa P did last summer, and thanks to Engleman and Co., we have one copy to give away to a lucky US reader.
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Our review, originally posted July 12, 2011:
Jennifer Weiner's latest novel, "Then Came You," focuses on four women who have similar goals in mind, either related to babies, money or both. Jules is invited to donate her eggs and, knowing she'll potentially be able to help her father with the money, it's hard to refuse such an offer. Annie can also make money to help her family during tight economic times, by becoming a surrogate. India wants a baby to complete the loving marriage she has with Marcus, and she also knows she could benefit from his wealth. Bettina thinks India is out to rob her father blind and wants to put a stop to it. When tragedy strikes, these four women become connected in ways they never thought possible.
Thanks to the generosity of Ms. Weiner and her assistant, Meghan Burnett, we had the opportunity to read and review this novel before it even hit the shelves.
I love Jennifer Weiner's novels and this one was no exception. I wasn't sure where it was going at first, but then it picked up momentum and I was completely drawn into the lives of these four women. Ms. Weiner has a way of making me forget that I'm reading a novel, as I become so involved in the world she creates with her characters. They are so vivid that I can see them right in front of me and take on their emotions for them. I really liked the realistic dialogue and the descriptiveness. It is what made this novel strong. I also enjoyed seeing a cameo appearance from one of her past characters, although I was hoping initially that she would get her own story too. Thankfully, there were no real spoilers regarding the book from which this character was originated. (So if you read this one first, you won't have to worry that the other book was ruined for you at all.) Ms. Weiner handled some risky topics gracefully, making them comfortable for anyone who would normally not be comfortable with such topics. (I don't want to spoil anything though.)
However, having too many characters in the first person threw me off at times. I felt this way with "The D Word" by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke as well (see my review) and that was just two characters back to back (for the most part). This didn't seem to be as frustrating for me when I read "Little Earthquakes," so I was surprised that I had trouble with it this time around. My one suggestion would be to do what Jodi Picoult does and give each character their own font. That seems to help when I read her books. I also felt that it was a bit rushed towards the end. Since each lead character was featured every fourth chapter, they didn't get as much face time as they would if the focus were on one or two lead characters. So there was almost a race to the finish to get their stories told by the time she was ready to reach an epilogue. I would have loved to see her go on longer and give them time to flourish a bit more. Perhaps she can bring one or two of them back in a future novel.
Overall, this is another winner from a writer of amazing stories. It shows a maturation of Ms. Weiner's writing and storytelling capabilities (in the same vein as Jane Green, who started with dating stories and now discusses motherhood). I can tell she puts a lot of love into her novels and this one is bursting at the seams with such love.
When I first learned about “Then Came You”, I knew it was a must-read, because in my opinion all of Jen’s books are, but I was honestly surprised by how much this book gripped me from the beginning. When the book hit my doorstep late one Tuesday afternoon, I was elated. I immediately curled up in my favorite chair and started reading. I couldn’t put it down and finished it by early Thursday morning. The stories of the four women pulled me in.
All four women are in different stages of their lives, but they are all relatable. I personally related to India the most because there were some similarities in our situations, but I don’t think I am like her at all. The characters all had their own struggles that they were going through, but I love that Jen made them all headstrong, capable women who are able to navigate their way through heartache and loss.
This is honestly one of the best books I have read in a while and I definitely think that it is Jennifer Weiner’s best book to date. It’s rare that I would finish a book so quickly and become so entranced by a story, but “Then Came You” is one of those rare books. I was happy when the characters were happy and I sobbed when the characters faced heartbreak. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after reading it. If anyone is looking for an amazing read, this is it.
More Jen Weiner news:
*Check out the schedule for Jen’s BOOK TOUR, May 2012, which celebrates the paperback launch. It's mainly Pennsylvania based with one stop in New York, but have no fear, her summer tour for "The Next Best Thing" covers many more US locations. She's even sharing the Chicago stop with Sarah Pekkanen and Jen Lancaster!
*Now available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. On May 8th, Atria will also be publishing SWIM, an original e-book short story by Jennifer Weiner that will be available for free download wherever ebooks are sold. SWIM is originally from Jen's short story collection "The Guy Not Taken," and after she spent time in Los Angeles co-producing the ABC Family show, “State of Georgia,” she knew she wanted to continue. SWIM is the inspiration for her forthcoming novel, THE NEXT BEST THING (Atria Books, July 3, 2012).
*Jen’s highly anticipated new novel "The Next Best Thing" will be on shelves July 3rd. Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider's ear and eye for raunchy writer's rooms, bad behavior backstage and set politics, Jennifer Weiner's new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood rollercoaster, and a heartfelt story about what it's like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true...
How to win "Then Came You":
Tell us what stood out for you in our review. (One entry per person) Please include your e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.
US only. Giveaway ends May 8th at midnight EST.