From Publishers Weekly
In her light third novel, Center (Everyone Is Beautiful
) tackles sisterhood, but falls just short of poignancy. Sarah Harper is on the New York fast track at a top advertising agency until she grows a conscience overnight and sends out a companywide e-mail debunking her popular bra campaign. Fired, she flies home to Houston, where she crashes with her older sister, Mackie, and Mackie's husband, Clive. Turns out Mackie has problems of her own: after years of trying to have a baby, she announces she's done. In an effort to do something good for a change, Sarah offers herself up as a surrogate. In the nine pregnant months that follow, Sarah juggles unexpected feelings for her brother-in-law and expected feelings for an ex-boyfriend, and instead of the pregnancy bringing her and Mackie closer, it drives them apart. Witty dialogue and likable characters keep the pages turning, but Center glosses over the depth of emotion inherent in carrying your sister's baby to the point that you forget at times that Sarah is pregnant. It's a fun, breezy book, but it doesn't try to get to the heart of the matter. (Apr.)
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Sometimes the worst thing to happen turns out to be the best and vice versa. Sarah Harper does the unthinkable and forwards an inappropriate e-mail to the entire company, losing her job in advertising. Luckily she planned to go home to Houston to spend time with her sister Mackie and her husband. Unfortunately, on the plane, she sits next to Everett, the high-school boyfriend she unceremoniously dumped. After Sarah realizes how gorgeous and successful he is, Everett ruins the moment by making a snarky comment. Capriciousness takes over Sarah’s life as she decides to help Mackie with her infertility problem by becoming a surrogate. Sarah perceives this as a bonding time for the sisters, but things do not work out as planned, and Sarah finally recognizes that the loss of her mother at a young age had major effects on her life, her attitude toward love, and maybe even her luck. Center delivers an original, engaging, and touching novel populated with quirky and lovable characters, and ripe for discovery by readers looking for a cheering read. --Patty Engelmann