From Publishers Weekly
The third installment (the first to be published in the U.S.) in a British-originated series, this uneven anthology of stories by chick lit's bright lights showcases some engaging voices. Many of the selections, however, lack focus and shape, and while most begin energetically, more than a few fizzle before ending abruptly. Notable exceptions include "Cat Lady" by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (The Dirty Girls Social Club
), in which a woman trying to embrace her inner spinster ("Dear self: If you are still single and haven't had one good date in the preceding two years... [s]ave yourself a future of humiliation and too much makeup and realize one important truth: You are now a cat lady") finds unexpected romance. In "New York" by Jill A. Davis (Girls' Poker Night
), a woman recovering from a breakdown finds her niche and a second chance for success in magazine publishing. Premonitions by a psychic roommate in "Know it All" by Sarah Mlynowski (Milkrun
) help the story's narrator finally make a decision regarding her on-again off-again boyfriend. Some big names disappoint, including Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed
) and Anna Maxted (Running in Heels
). The anthology supports an excellent cause—a percentage of the proceeds go to the humanitarian organization War Child—but it's not consistently gratifying as entertainment.
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Originally started in the UK, the Girls' (and Boys') Night In collections gather together hip fiction for the twenty- and thirtysomething sets. The U.S. version collects 21 stories from such popular chick-lit authors as Meg Cabot, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Isabel Wolff, Anna Maxted, and Lisa Jewell. In Cabot's "Party Planner," Charity, an event planner at the New York Journal
, plans a bang-up company party that goes disastrously awry, though her efforts don't go unnoticed by one handsome supervisor. Sophie Kinsella's "Changing People" brings an old boyfriend back into Sarah's life via a friend's new business scheme. In Sarah Mlynowski's "Know It All," Shaun's psychic roommate allows her to thwart fate's attempts to hook her ex-boyfriend up with a friendly redhead. Jennifer Weiner's "Good Men" revisits Bruce Guberman, the feckless ex-boyfriend of her heroine in Good in Bed
(2001), before the pair called it quits. Packed with stories from today's hottest authors, and with proceeds going to the charity War Child, this collection is a must-read for chick lit's many enthusiasts. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved