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Semi-Charmed Life: A Novel Paperback – July 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Semi-Charmed Life chronicles the world of one Beatrice Bernstein, as she attempts to gain independence from her famous artistic family and falls in with the socialite crowd. (Elle)

A lighthearted novel filled with rude awakenings, Manhattan adventure, and the blush of first love. (Daily Candy)

Prepare to be fully-charmed! Nora Zelevansky has delivered a deliciously hilarious novel that you will devour in one sitting and then beg for more! (Jessica Brody, bestselling author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father)

An amazing new voice, a romantic and magical romp through the hip, glitzy and overheated and over-hyped worlds of fashion, art and music...Deft, funny, inspired. (Molly Jong-Fast, Author of The Social Climber's Handbook)

Semi-Charmed Life is a deliciously dizzying comedic mystery, filled with as many twists and turns as the maps that Beatrice, the main character, collects. Nora Zelevansky captures Beatrice's over-the-top adventures through Manhattan celebutante society with a freshness and authenticity that makes every page a pleasure. Nora's writing is unselfconsciously stylish, giddy with references to art and pop-culture, and wholly entertaining. (Aury Wallington, author of the New York Times bestselling novel Saving Charlie and former "Sex and The City" writer)

…a charming, magical and somewhat strange city satire that follows arty Upper West Sider Beatrice Bernstein as she becomes a ghost writer for the blog of her 'famous-for-nothing socialite' neighbor Veruca Pfeffernoose and ends up falling down the rabbit hole of opulence. (Flavorwire)

I absolutely loved this book! I didn't want to put it down…It was all just too much (in a good way!) Highly recommend. (A Book in Hand)

Not only is Nora Zelevansky's Semi-Charmed Life that perfect summer read to whisk you away to trips you've only dreamed about, but it's also about finding and being true to who you are. I look forward to seeing more by Zelevansky in the future because she's definitely made me a fan. (A Written Rhapsody)

[With] a cast of really charming and whimsical characters, this is an excellent debut that shows the lengths one girl will go to break out on her own and feel free. (Chicklit Club)

…a fun, escapist book that might even cause you to question the popularity of real-life Verucas. (Cupcake's Book Cupboard)

Semi-Charmed Life was one of those hidden gems that I never expected to love…it made me laugh and tear through the pages to find out what Beatrice would do next. It's the perfect beach-read that manages to stay with you long after you've left the beach. (Ink Bitten)

About the Author

NORA ZELEVANSKY's writing has appeared in ELLE, SELF, InStyle, Town & Country, Style.com, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Salon.com, Vanity Fair online and Travel + Leisure, among others. She is author of the novel Semi-Charmed Life. A born-and-bred Manhattanite, she now lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250001188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250001184
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Khelsey Jackson on July 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Beatrice Bernstein is sick of her sheltered life and wants a change. She wants to make her own choices like an adult. Her senior year of college because she would be living in off campus housing with her best friend Dolly. Her new places turned out to be below her expectations, she is forced to take Veruca Pfeffernoose's offer. She would be ghost writing for the socialite's blog and in exchange she would be living in Veruca's extravagant loft. Writing Veruca's blog also means Beatrice has to follow Veruca - to parties, the spa, art exhibits, to London, Paris, then Rio, etc. It seems like an awesome deal, but when Beatrice discovers that she'd been duped by someone she trusted, she learns to stand up for herself.

I loved this book. I won't lie it did take me a while to get into it, but when I did I loved it. Beatrice is interesting character because of her silly thoughts but the other characters also drew me in because of their unusual personalities. Beatrice's artsy and naive family, her very helpful best friend Dolly, strange dorm mates like Goth Girl and Hormone Guy, Veruca and her posse, and dreamy boy toy, Ben. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. If you really read it, then you'll love it like I did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Wurster on July 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book! There is a very compelling dark quality to the mystery here, which keeps a reader completely engaged throughout, and the unexpected catapult "into the light" later in the piece came as a rich reward. This first novel is a highly intelligent piece of work which raises great questions about what "fame" consists of and how it is both bestowed and wielded. A terrific read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pompei on September 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on the strength of a review in Daily Candy. It is a site that I love and where I get quite a few wonderful tips for goods and services, but this book is for a significantly younger reader than myself. I am of a mid century vintage and this one got way beyond what I know or care about. Perhaps my daughter who lives in NYC fits the demographic better for this type romance novel. I found a lot of it absurd and not too well defined. I think before I jump into another purchase on the strength of one review I will seek out other reader's opinions contained on this site.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Holly Green on July 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This a great book especially because it's the arthors first attempt. I loved the trials and tribulations of the main characters
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Format: Paperback
I love it when a book surprises me, and that is exactly what SEMI-CHARMED LIFE did. I hadn't heard much about this novel before being contacted by St. Martin's to review the title. Had they not contacted me, I probably would have missed out on this one, which would have been a shame because I genuinely enjoyed Zelevansky's debut.

SEMI-CHARMED LIFE is about Beatrice Bernstein, a college senior desperate for change. She ends up finding that change with the help of Veruca Pfeffernoose, a socialite that will change Beatrice's life forever...but not before turning it completely upside down.

Beatrice wants to explore, to leave New York and experience what the world has to offer. But her parents insist that there is no reason to leave New York, because they have everything that they could possibly want right there in New York. When Beatrice wishes for freedom, little does she know that very freedom will come in the form of Veruca Pfeffernoose, a popular socialite, and the H.O.S - Veruca's entourage. But not all is as it seems. Beatrice will unearth secrets about the H.O.S that'll make her question what is real and what is fake.

What I loved most about SEMI-CHARMED LIFE is that it is ultimately a story about self discovery. Beatrice is so caught up in what she thinks she wants, and the life that she thinks she wants to live, that it isn't until she meets Veruca, that she begins to understand the life that she actually wants. I think a lot of people in their twenties experience something along those lines, at least, I know that I have. Sometimes we think we need something better, that our life as it is just isn't enough, but it's only because we're too blind to see what is sitting in front of us.

SEMI-CHARMED LIFE is the perfect beach read. It's a fun book that readers can easily lose themselves in. There's wit. There's romance. There's drama. It's everything that I was looking for in my next read without even realizing it.
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Format: Paperback
There are some things I just do not understand about people. For instance, why are there Kardashians? Why do we allow them to exist outside of their home? Why do we allow those Jersey Shore cretins to make more money than an entire platoon of troops? Why do people watch crap like that on television?

It isn't that Nora Zelevansky answers those questions in Semi-Charmed Life, but she does get to the essence of why we so willingly follow these idiots off cliffs: fame, fortune and free swag.

College senior Beatrice Bernstein finds herself caught up in the whirlwind known as Veruca Pfeffernoose, a blonde socialite (think Paris Hilton, another parasite whose fame is beyond all rational thought) who hires Beatrice to ghost write a blog detailing Veruca's high flying lifestyle. Of course Beatrice falls in thrall with private planes, facials and Balenciaga bags. She even finds herself copping Veruca's attitude: "To the unknowing onlooker, Beatrice might easily have been the crew's queen bee. She was now a fully indoctrinated member of Veruca's gang. In observing the media princess so closely she had unconsciously picked up some habits, including the socialite's coy crinkling of the nose whenever she was digging in her heels. She'd also perfected the blank stare, which Veruca - and now Beatrice - used to avoid communicating an actual opinion, perhaps about a given reality TV star or gossip columnist."

Yes, poor Beatrice. all of that free designer footwear and top shelf champagne is like the serpent in the Garden of Eden: nothing good can come of it. Beatrice compromises her credo, not to mention warps her moral compass. She ditches friends and family, while coveting Veruca's hot boyfriend Ben.

Can Beatrice be saved?

Well, of course she can.
Read more ›
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