Starred Review. Blogger Vadino (bunnyshop.org) does a good job in her first novel of capturing the inner life of a chronic worrier as she navigates late '90s New York City. The reluctant assistant editor of a dot-com fashion magazine, Betsey Nilssen stocks up on freeze-dried foods, convinced the world is going to end on January 1, 2000. But Betsey's busy, pre-apocalypse best friend Bridget Callahan is planning her perfect wedding, and office crush Ryan Wells finally returns Betsey's affections. Though Betsey is crazy about him, and he seems devoted, his having just split with his longtime girlfriend causes some doubts that Bridget exploits. Bridget, meanwhile, is dispassionate about fiancé James, which causes Betsey to wonder who has the right attitude when it comes to being in love. Vadino peppers her prose with unmistakable and convincing period references (the Discman, Zima, the X-Files), including a quick (and heartbreaking) line about being disoriented downtown until spotting the World Trade Center. Office politics at the scrappy e-mag run true, and while Betsey's neurotic obsessing could be pruned, Vadino gets into her head while still making her sympathetic, especially as her fixation on Ryan threatens to send her off the deep end. The novel's bittersweet tone carries through to a satisfying conclusion. (Oct.)
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Diane Vadino is an exhilarating talent . . . This is a slight, beautiful novel that makes you wish there were more smart girls like her writing books. (Nylon)
Smart Girls Like Me [is] like moving Bridget Jones to New York . . . Betsy's humorous internal monologues keep the reader engaged from first page to last. (San Francisco Chronicle)
A raw and honest glimpse of single life. The witty, poignant Vadino writes exactly how Smart Girls think. (Entertainment Weekly)
[T]o maintain your dignity while giving into your chick lit urge . . .With seriously good writing by this McSweeney's alum, Smart Girls is as fun and relatable as one of those silly pink books . . . (Marie Claire)
For many years I have marveled at Diane Vadino's ability to take the plainest little sentence and extend and twist it into something finer, funnier, revealing, and sad. Like this one from the book you are holding right now and ought to buy immediately: 'Or maybe this is all a fabrication, a way to soften the fact that she is sashimi at Nobu and I am Stouffer's macaroni and cheese and that this is less an illuminating metaphor than it is an accurate description of what we both ate for dinner last night.' That's just one of the beguiling double helixes that make up the DNA of this book: a zippy-smart, bitter-funny read with a beautiful, accomplished novel hidden in its genetic code, expressing itself like a sudden bright blue eye in a family of brown-eyed children---at the most surprising times. (John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise)
Diane Vadino is a writer of enormous gifts, all of which are on display here, in her brilliant debut: a keen intelligence and wit, an amazing imagination, and an incisive understanding of human beings and the dilemmas---fantastical and mundane---in which they entangle themselves. She is that rarity: a young artist able to offer wisdom without pretension, inspiration without inhibition. I have no doubt this is the beginning of a long and wonderful career. (Nicholas Christopher, author of The Bestiary and A Trip to the Stars)
Diane Vadino is a warm, funny, and talented young writer. In her terrific first novel she transports us to the roller-coaster ride that is single life in the city---pleasingly paced, perfectly detailed scenes replete with Diane von Furstenberg dresses, meatloaf sandwiches, a job in media, credit card debt thanks to various bridesmaid honors, and crushing heartbreak at a downtown RadioShack. Never again will I reflect on those excruciatingly embarrassing moments of obsessive young love and feel alone. (Jenny Minton, author of The Early Birds)
Fabulously entertaining, insightful, and touching in its telling of a young woman finding her own voice, her own path in life. Diane Vadino is an exceptional new discovery in fiction! (Kirsten Lobe, author of French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan and the bestselling Paris Hangover)
Sorry but I just hated this book, at least the part I read. I forced myself to get to page 38 and had to stop the agony! Read morePublished on April 29, 2010 by Sue
This is a better than average chick lit book, with the main character Betsy being focused on more important issues than Prada shoes. Read morePublished on July 23, 2009 by Stacy Y. Correll
Betsy, the main character in this story of quarter-life-crisis, is an entertaining but familiar mess. Read morePublished on April 2, 2009 by KL
In SMART GIRLS LIKE ME, her debut novel, writer and blogger Diane Vadino turns the typical "chick lit" formula on its head. Read morePublished on November 30, 2007 by Bookreporter
I'm a guy. I don't usually read books like this - ones about relationships from a girl's point of view. Read morePublished on November 17, 2007 by Norin Rad
I'm definitely not a chick lit kind of girl but I loved this book. My best friend gave it to me, and so I was willing to deal with the pink cover - and I am so glad I did, because... Read morePublished on October 16, 2007 by nicole a.