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The Smart One Paperback – August 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061129623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061129629
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,111,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Now divorced, 35 and resolved to become a teacher after a series of entry-level design jobs, Bev Bloomrosen takes up temporary residence in her parents' Long Island home while they're in Florida. There, she immediately gets drawn into older sister Clare's marital woes and younger sister Joey's struggle to stay off drugs. Romantic complications soon arrive in the form of the neighbors' son, Kenny, a comedy writer whose tangled past involves both Bev and Joey. The sisters share an adventure while removing an industrial drum from beneath Kenny's parents' house—until they open it to discover the body of a pregnant woman, possibly killed years earlier by Kenny's father (who is now in Florida with advanced dementia). Meister (Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA) develops this uneasy mix of soap-opera secrets and slapstick humor with twist after twist to the point of reader exhaustion. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bev Bloomrosen, the middle of three sisters, has always been envious of her siblings. While her older sister, Clare, has gotten by on her looks and her younger sister, Joey, has everyone on edge with her wild past, everyone has always had high expectations for Bev. At 35 Bev has turned to teaching and is considering leaving New York for a job in Las Vegas. She agrees to spend the summer at her parents’ house while they frolic in Florida with their next-door neighbors and to help facilitate the sale of the neighbors’ house. Things get complicated when Kenny, the next-door neighbors’ handsome son who Bev has always carried a torch for, shows up, considering a move home. Bev is just as smitten as before, but despite the fact that Kenny seems interested, she can’t get over the fact that he slept with Joey when they were teens. Add a murder mystery to this tale of sibling rivalry for a perfect beach read. --Kristine Huntley

More About the Author

Ellen Meister has written five novels: DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE (Putnam 2015), FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER (Putnam 2013), THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam 2011), THE SMART ONE (HarperCollins 2008) and SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (HarperCollins 2006). She has also published short stories and essays, and one novelette, THE WISHING CAKE. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University Continuing Education, and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related issues. Ellen runs a popular Dorothy Parker page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DorothyParkerQuotes. For more information visit www.ellenmeister.com.

Customer Reviews

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It has suspense, mystery, romance, volatile relationships and great characters.
Joanna Keating-Velasco
It's a quick, easy read--a great way to pass time on an airplane, which is where I got through most of this novel.
Michelaneous by Michele
Meister's writing is deft and witty, and the characters are engrossing and the plot is compelling.
susan_d

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelaneous by Michele on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main thing this book has going for it is the strong writing skills of the author, Ellen Meister. She has a knack for believable, natural dialog and good timing when it comes to humor. It's a quick, easy read--a great way to pass time on an airplane, which is where I got through most of this novel.

This is the story of Bev, the "smart one" of three sisters. Her older sister, Clare is the pretty one and her younger sister, Joey, is the wild one. If anything, Meister nails the common stereotypes of sibling labeling and relationships, and it's easy to believe these characters act the way they do in this story. Additionally there's the boy next door, Kenny, who is the funny one, I suppose--the angry youth turned studly romantic interest. He uses hackneyed humor to cope with his anger over a no-good father, whose past actions are central to the plot. Kenny's strings of jokes about little people and his behavior toward Bev really take his character over the top, making him highly unlikable. One wonders how "the smart one" can continue to want him.

Overall the story is predictable. I was able to predict nearly every plot point and would have preferred to be surprised. But I stuck with it because I enjoyed Meister's first book, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. The ease of her writing style made the hours I spent with this story a pleasant experience.

Michele Cozzens is the author of It's Not Your Mother's Bridge Club and A Line Between Friends
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By susan_d on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down. Meister's writing is deft and witty, and the characters are engrossing and the plot is compelling. Meister proves Wolfe wrong -- and Kansas's famous Dorothy correct -- you can go home again. And then she mines that concept for gold. When Bev Bloomrosen, the "smart" sister, is cornered into living in her parents' home for the summer, it starts a series of snowballing events that are either going to destroy her family or cement their bonds. An old flame breezes into town, charming Bev (and readers) with his nonstop wisecracks just as Bev and her sisters make a ghastly discovery practically in their own backyard.

I absolutely fell in love with Bev, who manages to hold her own when it comes to funny one-liners, and was more than enamored with the rest of her family, too. Meister manages to masterfully mix a dark mystery with sizzling romantic entanglements and heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) family drama. I know plenty of people are going to call this a "beach read" because it is a riveting, engrossing pageturner, but it's also blessed with a charm and intelligence that make it resonate with class and soul. Just like its main character, this book is one of the smart ones.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan O'Neill on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sibling rivalry, the 'burbs, murder, sex and very funny one-liners: what's not to like about The Smart One?

I read this book with the same gusto with which I might have consumed one of the confections on the cover, but the writing's too smart to consider it Empty Calorie fare. The sisters Bev, Clare and Joey are real human beings, and Meister draws and colors them with love, humor and an artistic ease worthy of her protagonist. As much as they might bicker, intrigue, misstep and want to shake each other, they are never boring. Meister's prose seems effortless--testimony to how very well she writes--and her grasp of family dynamics is adept and rings true.

IMHO, it's even better than Confessions of the Applewood PTA--more mature and grounded, even while maintaining the same excellent sense of humor. Buy it; enjoy it; pass the word.

Susan O'Neill, Author: Don't Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Vietnam
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Myfanwy Collins on August 21, 2008
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My mother always told me, "Friends may come and go, but a sister is forever." She had six sisters, so she knew what she was talking about. My father had four sisters and I have three. I grew up in a world of sisters and feel like I have a pretty good handle on sisterhood, and so does Ellen Meister.

At the core of her charming, thrilling, and often hilarious new book--The Smart One--are sisters. Three sisters to be exact--Bev, Clare, and Joey--each playing the role she thinks is expected of her. It seems the sisters hide behind these roles of smart, pretty, and wild, especially when they are together.

It is only when they bond together to try to solve a decades old mystery that they learn the truth about each other: and that is that they no longer need these labels. In fact, maybe they are all smart, pretty, and wild. What's most important is that they love each other and they are there for each other (even when irritated with each other).

Like Ellen herself, this book has a lot of heart and these characters will stick with you long after you have finished reading. Like sisters to you, they are forever.

Read this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Keating-Velasco on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have been waiting for my preordered copy of THE SMART ONE for several months. What a treat to have it arrive yesterday. I had trouble putting it down once I started and spent the entire day devouring each and every page today. It's a wonderful intertwining tale of 3 sisters...3 different sisters...The Pretty One, The Wild One and The Smart One. Having never had a sister, I thought I might be an outsider looking in, but I really understood the dynamics of sibling rivalry regardless of gender. It made me think of the relationships and roles among me and my two brothers and how important our relationships are.

Need a great read for the beach, your next plane ride or vacation? This is the perfect book. It has suspense, mystery, romance, volatile relationships and great characters. Yet, it is also down to earth making it seem that you and I could also be characters in this novel.

Kudos to Ellen Meister for another fun, delightful and worthy summer read. Plus, the cover graphics alone are deliciously tempting enough to send you to the nearest bakery to enjoy a baked good while eating through this yummy novel.
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