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Brooklyn Girls: A Novel Paperback – July 2, 2013
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The first in a new series that will follow five twentysomething women who share a Brooklyn brownstone centers on Pia, a chic, spoiled European expat whose parents have issued an ultimatum that she must find a job or move back to Switzerland. After failing at jobs in an office and a restaurant, she impulsively buys an old food truck and starts her own business, Skinnywheels, serving healthy meals to Manhattan office workers. Skinnywheels is improbably successful, which is fortunate since she owes a large sum of money to a menacing loan shark. British transplant Burgess seems inspired by such popular television shows as Girls and Two Broke Girls, which also follow young women making their way in Brooklyn. Replete with raunchy dialogue, drunken partying, and a mania for fashion, this book is at once derivative and entertaining. The scenes with all the girls gossiping and bickering work best, which bodes well for their continuing adventures in future installments. --Aleksandra Walker
“A sassy summer confection.” ―The New York Times
“Entertaining.” ―New York Daily News, "The Summer's Best Beach Reads"
“Hilarious and touching, this is a page-turner that will leave readers wanting more!” ―Romantic Times
“In this fun, frothy read about making it in the Big Apple, twentysomething Pia is the proud owner of Skinnywheels, a pink food truck. You'll gobble up her misadventures in navigating the cutthroat world of hipster organic farmers and fending off Bianca, a sneaky ex-colleague out to steal her business plan.” ―Fitness Magazine
“I tore through this hilarious book, laughing out loud and realizing more than once that my jaw had dropped open. Gemma has created a witty and wonderful world of surprising modern heroines.” ―Joanna Goddard, Cup Of Jo
“Gemma Burgess delivers a hilarious, true-to-life story about twenty-somethings living their not-so-dream-lives in Brooklyn with razor-sharp wit, unflinching honesty, and a warm heart. Brooklyn Girls is a must-read.” ―Cara Lockwood, USA Today bestselling author of I Do (But I Don't)
“Fast, funny, and fresh: Brooklyn Girls is a wonderful laugh-out-loud novel for anyone trying to figure out what she wants in life, and how the hell she's going to get it.” ―Kim Gruenenfelder, author of Wedding Fever and There's Cake in My Future
Top customer reviews
First, part of Gemma Burgess's charm is that she has such a great British voice and which humorously comes out in her wiring. Having this series set in New York with American main characters, the voice seemed off. That isn't to say that I didn't laugh, but not nearly as much. I felt like some of the jokes were a bit contrived or the crazy circumstances got a bit outlandish.
Second, I didn't really believe that the main character's story had any plausibility. Now, I normally suspend belief when reading things like this, but this one even pushed my threshold a bit too far. I don't want to spoil this for you, so I won't say anything other than between a loan shark and the fact that Pia knows nothing about cooking or business, the food truck storyline didn't ring true to me.
Third (and probably the hardest part for me), I didn't care about the guy. Pia sees this mysteriously sexy man everywhere, but she is afraid to move on because she still loves her high school boyfriend.I kept hoping Pia would surprise me and end up falling for her one night stand or something, but alas, no such luck.
if you want something light and fluffy to read in a day on the beach, it's not the worst choice, but honestly, you would be happier reading Dating Detox (again).
Pia is the main narrator amongst the quintet. It’s quite enlightening to see her gradual transformation from an incredible f**k-up to a passionate, goal-driven girl. The novel opens with a party that demonstrates her irresponsibility and devil-may-care attitude, which is really just a manifestation of her uncertainty and lack of focus. While she doesn’t completely lose all of her easygoing personality, she does find maturity and certainty with time. But her passion for her chosen career was evident, as was her strong desire to do the right thing. She was really a fun, cool character!
Her friendships with the others – Maddy, Julia, Coco and Angie – were fun and different from one another. Readers get a good idea of what the other four are like through Pia’s point of view! Even though their personalities are riddled with stereotypical clichés, they made for an interesting group.
It made me glad that romance wasn’t a strong focus, though her past and (possible) future romance did affect Pia’s actions. The romance was a very movie-like affair, particularly how it starts and how it concludes. But there is one thing I must say: an attractive BRITISH boy? YES PLEASE.
It was wonderful to see New York! I could totally relate to the way it’s described, even though I live in the Bronx and not Brooklyn. But the charm, the wonder, the frenetic energy, the unlimited craziness, the feeling of endless possibility and hope and just the sense of belonging if you've never found that before - it's something I've personally experienced. Burgess did a great job of translating this into words!
But my favorite part of the book? The FOOD TRUCKS. I love a good food truck. They make cheap, good food that you can find in most places in the city (and now that it's summer, there are a lot of fro-yo and ice cream trucks), and it's so cool how it's incorporated in the story. Food trucks are a tale unto themselves, and Burgess totally used that concept.
Sure, there are a few crazy elements in this story - like the involvement of the mob, for instance. But that didn't take away from my enjoyment. I felt like I was sitting and watching a film, which made me kind of happy. I'm a sucker for cheese sometimes, for "fate and destiny" to make things work out. And this novel was perfect for that!
The combination of a group of five (very different) girls and their crazy shenanigans set against the backdrop of my beloved New York was like a siren's call. And I’m really glad I responded to it! Brooklyn Girls is certainly a light read, in spite of all the crazy stuff that ensues. But it was funny, and snarky, and silly. It celebrated friendships, through the good times and the bad times. It also showcased the kind of New York that I've experienced myself - one where all things are possible, where the craziest out of a movie moments take place, where you can reinvent yourself and become someone new. Because I found it so relatable and real and true, Brooklyn Girls definitely struck a strong chord with me. I loved everything about it, and am certainly looking forward to the next book (rumor has it, it’s about Angie)!