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Certain Girls: A Novel Hardcover – April 8, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Cannie Shapiro Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following the story collection The Guy Not Taken, Weiner turns in a hilarious sequel to her 2001 bestselling first novel, Good in Bed, revisiting the memorable and feisty Candace Cannie Shapiro. Flashing forward 13 years, the novel follows Cannie as she navigates the adolescent rebellion of her about-to-be bat mitzvahed daughter, Joy, and juggles her writing career; her relationship with her physician husband, Peter Krushelevansky; her ongoing weight struggles; and the occasional impasse with Joy's biological father, Bruce Guberman. Joy, whose premature birth resulted in her wearing hearing aids, has her own amusing take on her mother's overinvolvement in her life as the novel, with some contrivance, alternates perspectives. As her bat mitzvah approaches, Joy tries to make contact with her long absent maternal grandfather and seeks more time with Bruce. In addition, unbeknownst to Joy, Peter has expressed a desire to have a baby with Cannie, which means looking for a surrogate mother. Throughout, Weiner offers her signature snappy observations: (good looks function as a get-out-of-everything-free card) and spot-on insights into human nature, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. She expends some energy getting readers up to speed on Good, but readers already involved with Cannie will enjoy this, despite Joy's equally strong voice. (Apr.)
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"Hilarious. Weiner offer her signature snappy observations and spot-on insights into human nature." -- Publishers Weekly

"Heartfelt and funny...A touching examination of both the comic and tragic moments that mark the mother-daughter relationship." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Clear your calendar and prepare to read: Cannie Shapiro is back! Weiner is a talented writer who consistently delivers the goods. Readers will laugh and cry..." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"Weiner displays her signature wry voice and sap-free knack for capturing heartfelt moments; an unexpected plot twist gives her story emotional heft. Fans should find Girls a worthy successor." -- People

"Filled with family tumult (lesbian mother, rebellious teenage daughter, nutjob sister), career uncertainty, heart wrenching plot twists, and plenty of Weiner's classic sass, Certain Girls is like literary cotton candy -- it's light, fun and sweet, yet sticks with you long after it's gone. Label it a beach season must." -- Gotham

"Weiner's follow-up to Good in Bed is, in a word, fantastic. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, you'll cry as you follow Cannie and her now nearly teenage daughter, Joy. Told through alternating first-person narratives, Weiner's tale gives mothers and daughters alike a treat to devour." -- Romantic Times

"Weiner is a talented and accomplished novelist, with real stylistic flair, excellent and sometimes laugh-out loud wit, and good insight into her characters...Cannie has retained her wit and her sharp takes on the world she lives in, but she has evolved. Weiner's voice is smart and edgy, and her male characters are sharply drawn. She writes about issues, such as the dynamics of family life, that are of interest to all humans." -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"In this smart-mouthed sequel to Good in Bed (a chick-lit classic), heroine Cannie is older but thinner, and in a terrible tussle with her soon-to-be-bat mitzvahed daughter." -- Good Housekeeping

"Jennifer Weiner's new book, Certain Girls, is a sequel to her huge best-seller, Good in Bed. For those of us who loved Cannie Shapiro, it's a chance to see her years later, married, a mother and coping with a new set of challenges." -- Cape Cod Times

"A daughter's journey through teen angst to realizations about family, acceptance, love, and the nature of truth." -- Elle magazine's "Elle's Letters" Readers' Prize April Winner --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743294254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294256
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very excited to read "Certain Girls," the sequel to Jennifer Weiner's bestselling novel "Good in Bed," which I liked very much. Although most of the book was a lot of fun to read, the ending left me very disappointed.

"Certain Girls" takes place more than a decade after "Good in Bed." Cannie and Peter are now married and raising Cannie's daughter, Joy, who is now 13 years old. Cannie and Joy alternate chapters as narrators, and they have the kind of relationship that's pretty typical between teenage girls and their mothers. Joy thinks that her mom is an overprotective pain in the butt, and Cannie worries constantly about her daughter, especially when she notices changes in Joy's behavior. Meanwhile, Cannie struggles with the notion that her husband wants to have another baby with the help of a surrogate, and Joy eventally breaks down and reads the popular book her mother wrote 10 years ago. "Big Girls Don't Cry" is a sensationalized version of the events that led up to Joy's birth, and after reading it, Joy is so traumatized that she begins to question every aspect of her life. Eventually Joy embarks on a quest to discover the truth about her mother and herself.

At first I wasn't sure what to make of "Certain Girls." I enjoyed the first few chapters, but everything about the novel seemed so predictable and obvious. However, Weiner is a pretty fantastic storyteller, and despite the fact that I had most of the story figured out right away, I was completely drawn in by the book's characters and the emotions that they experienced, which are all unbelievably honest and relatable. As I continued reading, I thought that "Certain Girls" may end up being Weiner's best book to date...until I got to page 344!

The last 40 pages of this book SUCK!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jennifer Weiner first appeared on the fiction market with her novel, Good In Bed, a funny, smart look at modern life as viewed by a woman who's coping with stuff that the majority of women live with -- treacherous boyfriends, the constant battle with our weight, and a refreshing attitude that most of us could sympathize with.

Now with Certain Girls, more than a dozen years have passed since the events in Good In Bed. Cannie Shapiro is happily married to Dr. Peter K, and the very proud mother of her daughter, Joy. After her novel -- a thinly disguised memoir of her life -- turned into a runaway best-seller, Cannie has settled into a routine of being a mom and wife, and writing science fiction novels for teenagers under a pseudonym. Everything is going good, and that?s when the problems start.

Joy, the darling of her parents, is hovering on the brink of puberty, and worse still, her bat mitzvah the dreaded rite of passage in every Jewish girl's life when she makes that transition between being a child and an adult at the age of thirteen. But she has other things to worry about - such as not being one of the 'popular girls' such as Amber, the perfect girl at her school. She?s also at that stage where her parents embarrass her mightily, especially her mother. Toss in the fact that she also hates wearing her hearing aids, and her grades are slipping, and Joy is heading for trouble.

Especially when her Aunt Lucy - now calling herself Elle - comes to visit, intending to find Joy the perfect dress, Joy starts finding herself in a conflicting time. Now that suddenly she's being noticed by Amber and her crowd, she's losing her best friends, the twins Todd and Tamsin, and she is also reading her mother's best selling novel on the sly.
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Format: Hardcover
I believe the biggest problem with Certain Girls is that Weiner, who created Cannie with a terrific, believable voice, did not succeed in maintaining Cannie's voice and adding an equally believable voice in her daughter Joy. Many authors of late have written novels in a multiple voice point of view. Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible comes to mind as an extraordinary novel written in this fashion. But Cannie's voice is diluted and Joy's voice is, well, certainly not that of an almost-teen. Sure, Weiner has made her whiny, cruel, self-centered, and self-possessed, but the voice just isn't right. She uses language that doesn't ring true. I can't "see" Joy as a character and the Cannie that we loved in Good in Bed does not continue to develop and grow.
And I agree with the comments about the contrived plot "twist" at the end. By trying to convince her readers that Cannie is a strong woman capable of withstanding the worst that life can throw at her, she has succeeded only in highlighting the stereotype that we're all becoming rather tired of. Yeah, we're tough and we can "take it" [sigh]. But when we read a Jennifer Weiner book, we'd rather not.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved, loved, loved "Good In Bed" and was so excited when I saw this one. "Good In Bed" was one of my top 5 favorite books but I'll never be able to reread it without the taint of this sequel. For those who will, despite the mediocre reviews, read this book I won't reveal the plot twist but suffice it to say that I felt exceeding emotionally manipulated. By the end of the novel I was angry and wished I'd never read the book. There were numerous points when I thought about putting it away and ending the painful attempt to try to get through it but I continued on... to my heartbreak. I should have heeded my intuition. Beyond the devastated twist late in the book... what happened to the strong, quirky and intelligent Cannie? Instead we're left with a fear driven and insecure woman who never found her way... very disappointing. Also, I recognize that all mother/ daughter relationships change during those awful teenage years but it seemed that more was being made of the situation than was warranted. All in all... VERY disappointing! Spend your money elsewhere!!
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