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These Girls: A Novel Kindle Edition
Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.
Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.
Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.
Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.
Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.
“The honesty and complexity that Sarah Pekkanen brings to her three main characters in These Girls is impressive and rare. You can't help but root for each one of them as they struggle to strike that elusive balance between professional success and personal happiness. The bonds among Pekkamen's female heroines will have you reaching for the phone to hold your own best girlfriends a little closer.” –Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres
"In These Girls, Sarah Pekkanen again proves her innate understanding of women's relationships. With a style that's both wry and heartfelt, readers will absolutely recognize themselves and their friendships on the pages. These Girls is lively and engaging and ultimately satisfying, so get comfortable because you won't be able to put it down!" –Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter Is the New Black
"A fun and engaging romp...Pekkanen's authorial voice is sweetly snappy, the plot is character-driven, and the book ends satisfactorily without tying up every loose end. Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Close will enjoy this refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous novel." —Booklist
"Pekkanen’s characters are sympathetic and familiar, and readers are likely to identify with aspects of each protagonist. Fans of Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Dessen, Liza Palmer, and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this smart novel by a rising star in women’s fiction." —Library Journal
"At turns btitersweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and painfully real..." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Pekkanen's latest celebrates the healing power of female friendship for three very different young women sharing a New York City apartment. You'll wish you could move in with these girls." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"The honesty and complexity in These Girls is impressive and rare. You can't help but root for each character as they struggle to strike that elusive balance between professional success and personal happiness." —Nicolle Wallace, bestselling author of Eighteen Acres
"Pekkanen again proves her innate understanding of women's relationships. With a style that's both wry and heartfelt, readers will absolutely recognize themselves and their friendships on these pages." —Jen Lancaster, bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black
"Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about sisters that made me laugh out loud." —Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"With her smart, soulful noivel, author Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect." —Redbook
"Sharp-tongued...a spot-on portrayal of the existential dilemmas of young adulthood." —The Washington Post
"Original, engaging and soulful, Skipping a Beat explorse the complexity of marriage and what it really means to share a life." —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed
"In this compelling and satisfying read, Pekkanen offers relateable characters that move you and an ending that surprises and pleases. Highly recommended." —Library Journal starred review
"This portrait of a couple forced to take responsibility for the breakkdown of their relationship is at once heartbreaking and familiar." —People
Praise for Skipping A Beat
“An insightful examination of a marriage. The moving story and bittersweet ending will draw in readers. –Booklist”
“A two-hanky weepy…A tragic turn of events redirects what could have been a predictable romance into a drama on the fragility of love and marriage.” –Kirkus
“Original, engaging and soulful, Skipping a Beat explores the complexity of marriage and what it really means to share a life.” —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed
“Tender and funny in turn, Sarah Pekkanen has made modern marriage exciting in this imaginative and heartfelt tale of love and healing.” —Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, #1 bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries
“A provocative, poignant look at marriage, money and the things that matter most.” —Beth Kendrick, author of The Prenup
“Sarah Pekkanen explores the impossible choice between true love and the trappings of success. She is masterful at creating nuanced, complex characters deadlocked with emotional conflict, and the story culminates in an ending that will leave readers breathless” —Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black
"In this compelling and satisfying read, Pekkanen offers relatable characters that move you and an ending that surprises and pleases. Highly recommended." —Library Journal, starred review
"This portrait of a couple forced to take responsibility for the breakdown of their relationship is at once heartbreaking and familiar." ~People
“Intelligent and entertaining.” ~The Washington Post
Praise for The Opposite of Me
“Pekkanen's involving debut is an honest examination of the limits we place on ourselves, with well-drawn female characters” — Kirkus
"Sweet, smart, and funny" — Cosmopolitan.com
“Fresh, appealing…the story is at turns funny and poignant.” — Booklist
"Pekkanen's wry voice and engaging characters—the bumbling parents are especially lovable—keep things fresh" —People (3.5 out of 4 stars)
"This story hits the ground running and keeps going...an engaging read that delivers" --The Free Lance-Star
"With her smart, soulful novel, author Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect." - Redbook
"It's warm, it's whimsical, and it's a winner." --The Courier Mail (Australia)
"Sharp-tongued...a spot-on portrayal of the existential dilemmas of young adulthood" --Washington Post
"The writing is clever and the characters well-drawn. This debut novel will likely remind many readers of Jennifer Weiner’s In Her Shoes and is recommended for Weiner’s fans as well as those chick-lit devotees who enjoy Megan Crane” -- Library Journal
“Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about sisters that actually made me laugh out loud. I was completely drawn into Lindsey’s world and rooted for her from beginning to end.” -- Jennifer Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of Best Friends Forever and In Her Shoes
“Pekkanen's debut is heartfelt and richly drawn. With a delicate touch, she had me believing and sharing every laugh and every tear - it was a completely satisfying read. I look forward to more from this talented writer.” -- Beth Harbison, author of Hope in a Jar
"With warmth and charm, Sarah Pekkanen brings us an endearing portrait of a young woman struggling to define herself in the looming shadow of a dazzling twin. Move over, Anna Maxted and Sophie Kinsella: With this energetic debut, America now has its own bright, comic voice." -- Susan Coll, author of Acceptance
"Simultaneously both light and satisfying, Sarah Pekkanen's debut, The Opposite of Me, hits the delicious sweet spot in the portrait of a woman who needs to lose everything to find herself." --Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life
"If a book makes you think and be introspective, well that's magic, and The Opposite of Me has done just that. Pekkanen has hit the nail on the head with her unique premise and original observation on what makes us who we are…an absolute must read" ~New York Journal of Books
"Good fun....an entertaining take on modern love and life in the Big Apple." —Kirkus
"Chick lit with grit." —Ladies Home Journal
"The power of friends and family carries this fast-paced novel through to a satisfying, although somewhat surprising conclusion. If you like chick lit with substance, Pekkanen delivers another winner." —Philly Examiner
“Sarah Pekkanen deftly weaves together the lives of roommates and friends…each battling demons, professional and otherwise, and within a few pages you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in all of them. The surprisingly good news is that this author knows that ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t necessarily involve a cute guy.” —Entertainment Weekly
"A pleasure." —People
“Pekkanen offers a conversational writing style and a knack for making readers care about her characters… a refreshing look at the importance of female friendship.” —Washington Post
"I loved Sarah Pekkanen’s These Girls. Just when you think the single-girls-trying-to-make-it-in-media-in-NYC trope was totally played out, along comes a fresh, charming, moving take on what it’s like to be in your twenties, desperate for the guy to like you, for your secrets to stay secret, for this diet to be the one that works." —Jennifer Weiner, EW.com
From the Author
I'm thrilled to be able to share a bit about my writing process as well as how my personal experiences affected my characters in These Girls - and I'm even more excited that Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, interviewed me for this note! I hope you enjoy reading the stories behind the story of These Girls....
Jodi Picoult: These Girls explores the nuances of female friendships. How hard was it to create a sense of realism between your main characters - Cate, Renee, and Abby - and how much of that came from your own personal experience in your relationships with female friends?
Sarah Pekkanen: Female friendships are vitally important to me, which is why I dedicated These Girls to my girlfriends, especially one I call my "frister" (a friend who turned into a sister). I'm surrounded by wonderful guys - I have two brothers and three sons - and I adore them. But female friendships nurture and uplift me, and I find them so textured and fascinating, which is why I'm drawn to writing about them. I love it that my girlfriends and I - often aided by a bottle or two of wine - can hopscotch from serious to silly to painful topics during the course of a single conversation, and end the night feeling as if we could've talked forever. I drew on all of those emotions while writing These Girls.
Jodi: Your main characters in this book come to reevaluate what's important in life as they navigate the complications of careers and love. As someone with three young children, and who has enjoyed a bit of success now as a novelist, how do you prioritize what's important in life? Has this changed as you've grown older?
Sarah: I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a little girl. After college, I covered feature stories for The Baltimore Sun newspaper, but when my first son was born, I left that job because it required a long commute and frequent travel. And when I suddenly stopped writing, I felt as if I'd lost a crucial piece of myself. But I couldn't figure out how to reconcile my need to write with my need to be with my children. Then one night after the kids were asleep (by then I had two young boys), I sat down in front of on my computer and began to type. The words poured out of me, and turned into my first novel, The Opposite of Me. I never forget for a moment how lucky I am to have a flexible job that I adore, and it's fairly easy for me to work in writing time around my kids' schedules. My family is my priority, but I know I'm a happier - and better - Mom when I'm writing, too.
Jodi: As someone who has twists in books all the time, I get asked about my endings a lot. These Girls, too, has quite a surprise in store for the reader. Did you know it would end this way before you started writing the book, or did that evolve?
Sarah: I love books that contain twists (which is one reason why I'm a big Jodi P. fan!), and I knew even before I wrote the first line of These Girls that it, like my previous two novels, would pack a big surprise at the end. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries and sometimes I even deconstruct them, studying how an author put together pieces of the puzzle and used tension-building techniques like foreshadowing. It's my hope that readers feel as if my books have the same page-turning quality as a thriller - but with less blood and mayhem, of course!
Jodi: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to break into writing as a career?
Sarah: Treat writing like exercise - you need to do it nearly every day to get results. For people who say they're too busy to write a book, I'd encourage them to search for little windows of time in their day. Maybe wake up half an hour earlier than usual, or carry around a notebook and write a few paragraphs on the bus ride into work. Jodi, I remember that you and I once chatted about how we both wrote in car-pool pick-up lines outside of our kids' schools because it was one of the few quiet times we could carve out of the day. I'd advise other writers to fight for those little snippets of time, and the page count will pile up, slowly but surely.
Jodi: What is the most bizarre fan encounter you've ever had?
Sarah: I love that you asked me this question, because it was the very first question I ever asked you! Years ago, I was writing a newspaper article on strange things that happen to big-name authors at booksignings, and you told me about the time someone asked if you'd ever consider writing non-fiction. You replied that it seemed daunting because one had to be meticulous about getting every single fact straight... and then you brought up James Frey, who got into trouble for making up parts of his memoir A Million Little Pieces. And a few minutes later, the librarian in charge of your booksigning brought over two audience members to meet you: James Frey's parents. This was during the time when Oprah was eviscerating him, but you merely brought up his situation as an example and didn't pass judgment or make a joke. I thought it was very classy, and even his parents weren't bothered by your comment, which says a lot.
So... as for my most bizarre fan encounter, I'd have to say it was the time when my husband and I took our three kids out to dinner at a busy restaurant. One of our sons was very tired and cranky - we later learned he hadn't eaten lunch at school that day - and while we were waiting for a table, he completely melted down, crying and whining. We quickly left, and then my two-year-old tripped and fell on the sidewalk and he started crying too. So there we were, this hot mess of a family, and suddenly a woman stopped and pointed at me and yelled, "Aren't you Sarah Pekkanen? I love your writing!" And that remains, to this day, the first and only time I have ever been recognized in public. (And I'm still kicking myself for not answering, "No! I'm J.K. Rowling!")
- ASIN : B005GG0JI6
- Publisher : Washington Square Press; Original ed. edition (April 10, 2012)
- Publication date : April 10, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 5523 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 340 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #263,540 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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For Cate, New York has brought her the sought after title of feature editor for the magazine Gloss. It is everything that Cate had hoped for in a career, and everything she has dreaded as well.
Renee, is in the running for the coveted position of Beauty editor of Gloss. She suffers from low self-esteem to her constant battle with her weight and her two components for the position seem to have it far more together than she does. However, the diet pills she has started taking seem to be giving her energy and curbing her appetite and she is learning that if she takes more pills, she has more energy.... and maybe the weight will drop faster.
Abby, had her life together. She was happy and in a dream job where she was able to go to school in the evenings and by day live with a young family and take care of their darling little girl. But the man of the house, Bob, is pretty good-looking, and oh so kind, and the wife just works all the time late into the evenings.... leaving Abby alone with Bob...
As these three women connect and eventually become roommates, the secrets that can busy us... perhaps friendship can save us?
Women friendships. Why do they have to be so complicated? Cate has the job that she loves and is getting her feet wet into this new career with a flourish. Yet her friend and roommate Renee struggles through life with weight issues that seem to shadow over everything she does. If a date does not go well, it is due to her weight, if she doesn't get the position she wants.. no doubt it is contributed to her weight... and the mean comments that show up on her beauty tips blog just seal the deal that she has to do something about her weight. They Abby enters the picture and by the time Cate and Renee meet her she is a fragile broken girl with a story that they know nothing about. Abby's career as a nanny is now over - and as the pages turn we get a glimpse into what was true then....
Now every author can pull off the multiple protagonists, Sarah Pekkanen does it with a flourish. Not once did I get confused over whose story line was taking the wheel for a part of the book. And each of these women - Cate, Renee, and Abby felt like real women to me. What each woman was going through was so different from the others, yet I could relate to each. Cate had a drive which I loved, but she also had to balance that out with friendships, and family issues. Renee's battle to look good believing it would lead her to feeling good... is a topic I think many of us struggle with, and Abby just fell into the wrong situation which never felt pre meditated... it just... happened.
Reading a Sarah Pekkanen book is like spending time with friends. I enjoyed spending times within its pages.
There are three main characters in These Girls and it's such a great book because they're all equals - not one character takes the stage. You've got Cate, who has just been promoted to features editor at Gloss magazine, a girl who doesn't have to try to maintain her size 4 figure, but who feels like she has to prove her spot at her job. She's also keeping a secret that might very much jeopardize her new position.
Then there's beloved Renee, who is everybody's friend, a size 12 curvy girl, my type of girlfriend, the girl at the party everyone knows, everyone wants to be friends with. She's trying awfully hard to win the job of beauty editor, but has doubts because of her weight, and falls into some serious trouble when she discovers a quick weight-loss tactic. But will the fact that she's losing weight be the end-all to her woes, or will it just cause further problems? She's also dealing with the fact that her parents are having problems of their own, and a mysterious new family member reveals herself to Renee to stir up even more doubts about herself and her family.
Abby - what can I say about Abby - Abby just wants to be loved and have a family. She's escaping from something terrible, but even she's not exactly sure what she's running from - a secret from her past? The fact that she had infiltrated herself into the family she was nannying for just a little too much? She runs to NY to her brother, Trey, for help.
Of course, there's Trey, hottie Trey. Renee dated him briefly, but things didn't quite work out the way she had hoped, and now there's a teeny spark brewing between him and another character. I love how Sarah brings in just enough romance to keep the pages turning, but not too much to take away from the story.
The way Sarah Pekkanen brings these three women together is a perfect story of friendship. All three are in need of something they each don't know how to get. I think they're all looking for acceptance of themselves, and acceptance in their jobs, in other women, in the men they choose to be with.
As Sarah herself has said in interviews, her stories always have surprises in the end, and These Girls' ending did surprise me a bit. I may at first have wanted a little bit of a different ending, but after I closed the book, I thought for a few minutes. I thought about what the story was about. I thought about WHO the story was about. I realized the title of the book is THESE GIRLS. And then I knew that it was the most perfect ending for another wonderful book by Sarah Pekkanen!