Monday, March 13, 2017

What If? in Women's Fiction

I've done a few features on WF now for Booklist, and this one was probably my favoritenot least of all because I'll admit to being a daydreamer. As much as I love my husband and my kids and my job... yeah, I spend a lot of time in daydream land working in the beauty industry. With a husband that looks like Jason Segal or Justin Trudeau (depending on the day). And kids that my nanny takes care of, since I am impossibly rich. Tell me I'm not alone!

Trend Alert: Roads Not Taken.

No one’s life is perfect, right? Admit it: Wouldn’t you at least give some thought, if given the chance, to go back and make changes—even small ones—that recalibrated your destiny? These women’s-fiction novels feature characters that wish, even for just a moment, that they would have picked the other guy, moved to a different city, followed a different career path. Some of them have actual out-of-body experiences; others merely daydream. But they all ask the same question: “What if?”

Here I Go Again. By Jen Lancaster. 2013. NAL, $25.95 (9780451236722).
Image result for Here I Go Again. By Jen Lancaster.

Mean-girl Lissy gets a chance to go back into the past to undo the misery she caused during her teenage years. When she returns to her new present, she’s shocked to find how much life has changed and not necessarily for the better.

If I Could Turn Back Time. By Beth Harbison. 2015. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781250043818).

On her thirty-eighth birthday, Ramie Phillips wakes up as an 18-year-old, getting the chance to see whether things could have gone differently with her first love. But will a redo help her find the fulfillment she craves?

Landline. By Rainbow Rowell. 2014. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (9781250049377).

In the middle of witnessing her marriage crumble, Georgie unexpectedly discovers, via the yellow rotary phone in her childhood bedroom, that she has been given a chance to change her relationship’s history. Chock-full of 1990s references, this book will delight Gen Xers.

Maybe in Another Life. By Taylor Jenkins Reid. 2015. Washington Square, $16 (9781476776880).

One evening, Hannah is confronted with the choice to go home with her roommate or go out with her old high-school boyfriend. In concurrent story lines, she lives out the effects of each decision.

The One That Got Away. By Leigh Himes. 2016. Hachette, $26 (9780316305723).

Abbey just wanted a touch of luxury in her life. But when her husband finds out about the $600 Marc Jacobs bag, and she has to return it, a fall off the department store escalator plunges her into a life of more luxury than she could have imagined.

The Regulars. By Georgia Clark. 2016. Atria, $25 (9781501119590).
The Regulars.jpg

If you came across a potion that promised to make you pretty, would you take it? Three friends have the chance and grab it. The young New Yorkers have loads of baggage—which they assume would go away if only they were beautiful.

The Story of Us. By Dani Atkins. 2015. Ballantine, $15 (9780804178549).

On the way home from her bachelorette party, Emma and her friends get into a car accident. Handsome stranger Jack happens to arrive at the scene of the wreck, rescuing Emma just before the car explodes. From there, an alternate story line unfolds that finds Emma in the future, having left her fiancé to pursue Jack.

Time of My Life. By Allison Winn Scotch. 2008. Crown, $23 (9780307408570).
Image result for Time of My Life. By Allison Winn Scotch

An oldie but a goodie: bored wife and mother Jillian wakes up from a massage to discover the life she knew never happened—she’s now seven years in the past, still with her previous boyfriend. She has not yet met her husband, and dreams of her daughter cause Jillian’s memory of the future to become confused with the past.

Read the full articleincluding three additional titles!—on Booklist Online

Friday, March 10, 2017

Booklist's Spotlight on Women's Fiction, 2017

Looks like it's time for my annual posts (sad but true!) again, with the Booklist March 1st issue being the Spotlight on Women's Fiction.

First up, the Top 10!

Top 10 Women’s Fiction: 2017

The top 10 women’s fiction reviewed in Booklist between March 1, 2016, and February 15, 2017, showcase a variety of story types, from classic chick lit to romance to tearjerkers. These novels deliver something for just about every women’s-fiction fan.

The Assistants.jpgThe Assistants. By Camille Perri. 2016. Putnam, $25 (9780399172540).
Perri’s debut is reminiscent of the golden era of early aughts chick lit—a workplace comedy featuring average women caught up in extraordinary situations. The characters’ millennial concerns—overwhelming student-loan debt, underemployment, loneliness in a world of hyperconnectivity—ring true.

The Book That Matters Most. By Ann Hood. 2016. Norton, $25.95 (9780393241655).
Her husband having recently left her, and with her adult children both out of the country, Ava looks forward to joining the library’s book club. She suggests a long-forgotten book that helped her through a difficult childhood, but it now has her questioning the secrets surrounding the deaths of her sister and mother.

Every Wild Heart. By Meg Donohue. 2017. Morrow, $14.99 (9780062644411).
When radio-host Gail is offered a new contract for a television show at the same time that her teenage daughter, Nic, has an accident that puts her in a coma, the lines blur as decisions with unknown consequences have to be made.
I Almost Forgot about You.jpg

I Almost Forgot about You. By Terry McMillan. 2016. Crown, $27 (9781101902578).
After two failed marriages and countless other romantic missteps, Georgia considers herself done with love. She is successful and has two beautiful daughters, but a chance meeting reminds her that she is not altogether happy—so she decides to leave it all behind and begin all over again.

Leave Me. By Gayle Forman. 2016. Algonquin, $26.95 (9781616206178).
Maribeth is too busy with 4-year-old twins and an increasingly demanding job to realize she’s had a heart attack at 44. Complications lead to an extended recovery period, yet somehow Maribeth is quickly back to the grind. Fed up, she packs up and hightails it out of town, where she hopes to find some answers about her past—as well as some time to herself.

The Mother’s Promise. By Sally Hepworth. 2017. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781466889927).
Alice’s cancer diagnosis sends her into a panic, not because of her uncertain prognosis but because her 15-year-old daughter, Zoe, has a paralyzing social-anxiety disorder that makes her dependent on Alice. This story tugs at the heartstrings, guaranteeing that readers will smile through the tears.

To continue reading the rest of the list, which includes Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen, The Regulars by Georgia Clark, Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino, and We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman, click here to go to the full article on Booklist Online.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sisters in Women's Fiction

When I do workshops on women's fiction, I always discuss the kinds of books that make up the genre, and different trends. Something we see a LOT of in WF is books featuring sisters, so for a recent "Core Collection" feature in the March 1, 2016 issue of Booklist, I shared some great reading suggestions from authors such as Angela Benson, Jennifer Weiner, Kristin Hannah, Jen Lancaster, and more!

What are some of your favorite WF books featuring sisters?

Core Collection: Sisters in Women’s Fiction.

Humorist Linda Sunshine is quoted as saying, “If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.” What is it about the relationship between sisters that makes such rich fodder for women’s fiction? After all, a reader doesn’t have to have a sister in order to relate.

One of the main things that draw readers to women’s fiction is a sense of recognition or the ability to relate to the characters. It’s pleasurable and comforting to escape into a story that you connect with on a certain level. So perhaps the popularity of fiction featuring sisters has something to do with readers being able to see themselves in one sister or another. Below is a list of must-have women’s-fiction titles featuring sisters, perfect for just about any women’s-fiction fan...

To read more and get the annotated list, head to the feature, "Core Collection: Sisters in Women's Fiction" on Booklist Online!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Collection Development Tricks for Women's Fiction

My good friend (and readers' advisory blogger extraordinaire) Becky Spratford recently ran a post about my work with women's fiction on her blog, RA for All.  In it, she shows off my Booklist feature article, "Rebecca's Rules," and a link to the free Booklist webinar, "What's New in Women's Fiction."

Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Booklist's Top 10 Women's Fiction: 2016

It's time for Booklist's annual Women's Fiction Spotlight!

Once again, I've contributed lists to the March 1 issue of Booklist, honoring women's fiction. Don't forget to check out the companion article, "Core Collection: Sisters in Women's Fiction," for some of my favorite titles from this very popular subset of women's fiction.

Booklist's Top 10 Women's Fiction: 2016

The top 10 women’s fiction from the last 12 months (reviewed in Booklist between March 1, 2015, and February 15, 2016) cover the spectrum, from romantic chick lit to more than one literary title. These novels deliver something for just about every women’s-fiction fan.

The titles are listed below; for the complete annotations, head to the feature on Booklist Online!

The Best of Enemies. By Jen Lancaster. 2015. NAL, $25.95 (9780451471093)
The Brontë Plot. By Katherine Reay. 2015. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 (9781401689759)
How to Start a Fire. By Lisa Lutz. 2015. Houghton, $25 (9780544411630)
I Take You. By Eliza Kennedy. 2015. Crown, $24 (9780553417821)
My Name Is Lucy Barton. By Elizabeth Strout. 2016. Random, $26 (9781400067695)
The Story of the Lost Child. By Elena Ferrante. Tr. by Ann Goldstein. 2015. Europa, $18 (9781609452865)
Walking on Trampolines. By Frances Whiting. 2015. Gallery, $16 (9781476780016)
Who Do You Love. By Jennifer Weiner. 2015. Atria, $27 (9781451617818)
A Window Opens. By Elisabeth Egan. 2015. Simon & Schuster, $26 (9781501105432)
The Marriage Pact. By M. J. Pullen. 2015. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $24.99 (9781250070937)