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160. The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik...

September 18, 2009
About the book:
When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.

Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .

drey's thoughts:
The Smart One and the Pretty One is a giveaway book that I thought looked cute. And hey, who can turn down a chick-lit novel about sisters when you have one yourself? =)

The interaction between Ava and Lauren is pretty realistic, in my opinion. When you have siblings, there's always a hint of that rivalry underlying any--and every--thing you do. Sometimes you work together to push each other to reach further. Sometimes you go in the exact opposite direction to differentiate yourselves. Lauren seems to have done the latter, and it's resulted in a lot of not-so-good-for-Lauren choices. Which she now has to face the consequences for, and she's running. Right back home to mom & dad. Until she camps out at Ava's. Whom she resents for being the "smart" one.

Which then brings their differences into the harsh glare of fluorescent lights. Not that Ava's "better" than Lauren. She propels herself into Lauren's complete opposite when it comes to fashion, and looking good. Not that she doesn't (look good), she just doesn't put in the effort that would make a difference. Because she doesn't want to be the "pretty" one.

While The Smart One and the Pretty One tries to be humorous and entertaining chick-lit, I think what comes through more than anything else, to me, is the reality that we women can sometimes be too harsh on ourselves. I mean, why put labels on ourselves? Who says we have to pick between being "smart" and being "pretty"? Why can't we be both? And what if we're really neither? Does that just doom us forever?

Title: The Smart One and the Pretty One
Author: Claire LaZebnik
ISBN-10: 0446582069
ISBN-13: 9780446582063
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: 5 Spot, 2008

Challenges: 100+


bermudaonion said...

Great review! The book sounds good and I think you're right - women are too harsh on themselves.

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