What I’m Reading: When Life Gives You Lululemons

From the bookjacket:
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Weisberger returns with a novel starring one of her favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who’s just landed the client of a lifetime.
Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children.

Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career. 

Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they’ll navigate the social landmines of life in America’s favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths—and the lies—that simmer just below the glittering surface. With her signature biting style, Lauren Weisberger offers a dazzling look into another sexy, over-the-top world, where nothing is as it appears.

My thoughts:
I heard a lot of rave reviews about When Life Gives You Lululemons, and while I never read any of the other instalments of the Devil Wears Prada series I figured I’d give it a go. I’d only ever watched the movie version of The Devil Wears Prada, but I loved Emily’s character, so a book featuring her as one of the main characters couldn’t be bad!

When Life Gives You Lululemons was a fun and fast read, and I really enjoyed following the three women along on their journey together. Miriam was super relatable to me in many ways and I loved her relationship with Emily and Karolina. The trio kept one another in check wonderfully and their friendship is something every woman should strive to have. “I got your back but will call you out if you’re being an idiot” is definitely the kind of friendship I’m down to be in.

I never found the book to be overly predictable and found myself obsessively reading to find out what was going to happen next. My one and only gripe is that ending seemed a little rushed, as if Weisberger had a word-count to adhere to and needed to wrap things up before chapters got left out.

All in all, When Life Gives You Lululemons is a great summer read that is easy enough to follow along to without getting boring. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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What I’m Reading: The Hate U Give

From the book jacket:
The Hate U GiveSixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My review:
I’m probably late catching the hype train for this book, but I finally had the chance to read it after hearing rave reviews and I’m glad I took the time to do so.

The Hate U Give covers an important issue in our world today – racism, but more specifically, police brutality. The book jacket breaks down the plot of the story in a pretty clear manner, and there’s no specific sub-plot or drastic twists and turns to the story. Still, I think it’s an important read for the YA audience it was intended for, and it opens your eyes in sense. While fictional, Starr stands for every person seeking justice for a wrongful death. She stands for every teenager just trying to fit in and figure out who she is. Her situation is the situation of many of the minorities living all over the world. When Starr was angry, I was angry, and reading her story made me open my eyes and think a bit harder about the bigger picture.

Politics aside, I really did enjoy this book although various scenes were a bit predicable. On the other hand, I also wonder if the predicability and stereotypes were used on purpose by the author to emphasize how brainwashed we almost are to how we view other races and cultures. I also wonder if they were used in such a way to make it easier for the YA demographic to understand and see. These are deep thoughts, people.

So, based on that theory, I’m giving The Hate U Give 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s still an important read and makes to think hard about who you are as a person and where you stand in society.

Side note: It will be interesting to see how this is receipted once it hits theatres in the fall. I’m not 100% sure I’ll go out and watch it in theatre, but I’m curious to see how they adapted it. From the trailer, it seems pretty true to the book.

What I’m Reading: All We Ever Wanted

0385689705From the book jacket:
Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

My review:
If I could describe this book in one word, it would have to be “relevant.” All We Ever Wanted covers so much of what’s going on in the world today politically, from the most recent US presidential election to the #metoo movement. I think this may be one of the most thought-provoking books that Emily Giffin has ever put out, and I honestly loved it.

The main characters of the book, Tom, Lyla, and Nina are all likeable and relatable on some level, even if you don’t fit their social status. While she was fortunate to marry a successful businessman, Nina seems genuinely down-to-earth and caring, especially after what accusations were made against her son. She doesn’t use her financial status to try and buy forgiveness, and without trying to spoil the book for anyone, I’m certain that she wants her son to be punished accordingly based on her own past experiences.

Nina is your typical teenaged girl no matter where you live; she wants to be cool, wants the popular boy to like her, wants to be accepted. It’s all something that every girl has experienced growing up in some shape or form. Even what something awful happens to her, she fears for her reputation more than anything and would rather ignore the fact that something is wrong than be labeled as “that girl” at school.

I think the main reason why I loved this book so much is because it covered such an important topic in today’s society in such a literary way. Personally, it really made me think, is enough really being done to prevent sexual misconduct or abuse? Are we really in a world where we have to teach our children what’s right and wrong when it comes to this? Should we not, as moral human beings, know the difference instinctually?

All We Ever Wanted really expresses how abuse has no societal boundaries and how the way that it dealt with depends on the haves and have-nots.

There is so much more that could be said about the topic of the book alone, but instead of getting into that I’m just going to say that it is definitely worth reading. There isn’t one single thing about the book that I didn’t like; I didn’t want to stop reading because I was so drawn to the storyline. It’s most definitely worth 5 stars out of 5. Thank you, Emily, for penning this!