We have a treat for fans of contemporary romance/women's lit/chick lit. We are featuring novelist Maria Geraci's latest book, A Girl Like You, today. The author shares a guest post and we have our review.
A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci
Contemporary Romance*Paperback, 320 pages*Published August 7th 2012 by Berkley, Penguin, USA
Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times Bestselling author raves, "A Girl Like You delivers the goods: unforgettable characters set in a quirky small town with a feel-good ending that lasts long after you close the book." And Carly Phillips, New York Times bestselling author, calls it, "An unexpected delight!”
Emma Frazier is smart, hardworking, and loves her job as a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine. Emma knows she’s no great beauty, but she’s pretty certain she has a shot with her handsome new boss, Ben Gallagher—until Emma overhears a mutual acquaintance refer to her as the “ugly friend.” In an effort to reclaim her battered self-esteem, Emma decides to impress Ben at work by promising an exclusive interview with NASCAR legend, Trip Monroe.
Emma and Trip went to high school together and although it’s been fourteen years since they’ve spoken, Emma is certain she can score an interview with the elusive super star. But connecting with Trip turns out to be harder than Emma imagined. Her quest for the interview leads her back to her tiny hometown of Catfish Cove, where old secrets and a new romantic interest shake up Emma’s views on life and teach her that maybe the key to finding true love is as simple as accepting yourself for the person you were always meant to be.
Are you the Ugly Friend?
I got the idea for writing my latest novel A Girl Like You by watching an episode of the Real Housewives. California, I think. Definitely not New Jersey. I know that because the accents were too generic. But I digress. While flipping through the channels one afternoon, I stumbled across the show and into a conversation between two housewives after one had just finished dropping her daughter off at her college sorority house. She was complaining because all the girls in the sorority were beautiful.
“How is my little Buttercup going to shine around all those gorgeous girls? Where’s the ugly friend?” she asked.
I picked up the remote and paused the show. What? Are there really people who think like this? Apparently so, because I went to the Urban Dictionary and found this definition of the Ugly Friend: A friend a person brings with him/her to a gathering/event in order to make him/herself appear more attractive in comparison.
Thus, came the idea for my novel. What if you found out you were the ugly friend?
When my main character, Emma, overhears herself called the ugly friend she makes a conscious decision to ignore the barb. Yet, subconsciously, it’s not so easy to ignore. Who among us hasn’t known the sting of feeling like the least attractive person around? What I love about Emma is that instead of letting the label own her, she learns to own it. She rises above the pettiness of the situation and makes lemonade out of lemons. She’s a character every woman can relate to, because let’s face it, at one time or another we’ve all been the ugly friend.
About the author:
Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic, Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote). She writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. The Portland Book Review called her novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, “immensely sexy, immensely satisfying and humorous.” Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, was released August, 2012 by Berkley, Penguin USA.
I have definitely been on a book reading high as of late. So many good titles! I started A Girl Like You late yesterday afternoon and did not take a break until I was finished. That's how wrapped up I was with main character Emma Frazier. Her emotional roller coaster of a life from her crush on her editor boss Ben, to a new relationship with hometown cop Nick, to watching her best friends Torie and Kimberly glow and burn with prospects at love, to trying to attain the impossible--an interview with NASCAR darling Trip Monroe--Maria Geraci had ensnared me in her world.
What ups and downs, secrets, revelations, changes and more happened with Emma and her close circle of friends and co-workers of her beloved Florida! magazine. Anyone who has worked with a small group (like I did but with a newspaper) will feel right at home with this group. I so enjoyed how Emma had sat next to Richard for six long years but didn't really know him. Sometimes we don't know or see what's in front of our eyes. Her insecurity, prevalent at 33, still manages to impact her everyday existence. When she over hears an acquaintance refer to her as "the ugly friend" in the ladies room, Emma is crushed, yet still walks out with her head held high. Those three words can inflict a lot of damage and they do. Her underlying reasons for some of her actions stem from her thinking this so-called friend is right and that's how people, especially men, view her.
Finding out just how wrong she is is part of this story's appeal. Emma could be so many of us--far from perfect, chasing those ten or twenty extra pounds, not blond or tall--and how she figures out how to be comfortable in her skin and accepting of who she really is inside, while nabbing the most important story of her career and for the history of her magazine, makes up a good deal of this tale. With wit, humor, some snark, a touch of romance, and gentility, Emma's first person present narration is like an Amtrak train car whizzing by. Her commentary and situations had me giggling, her spot on observations made me smile, and her ability to deal with things made me her cheerleader.
Summer is not over yet so grab a copy of A Girl Like You and take a time-out. Fill the tub with bubbles, settle down in a comfy chair, put the cell phone on vibrate, whatever you need to do, do it and read Maria Geraci's latest book. I think you'll fall in love with it like I did.
Cover comment: Cute but doesn't do anything for me.
Book source: I received a promotional eARC from the author's publicist in return for my honest review during a book tour.
Reader Girls thanks Maria Geraci and SparkPointStudio, home of BookSparks.