TEN GIRLS TO WATCH by Charity Shumway

From the back cover:

Like so many other recent graduates, Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that’s gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column.

So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. After all, she’s being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women…As Dawn gets to know their life stories, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she’ll learn that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending.

I loved this book! Even though Dawn is young enough to be my daughter, I can relate to many of her struggles. Lacking confidence in her abilities, unlucky in love, misunderstood by her family, barely making ends meet financially, she could easily play the victim. But Dawn isn’t one to feel sorry for herself. She makes the most of every opportunity that comes along and chalks it up to experience when things don’t turn out her way. Most important, she never gives up on her dream.

“At night, when I couldn’t fall asleep, behind my closed eyes I’d spin fantasies, and they usually circled back to a vision of myself with gray hair and a floppy hat, coming in after an afternoon of gardening in the yard to a bookshelf lined with books I’d written…That fantasy shelf wasn’t full of journalistic nonfiction. Those books were novels. My novels.” (p. 238)

Charity Shumway delivers the goods in her debut novel, with its intriguing premise, fascinating characters, and beautifully woven plot. Highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE from the publisher, Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 […] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.