Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess
Release Date -  July 2, 2013
Publisher Website - Raincoast
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  294 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Fantastically funny, fresh and utterly relatable, Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess is the first novel in her brand new series about five twenty-something friends—Pia, Angie, Julia, Coco and Madeleine—sharing a brownstone in hip, downtown Brooklyn, and discovering the ups and downs and ins and outs of their “semi-adult” lives. The first story belongs to sophisticated, spoiled, and stylish Pia, who finds herself completely unemployed, unemployable, and broke. So what is a recent grad with an art history degree and an unfortunate history of Facebook topless photos to do? Start a food truck business of course! Pia takes on the surprisingly cutthroat Brooklyn world of hybrid lettuce growers, artisanal yogurt makers and homemade butter producers to start SkinnyWheels—all while dealing with hipster bees, one-night-stands, heartbreak, parental fury, wild parties, revenge, jail, loan sharks, playboys, karaoke, true love, and one adorable pink food truck. And that's without counting her roommates' problems, too. Gemma Burgess has captured the confusion, hilarity and excitement of the post-graduate years against a backdrop of the pressures and chaos of New York City life, with heartfelt empathy, fast humor and sharp honesty.

A charming debut series about five twenty-something girls and the humor, heartbreak, and drama that bring them together.
I was immediately drawn to this thanks to the Sex and the City vibe I got upon reading the synopsis. A group of single women in New York City figuring out life and looking for love was exactly what I wanted from this book. It did deliver on that promise but it, sadly, did not connect the way I wanted it to.

The start of the novel was a little hard for me to get through. I had to adjust to the writing style of the author at first. It just wasn't connecting with me. I got into the story a lot more once I did adjust. It is a fairly quick read once you get used to the writing, and the chapters are fairly short so it feels like an even quicker read.

This novel reads like a quirky rom-com movie. It even has an adorable meet cute that made me swoon. It has an adorable pink food truck, and some great friend bonding moments. These are the parts of the story that really work. It's these moments that grabbed me as a reader.

The growth that Pia's character goes through was the redeeming aspect of the novel for me. I went from not really like her very much, to understanding who she was as a character, and appreciating the changes she made along her journey. She comes from such a place of inexperience at the beginning of the novel due to her parents always bailing her out, and her never really having to stand on her own. She has zero faith in herself, and seeing her character blossom was my favourite part of this book.

I wish the romance had been expanded a little. I am guessing we'll get to see the continuation of Pia's journey in the subsequent novels, but it felt like the most underdeveloped part of the novel. Those looking for a book that has a lot of romance will be slightly disappointed, but I liked the other parts of the story to keep going. I just wish it had been given more time to resonate with me, as I didn't feel connected to the romance.

The complex friendship between the five women is the strongest relationship in the novel. Much like Sex and the City, it is the friendship that is the focus. It isn't always perfect, and they fight with each other at times, but that makes it all the more believable. They care about each other, and they also, at times, hurt each other. It just added a rich layer to the story that I felt was lacking in other aspects. It showcases how family can be the people you choose, not just those you are related to by blood.

My leave favourite part of the story arc was the addition of a loan shark. This element really served as a convenient way for Pia to get money and add some drama to the story. It, sadly, really ends up being anticlimactic and adds a ludicrous element that pulled me out of the story. I didn't fell it was used effectively and it felt off with the more lighthearted tone of the rest of the story.

The beginning of the novel is not as strong as the middle section. I also felt the end was a little rushed with the pacing feeling off at various points. The situations that these characters find themselves in should have deeper consequences, but it is instead written more like a rom-com.  The humour just didn't work for me in the more 'intense' parts of the story being presented.

 A story that ultimately was a bit of a mixed read for me. The parts I enjoyed I really loved, but there were some parts that didn't work as well for me. I tentatively recommend it if you're looking for something light and breezy to end your summer reading with. It was enjoyable enough to make me want to pick up the second book, but also a read that I wanted a little more from.

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