Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Smart One and the Pretty One

Author: Claire LaZebnik
Originally Published: 2008

The Smart One and the Pretty OneAva Nickerson is in her late twenties, is a successful career woman, and is the eldest daughter of a mother who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Ava’s younger sister, Lauren, flies back home as soon as the two sisters hear about the diagnosis. After a late evening, Lauren stumbles upon a contract that their mother had drawn up with neighbours who had moved away years ago – betrothing Ava to the neighbour’s son.

Lauren is now determined to have some fun while she’s in town, and hunts down the guy Ava is apparently betrothed to, in order to introduce them again, all in the name of a little payback.

As much as I rant about chicklit, I can’t help hoping that I’m going to read something like Ally Carter‘s Card series or Shanna Swendson‘s Enchanted, Inc. series. So I keep coming back for more. And it’s hard to find something as good as those two series’. And then I get angry about flakey characters and start ranting about the same things over and over again.

Overall this wasn’t too bad. Not as good as Carter’s or Swendson’s books, but still, not too bad. Ava, the main character, wasn’t flakey, but she was … well, it’s frustrating to read about a brilliant career woman who needs to be made-over (of sorts) before getting her happy ending. And I’m all for extreme low-maintenance, but it came across like the author was saying that people who are great in business are dowdy, weary shabby clothes that don’t fit or flatter, don’t try things on before buying them to see if they fit, etc etc. Just basically don’t care about things other than work. Contrasted with Ava’s sister, it made it even more obvious – Lauren was a fashionista, completely ditzy, in crazy amounts of debt because she can’t see something she wants without buying it… It was like the author took two ends of the stereotype spectrum with the sisters and it was a bit too much at times.

And in regards to Russell, the guy Ava is betrothed to… He was, in short, the stereotypical dream man. Enjoys shopping – is the one to suggest going in the first place, for that matter. Buys her a pair of Prada shoes after one date. Not to mention all the other clothes he randomly gives her. And as much as I would like a guy to buy me a pair of Prada shoes, he was … well, rather boring.

The book was like a cross between Shopaholic (and those who enjoyed the Shopaholic books would like this one) and the myth of Pygmalion. BUT, at least the author grasped this, and made a statement in the dialogue between two characters as to how like Pygmalion the story was.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:50 pm September 29, 2008.
Category: Chick Lit
Book Author(s):

  • Tahira

    I’ve read the shopaholic series and much as I hate the way Becky shops, I enjoyed reading them. But the review you’ve given here doesn’t seem to propel me to even consider buying this book :)