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Ten Girls To Watch by Charity Shumway

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Publisher: Atria Books
Format: Kindle e-book
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A radiant debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood— and a love letter to the role models who light the way. 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: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. 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.
This was a really nice surprise. I think I found it on Goodreads in the 'Readers Also Enjoyed' little thing  but I'm glad I purchased it. It's a good chick-lit type of book and those are few and far between these days. Ten Girls To Watch is a twenty-something story but not of the neurotic, privileged, 'Girls' kind that seems to be prevalent these days nor was it a typical New Adult read. Instead, Dawn (lovely name for a main character) was just so sweet and normal it made for a nice change. Much more relatable to the average young woman.

It's set in New York City, which is always a winner for me in terms of setting, except Dawn's New York was probably a lot more realistic. The everyday New York to the young professional rather than the Blair Waldorf New York. The task Dawn is given - to interview all the women featured in a Glamour like Top 10 College Women for a special anniversary gala - was a really good spin on the entry level magazine intern/assistant storyline. It was nice to not have someone rummaging through a fashion closet. Out of Dawn's conversations with these women, Charity Shumway provides a gold mine of excellent careers and life advice that I really took to heart. 

There were some other twists on the norm in terms of romance and friendship that I really appreciated but I won't spoil them here. I particularly liked the ending. However, what I liked the most was that Dawn just got on with life and battled through her personal storm of little-to-no money, no family nearby, rubbish roommate problems, and multiple jobs. 

I enjoyed the overall theme of female friendship across all ages and mentorship - looking back and extending a hand to the girl behind you. I feel like there's a really big movement of women's solidarity and mentorship at the moment - or maybe it's just the blogs I read - and this book reflects that. 

I hope more people read this charming book. If you like chick-lit and women's stories definitely give this one a go. 

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