Title: Ten Girls To Watch
Author: Charity Shumway
Publication: Washington Square Press
Release Date: July 31. 2012
Ten Girls to Watch is a startling fresh, new novel by Charity Shumway who I think is a refreshing drink of water in the author database. Ten Girls is real, honest, and heartfelt. I walked away from the book hoping to read another upfront look at life sooner rather than later.
Semi-Unemployed writer Dawn West has just landed her first big time writing assignment thanks to her ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Charm magazine is planning on doing a full page spread in an upcoming issue entitled Ten Girls To Watch. You see, Charm has profiled up and coming young girls for decades and they are coming up on their 50th anniversary, and so Regina (the editor) hired her on the spot thanks to said new girlfriend (Lily).
Dawn begins working without even asking the salary for this one time writing assignment and happily makes herself at home in her new basement level office that is really storage for the back issues of the magazine.
Each chapter begins with a picture of one of the girls Charm magazine featured in the 60’s and 70’s. Each chapter talks about how and what they are doing these days with very little on Dawn’s personal life. We know that she was born and raised in a small town in Oregon, that moving out to the big city of New York was a huge shift and that she has just broken up with who she thinks was the love of her life (Robert). But as the book progresses, we get more depth from Dawn and we see her struggles to make life work in big town New York, something that I think so many of us small town girls can relate too; me included.
As the story progresses we find Dawn finding romance with complete duds and even going on a matchmaking site to find someone to fill her lonely nights with; but amazingly Ten Girls To Watch is not a romance and I think that’s what I liked about this book. There was some dating involved sure, but Dawn was too busy finding out who she was to be overly concerned with finding the One.
At the end of the book, we find Dawn rooming with Robert’s girlfriend, now his ex girlfriend and Dawn finally on her way to becoming a glorified writer in her own rite.
I really did enjoy reading Ten Girls To Watch and I can’t wait to read more from Charity Shumway.
Meet The Author
Charity earned an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard College. Her first novel, Ten Girls to Watch, comes out this July. In 2007, she spent nine months reporting on the 50th Anniversary of Glamour’s “Top Ten College Women” contest, which served as the inspiration for her book. Her writing has appeared in that magazine and has also been published by Fitness, Ladies Home Journal, and Garden Design, among others. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.
Phew. Now that that’s done with, here’s a slightly less formal introduction. For a lot of my friends, reading Ten Girls to Watch is a fairly disorienting experience. You see, the narrator of the novel and I have a lot in common, and people who know me often come away confused by what happened in real life and what happened only in the novel.
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