Monday, May 31, 2010

Beach Week

Beach Week -- Ah, “beach week”: a time-honored tradition in which the D.C. suburbs’ latest herd of high school grads flocks to Chelsea Beach for seven whole days of debauched celebration. In this dark comedy, ten teenage girls plan an unhinged blowout the likes of which their young lives have never seen. They smuggle vodka in water bottles and horde prescription drugs by the dozen. Meanwhile, their misguided, affluent parents are too busy worrying about legal liabilities to fret over some missing pills or random hookups.

For Jordan McMillan and her family, though, this rite of passage threatens to become more than just frivolous fun. The teen’s parents, Leah and Charles, might not let their only child go at all. Their marriage is in shambles, their old house is languishing on the market, and the bills are stacking up. With all that stress, it soon seems they’re behaving as irresponsibly as their daughter and her friends.

With the wit of Nora Ephron and the insight of Tom Perrotta, Susan Coll satirizes a new teenage rite of passage, in the process dismantling the lives of families in transition. Beach Week is a hilarious, well-observed look at the end of childhood and the human need to commemorate it—expensively.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Summer We Read Gatsby

The Summer We Read Gatsby -- Two half-sisters search for the thing of utmost value in an inherited ramshackle Southampton cottage in Ganek's witty new novel (after Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him). The story is narrated by introverted, newly divorced, would-be writer Cassie, but the flamboyant center of the story is her older half-sister, Peck, a theatrical socialite determined to bring out her sister while thwarting Cassie's sensible plan to sell Fool's House, the cottage they've jointly inherited from their eccentric aunt Lydia. As they wonder whether the house's treasure is a Jackson Pollock painting, a first edition of The Great Gatsby, or a family secret, the sisters' contrasting personalities clash in hilarious ways. During a summer marked by parties that recall both the artsy milieu of Pollock and the posh extravagance of Gatsby, the two sisters run into long-lost loves, strange neighbors, aggressive real estate agents, and charming artist hangers-on as they ponder the legacy of their beloved Aunt Lydia and their relationship to each other. Even though many of the novel's revelations can be seen a mile away, getting there is a fun, witty, and surprisingly moving trip.

Note: I read Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him when it was first published and LOVED it. I can't wait to read this one!
Update: As I predicted, I loved this book. It's a great, fun summer read especially if you are familiar with the Hamptons!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Imperial Bedrooms

Finally, the long-awaited follow-up to Less Than Zero (which happens to be one of my favorite movies)...Imperial Bedrooms will be released at the end of June...Bret Easton Ellis’s debut, Less Than Zero, is one of the signal novels of the last thirty years, and he now follows those infamous teenagers into an even more desperate middle age.

Clay, a successful screenwriter, has returned from New York to Los Angeles to help cast his new movie, and he’s soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his former girlfriend, is married to Trent, an influential manager who’s still a bisexual philanderer, and their Beverly Hills parties attract various levels of fame, fortune and power. Then there’s Clay’s childhood friend Julian, a recovering addict, and their old dealer, Rip, face-lifted beyond recognition and seemingly even more sinister than in his notorious past.

But Clay’s own demons emerge once he meets a gorgeous young actress determined to win a role in his movie. And when his life careens completely out of control, he has no choice but to plumb the darkest recesses of his character and come to terms with his proclivity for betrayal.

P.S. I don't care what the reviews are for this book. I've read every B.E.E. book and I'll read this one too.
Update: I finished this book in two or three sittings. This is classic Bret Easton Ellis and I really enjoyed it. It's a quick read but I recommend re-reading or watching Less Than Zero as a refresher beforehand if you aren't familiar with the characters since this is considered the sequel.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Desirable Residence

A Desirable Residence -- Chick lit superstar Wickham is in stellar form in her latest, a story of intersecting fates set in suburban London. Self-centered Liz Chambers, bored with her job and under a mountain of debt, frequently lashes out at her even-tempered husband, Jonathan, and begins an affair withA wealthy realtor Marcus Witherstone, who proposes that Liz and Jonathan rent their unsold house to a young couple, Ginny and Piers Prentice, with whom Liz and Jonathan's sullen teenage daughter, Alice, strikes up an unexpected friendship. Ginny, meanwhile, pins her hopes on would-be actor Piers getting a part in a soap opera, and Jonathan is put on a pedestal by Marcus's wife, Anthea. Marcus begins regretting a shady business deal that could land him in huge trouble, and as Liz grows more delusional, Ginny becomes more worried and desperate, and Anthea more unforgiving and relentless. It all comes to a head at a party Ginny throws on the eve of Piers's big audition. A well-executed and unexpected ending caps the dizzying action and demonstrates why Wickham is so deservedly on her genre's A-list.