Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: "Ten Girls to Watch" by Charity Shumway

Dawn West is determined to make a life for herself in New York City following her graduation from college. It doesn't matter that her writing career consists of doling out advice for an online lawn care column or that her roommate thinks that wearing undergarments and paying the rent is optional. It doesn't even matter that her on-again, off-again boyfriend Robert seems to be in love- with another woman. Dawn won't let any of that get her down, even when her bank account starts to read in the single digits.

Thanks to her ex's new girlfriend, Lily, Dawn makes a connection at a party that leads her to becoming the newest employee of Charm magazine. It's the magazine's "Ten Girls to Watch" feature's 50th anniversary and Dawn's job is to track down the previous winners and find out where they are today. Dawn plunges headfirst into her new responsibilities and she quickly discovers that these women who paved the way before us have so much to teach us if only we take the time to listen.

Ten Girls to Watch is such an inspiring novel! I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction because Charity Shumway made these women come alive on the page. When I reached the very last page in the book and saw that Shumway reported on the 50th anniversary of Glamour magazine's "Top Ten College Women" feature it all made sense. Shumway certainly drew on her own experiences to make these women come alive on the page. I loved their wisdom and their advice, and I loved the fact that pictures of real women were included throughout the book. Like the author I enjoy looking back at the past and reflecting on how different things were at the time, whether is be their fashion or what qualities were deemed interesting  in a woman. The character of Dawn reflects on these things many times throughout the book and I could almost envision them for myself. It made for an interesting read!

Ten Girls to Watch has certainly made Charity Shumway an author to watch for in my opinion. Her debut is fresh and inspiring and it has an ending that makes it clear that a woman does not need a man at her side in order to find her true self. My thanks to the publisher for making it possible for me to review this book.

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