California Girls by Susan Mallery Publisher: Mira Release Date: February 26, 2019 Reviewed by PJ
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery. My thoughts: Susan Mallery is one of the best authors out there for creating flawed characters woven into complex family dynamics as evidenced in her newest novel, California Girls. These three sisters, and their self-absorbed mother, could not be more different yet beneath their differences runs a strong bond of connection that, while stretched to its limit, is never broken. It's those contradictions, and connections, that pulled me into this story and held my attention throughout.
Infusing their journeys with humor, heartbreak, selfless generosity, and poignant reflection, Mallery brings each of the sisters to life on the page and in my heart. I suffered, and rejoiced, with them as they gradually evolved and cheered them on as they began to take control of their present, their future, their relationships, and their eventual joy. And, if I was hoping for a happily-ever-after for their mother for the sole reason of getting her off her daughters' backs, I'm okay with that. If you're looking for a novel that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you want to string certain men up by their unmentionables, lavish others with affection and praise, and celebrates the special - and complicated - bond of sisters, don't miss California Girls by Susan Mallery.