I hate to call anything “chick-lit.” Firstly, because it implies that a book’s only audience is straight women and secondly because the term is the literary equivalent of calling something trashy. But when a book reads like a “chick-flick,” I’m honestly not sure what else to call it. So I use the term begrudgingly through the rest of this article and hope that the books speak for themselves.
What makes chick-lit different from every other contemporary read is that its primary focus is on romance. Often times these books have side plots and complex story lines, but while other things may be happening in the story, all of the plot is built around the central romantic relationship. You see this all the time in chick-flick movies; chick-lit just puts the concept back onto the page.
I go through phases with my reading, seeking a particular genre or story based on my mood. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’ve recently been into the chick-lit stuff. So as I started thinking about what I might want to read next, I came up with this list of my “Top Five Favorite Chick-Lit Books.” (I add here as a note that I don’t rank my top five lists. Number one is no more important than number five.)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
My Thoughts: A lot of this book is about the will they/won’t they of Anna and St. Clair’s romantic relationship. There’s enough girlish drama from Anna to make you roll your eyes and then also to smile unashamedly when she’s happy about something. But it’s also about Anna and St. Clair’s friendship. He shows her Paris and helps her to get over her fears of the new and unknown. She helps him figure out how to confront his family. They were good for each other long before their romantic relationship and I loved this book because of that.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
A long hot summer…That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father. But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
My Thoughts: Sarah Dessen is the queen of chick-lit, but this book is probably my favorite. Its beautifully written, with extremely memorable quotes about life and love, and it totally made me cry at one point. (Which, I might add, is extremely uncommon. I do not cry easily.) Wes and the rest of the staff at Wish Catering bring Macy out of her sad, lonely shell through honesty and fun, forcing her to laugh and participate in things she wouldn’t ordinarily have let herself enjoy. This book is for people who are all about trying something new and enjoying life for what it is, not just accepting the routine.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
My Thoughts: I just recently finished reading this book and I have to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting. The summary makes it sound like it’s all about the secret romance, when in reality this is about Samantha falling for a family and a lifestyle that is so much warmer and more comforting than her own. Reading this book makes you fall in love with all of the Garretts, not just Jase.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket. In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat. The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist. Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–though utterly romantic–results. But will she ever see him again? Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.
My Thoughts: Of all the books on this list, this one is probably the least romance centered. It’s still there, but not as much as you’d expect. Still, I feel compelled to include it on the chick-lit list because it is, for a lack of a better description, quite girly. If you love adventure and spontaneity or just want to read about backpacking through Europe, than this is absolutely the book for you.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store. This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
My Thoughts: I can’t put my finger on why exactly I loved this book, but I came away from it with really positive feelings. Owen’s character is blessedly original and Annabel isn’t just the “nice” girl looking for her perfect boyfriend; they are uniquely flawed and that makes them interesting. Plus, the entire story is woven together with music and lyrics and the idea that sometimes listening and hearing are not the same thing.
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions for me to read next? Let me know in the comments down below!