Simple writing and complex, yet realistic, characters make Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses a great choice for a leisurely summer read. The book follows a group of recent college graduates, Isabella, Mary and Lauren (plus a host of their mutual friends) as they maneuver new lives in New York with its ever-present trials and tribulations. They each have their share of new boyfriends, new jobs and more than an abundant supply of engagement parties and weddings to attend.
Throughout the book, Close presents a funny and vivid portrayal of the complex relationship between friends. Her accurate representation of the misunderstandings, the fights and the ultimate close bond between these young women rings true and I would imagine many readers of this book will see either themselves or their friends in the pages of Girls in White Dresses!
David Levithan is a prolific YA author whose books I normally enjoy, so I was very interested to see that he released his first novel geared towards adults, called The Lover’s Dictionary. The format of this book is very unique, as the story is told in short “dictionary” entries. In each entry, the unnamed narrator defines a word like “ubiquitous”, “autonomy”, and “idea” by describing profound moments (big and little) in his longtime relationship with a woman, who is also unnamed. Since it’s told through dictionary entries, which are of course alphabetical, the story isn’t told chronologically and it is up to the reader to determine which events happened when. It’s filled with romance, humor, and heartbreak.
The way this story is told reminds me a lot of the movie 500 Days of Summer, which I loved. The mixed-up timeline is interesting and makes sense with the story rather than feeling like a gimmick. It allows Levithan to pair the sad moments in the story with the more lighthearted and fun moments of their relationship, which gives the story a nice balance and feels more realistic. It’s no sugar-coated love story; it feels gritty and real, and Levithan knows how to make you feel it right along with the main character. If you have enjoyed Levithan’s other books or are looking for a unique and realistic love story, I recommend picking up a copy of this book.