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Smile and look pretty
2022
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Library Journal Review
Pellegrino's smart debut conjures visions of #MeToo for the TikTok set. This is the tale of four friends, all underpaid executive assistants, and the onslaught of bad behavior they are forced to endure on the job. Don't like how you're being treated as a young woman in a male-dominated field? Blog about it! Or in this case, post about it anonymously. When the women decide to blog about their bosses' appalling behavior, they become an internet sensation. Not only do many women come forward with similar experiences, but their posts also go viral, which brings on a new set of problems. Narrator Natalie Naudus brings out the complexities of each character while maintaining a perfect comedic edge. What could have been another tale of women getting even and men behaving badly is treated with refreshing nuance and depth. Although the cover implies that this story is a typical twentysomething slice of life, there's much more than meets the eye. VERDICT This sometimes infuriating, sometimes ridiculously funny workplace dramedy will be an instant hit; recommend to fans of The Devil Wears Prada and 9 to 5.--Anna Clark
Publishers Weekly Review
Pellegrino shines in this intelligent and engaging debut about four friends who work as assistants in various high-profile industries, written in the tell-all tone of The Devil Wears Prada with a conceit reminiscent of Gossip Girl. Olivia Medina aspires to be an actor; Cate Britt a book editor; Lauren Barreo a screenwriter, and Max Burke a broadcast journalist. Their most exciting tasks, however, involve picking up vegan cupcakes and coffee orders, with a generous dollop of condescension. The four meet weekly for margaritas and to vent about the outrageous shenanigans of their famous bosses. Soon, they decide to launch an anonymous blog called Twentysomething, which chronicles their bosses and others' bad behavior--and ends up attracting a large audience of women dealing with similar situations, and who begin to call out abusive behavior. Veterans of so-called glamour industries will recognize Pellegrino's depiction of the often-toxic workplaces, and the author does a good job portraying her large cast, among them Lauren's colleague-turned-boyfriend Owen, who admirably fights for her honor (even with a wimpy writer's punch). It's a simple, well-worn story, but it stands out thanks to the ways the characters balance their personal ambitions with a desire for justice. Agent: Liz Parker, Verve Talent and Literary. (Dec.)
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