July 23, 2013

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Series: Brooklyn Girls
Review Source: eARC from publisher through Raincoast Books

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Fantastically funny, fresh and utterly relatable, Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess is the first novel in her brand new series about five twenty-something friends—Pia, Angie, Julia, Coco and Madeleine—sharing a brownstone in hip, downtown Brooklyn, and discovering the ups and downs and ins and outs of their “semi-adult” lives. The first story belongs to sophisticated, spoiled, and stylish Pia, who finds herself completely unemployed, unemployable, and broke. So what is a recent grad with an art history degree and an unfortunate history of Facebook topless photos to do? Start a food truck business of course! Pia takes on the surprisingly cutthroat Brooklyn world of hybrid lettuce growers, artisanal yogurt makers and homemade butter producers to start SkinnyWheels—all while dealing with hipster bees, one-night-stands, heartbreak, parental fury, wild parties, revenge, jail, loan sharks, playboys, karaoke, true love, and one adorable pink food truck. And that's without counting her roommates' problems, too. Gemma Burgess has captured the confusion, hilarity and excitement of the post-graduate years against a backdrop of the pressures and chaos of New York City life, with heartfelt empathy, fast humor and sharp honesty.

A charming debut series about five twenty-something girls and the humor, heartbreak, and drama that bring them together.
My Thoughts:
This book is so interesting to me, because in the end I’m not really sure what I think of it. I almost have two separate reactions that I’m having a hard time melding into one. On the one hand I feel like Gemma Burgess was extremely successful in creating five female roommates who each have their own stories and unique personalities. They were so well developed that I can easily see each of them narrating and carrying a whole book as part of this series. In so many ways Burgess has written a book that reflects what I wish more New Adult novels were like. This book is about a post-grad female taking on the world, trying to find her place. I adored this aspect of Pia, the main character of this book, trying to figure out who she would be beyond college, beyond the influence of her parents. I’d love to read more novels that discuss this topic, instead of just focusing on the love lives of college students.

So where did this book go wrong for me? 90% of the time I couldn’t stand Pia. Main characters don’t have to be completely likeable for me to enjoy them. In fact, I like flawed characters who make mistakes, but also learn from their actions and try to make things better. Pia, though? She was just so off-putting to me, almost immediately. She laments her boarding school life with rich parents who have provided everything for her. She makes a mess of her life time after time, throwing away opportunities, and then is upset when her parents try to control her. The thing is, I did connect with Pia on some small level, or else I wouldn’t have been able to finish the book. She begins to work hard, and I loved her entrepreneurial spirit. There are moments when Pia shines, and I wish she had tried to be more like this throughout the book. Everyone makes mistakes, but I just couldn’t forgive her taking her insecurities out on people who didn’t deserve it. I especially couldn’t accept her having a bad night and deciding to get drunk and do cocaine. Recreational use of hard drugs and a blase attitude toward it honestly just upsets me a lot. There are so many ways you can write an irresponsible party girl without going in that direction.

I feel like ‘Brooklyn Girls’ is one you’ll have to check out for yourself to see if you can stomach Pia better than I did. There’s so much good about this book, particularly talking about food trucks and thinking up ideas for local businesses, that I had to give it 3 stars. But honestly if I knew I would dislike Pia so much at certain moments I probably would have given this one a pass.

The Cover:
Not too bad.


Find Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. Where are those girls' heads? Poor things. This sounds cute but I don't know if I have time for just a three-star read (now that's a sad state of affairs, isn't it? Passing on a book just because it isn't near perfection. *sigh*).

  2. This one reminds me of "Girls" in the sense that there are roommates in NY and it's a post-grad situation. It's always a bit sad when you can't connect to the main character. Wish this one turned out better for you!

  3. I think I would like this book, though not so sure I would like Pia either from what you are saying. I can't stand when characters complain about their rich lives! I do think there needs to be more NA books like this. Last year I read TEN GIRLS TO WATCH which is similar in that the main character is trying to make it at her job. I absolutely love that book. Great review! (And I love the cover).

  4. You said it Ashley. I had a hard time reviewing this one because I couldn't decide if I liked Pia or not. The drug use also bothered me and I found myself rolling my eyes and losing interest in the book some. I wonder if I'll feel the same way when we get to (insert roommates name- the one who went out with the married guy- Taylor?)book.

    Thanks for the review.

  5. The synopsis sounds right down my alley, but the point about somewhat unlikeable main characters is an interesting issue. A class I recently took discussed how you should either hate or love the main character because if you feel just "eh" about them, then you're not passionate about what you've read. I'm curious now to see my reaction to Pia!

  6. It's a series right? So maybe I'll skip this one and be on the look-out for the next.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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