Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Smart One and the Pretty One

Publisher's Summary. "This sparkling novel about two sisters is both witty and stylish. Even if you don't have a sister of your own, you won't be able to resist LaZebnik's charming take on modern relationships. Read it!"
- Holly Peterson, bestselling author of The Manny

When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.

Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . . .

Review. No matter how old we are or how far we travel whenever we return to our first family we often revert to the old familial roles. Like an oldie but goodie tune sung slightly off key grown men and women transform into “the baby” or “the favorite” as soon as they re-enter their childhood homes. And few familial relationships are as complex as the sister bond.

In The Smart One and the Pretty One author Claire La Zebnik spins a delicious tale of adult sisters who come to appreciate that they are more than their childhood labels. The twentysomething Nickerson sisters reunite due to personal crises: their mother has cancer and sister Lauren is in dire financial straits. The sisters quickly resume their respective roles as the “smart one” (Ava) and the “pretty one” (Lauren). Ava, an attorney, has a successful career and money in the bank, but hasn’t had a serious romantic relationship in years. Lauren, an unemployed clothes buyer, dresses stylishly and is never long without a new guy on her arm, but is homeless and has creditors chasing her for unpaid debts. While both sisters love and support each other, they believe that they can “fix “the other sister. To that end Ava corrals Lauren into cleaning up her financial mess, while Lauren plays matchmaker for the reluctant Ava.

While both sisters have romantic entanglements, the men are supporting players to the sister relationship. The author even includes her own personal sister Hall of Fame at the back of the book: Little Women’s the March sisters; The Simspson’s Bouvier sisters; the real-life Brontes; Pride and Prejudice’s the Bennet sisters; and Greek mythology’s the Gorgon sisters.

The Smart One and the Pretty One is witty chick-lit fare with a meaningful twist!

Publisher: 5 Spot (September 10, 2008), 304 pages
Review Copy Provided Courtesy of Hachette Book Group.


  1. Oh I like it, I so want some witty chicklit :)
    Great review

  2. I won this a few months ago and now I'm really anxious to read it.

  3. This one is on my shelf, and I've been looking forward to it.

  4. Good review. I have this one sitting here waiting for me to pick it up sometime so it's nice to hear that it has something beyond the fluff.