Best Books 2011: Women’s Fiction

Selected by Rebecca Vnuk, Forest Park, IL

Andrews, Mary Kay. Summer Rental. St. Martin’s. ISBN 9780312642693. $25.99.
Three girlfriends share a month of frolicking, romance, and self-discovery on North Carolina’s Outer Banks until the arrival of a fourth roommate ratchets up the drama. Andrews excels at creating relatable characters and has a wicked sense of humor. (LJ 5/1/11)

Bauermeister, Erica. Joy for Beginners. Putnam. ISBN 9780399157127. $24.95.
Breast cancer survivor Kate challenges her six best friends to each do something meaningful (and in some cases, terrifying). A fine example of ensemble women’s fiction. (LJ 6/1/11)

Bird, Sarah. The Gap Year. Knopf. ISBN 9780307592798. $25.95.
When teenage Aubrey discovers romance with a popular classmate, single mom Camilla doesn’t quite know how to handle things. Their relationship becomes further muddied when Camilla’s long-estranged ex-husband contacts Aubrey in secret. A layered mother-daughter story. (LJ 6/1/11)

Close, Jennifer. Girls in White Dresses. Knopf. ISBN 9780307596857. $24.95.
In a series of linked short stories, three New York friends deal with relationships, careers, and finding their way in the world. A funny and refreshingly contemporary take on chick lit. (LJ 6/15/11)

Cook, Claire. Best Staged Plans. Voice: Hyperion. ISBN 9781401341176. $23.99.
When Sandra, a professional home stager, works on a boutique hotel in Atlanta, she gets some much-needed distance from her doddering husband and unappreciative sons‚ and starts to wonder whether her whole life needs re-staging. Charming and funny. (LJ 5/1/11)

Hilderbrand, Elin. Silver Girl. Reagan Arthur: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316099660. $26.99.
When Meredith’s husband is nabbed by the feds for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme √† la Bernie Madoff, she flees to Nantucket and her oldest friend. But Meredith soon finds she can’t hide out forever. Readers will adore Hilderbrand’s very human characters. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 5/13/11)

Jio, Sarah. The Violets of March. Plume: Penguin Group (USA). ISBN 9780452297036. pap $15.
After a heartbreaking divorce, author Emily goes to live with her elderly aunt. She comes across a diary from the 1940s and is quickly drawn into the details of a mysterious stranger’s life, finding parallels with her own situation and sensing a mystical connection. (LJ 5/1/11)

Weiner, Jennifer. Then Came You. Atria: S. & S. ISBN 9781451617726. $26.99.
An egg donor, a surrogate mother, and the infertile woman who hires them get equal time in Weiner’s latest. Another character enters the picture in an interesting twist‚ the grown daughter of the soon-to-be dad gets to tell her story as well. (LJ 6/1/11)

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