Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Poppy • $17.99 • 9780316098250
On sale June 1, 2011
In Spoiled, we meet 16-year-old Molly Dix, a normal teenage girl living in suburban Indiana. Her life changes—literally overnight—when her single mother passes away and she discovers that her biological father is none other than world-famous movie star Brick Berlin. Molly moves to California to connect with her famous father and discovers that she has a half-sister, Brooke, who is the epitome of the spoiled, privileged Hollywood royalty the Fug Girls love to poke fun at. Take a peek at the scene when the girls first meet each other—and see if you can keep a straight face:
“You must be my new sister!”
A tall blonde with bouncing curls glided into the dining room, bringing with her the shortest skirt, longest legs, and tallest stilettos Molly had ever seen. It was Brooke Berlin in the flesh, showing off rather a lot of it.
“I’m so happy to meet you!” Brooke squealed, hugging her before Molly even had a chance to get out of her seat. “Welcome to our wonderful home!”
Brooke had her clasped so tight, she was practically lifting Molly out of her chair. Molly, taken aback, breathed in sharply and almost inhaled a chunk of Brooke’s hair.
“Brookie, it’s not polite to be this late,” Brick scolded.
“I know, Daddy, but Ari’s wardrobe malfunction wasn’t going to fix itself. I’m super sorry!”
Brooke dropped Molly and sailed over to her seat, shaking out her napkin with a wide smile that her suspiciously fawning Wikipedia page called “a beacon of hope for our future.” Molly tried not to stare, but it was difficult: Brooke may not have been truly beautiful, but she was so well groomed that you’d never notice. The dress was designer, the eyelashes were false, the hair was either abundantly natural or expensively synthetic, and the purse she’d brought to the table was a Chloé bag Molly knew wasn’t on sale yet to the great unwashed masses. Molly glanced at her own comfy hoodie and kicked herself for treating this like just another movie night.
Crazy Love: A Memoir by Leslie Morgan Steiner
St. Martin’s, March 30, 2010
Crazy Love is the story of Leslie’s love-gone-wrong with boyfriend—and then husband—Conor. At first Leslie and Conor seemed like the perfect couple—totally in love and excited to begin their lives together—but slowly Conor begins to abuse Leslie, subtly and verbally at first, brutally and physically later. Gradually and methodically, he isolates her from friends and family, leaving Leslie terrified that she might never escape from the man she loves.
It’s not an easy book to read, but I think it’s an important one. And even though the subject matter is violent and difficult, Steiner’s writing is fluid and lovely.
Here’s an excerpt from the middle of the book, days before Leslie and Conor’s wedding, and just a few hours after Conor pushed Leslie up against a wall, choked her and then threw her to the floor over a simple misunderstanding.
I pretended I didn’t hear the Volkswagen pull in around 6:00pm. He came into my office holding the car keys, head down. I could smell fear on him, panic that I was going to vilify him for what he’d done or announce I’d canceled the wedding.
The dread on Conor’s face offered a spider’s thread of hope. If he were afraid, he’d never attack me again, right? I could leave anytime. And anyway, he’d just grabbed my throat. He couldn’t have hit me. We were getting married.
Three days later, when my family and our wedding guests started arriving, the ten small reddish brown bruises around my neck were so faint no one noticed them.
The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
Doubleday, April 6, 2010
I’m pleased to say The Swimming Pool has lived up to its own hype—and then some. It’s the tangled story of two families linked forever by a love affair and a shocking murder. Marcella Atkinson fell in love with her summer neighbor, Cecil McClatchey, but before their relationship could even get off the ground, his wife was murdered. Seven years later, Marcella’s daughter is hired to nanny for Cecil’s daughter; Cecil is now dead, but his grown children are spending the summer at the family’s Cape house. And then his handsome son, Jed, finds an old swimsuit in his father’s closet, and begins to connect the dots between his father’s affair, his mother’s death and this mysterious older woman, Marcella.
At the bottom of the closet, among the dust bunnies, was a half-crushed shirt box. It felt light, and he opened it expecting to find nothing, or, at most, some old, ill-considered birthday gift. But instead, neatly folded, there was a woman’s bathing suit.
He felt he was seeing it not only with his eyes but with his whole body. A one-piece, plunging neckline, dark blue with vertical white stripes. Almost clownish—but then he lifted it out of the box and held it up by the straps. Yes. He remembered.
How old had be been?—that afternoon by the pool, their pool, when Marcella Atkinson had been stretched out in a lounge chair, alone at the corner of their patio? She had seemed separated from the rest of them, from the party that was going on, not only by a few feet that the chair was pulled but also by her stillness and, Jed had sensed, her sadness. And her beauty. Her perfect legs and olive skin and dark upswept hair had not seemed to belong with the cheerful Yankees in their madras shorts and flowered dresses, grilling fat American burgers and drinking gin and tonics.