Job trouble, love trouble and a 20-something heroine—sounds like another stroll down chick-lit lane.
As a Brown graduate and a former assistant at an online film studio, Sarah Pelletier should have had little trouble finding a job when 451Films.com went belly-up. But she’s been unemployed for six months now and her bank account is sinking to the single digits. Sarah knows she’s in trouble when gym shorts seem like formal attire and the day’s climax is happy hour with her unbearable roommate. She signs on with an employment agency, but her interviews deteriorate from secretary at an ad agency to a position in property management—all a million miles from her dream of working in film. Worse, Mom sends law-school applications while Dad rattles on about her COBRA plan. Then there’s her friend Laurie’s bright idea that speed-dating will help improve her abysmal interviewing skills. The one bright spot in Sarah’s life comes in the form of Jake, a dishy film-buff with possibly one fatal flaw: he may be on the rebound. Where does all this take the reader? Down an amusing yet all-too-familiar path of girl making good. Given all the well-worn conventions, the success of van der Kwast’s debut depends on Sarah: Is she funny enough, genuine enough, different enough to make it work? Well, not quite. Though the author offers a fresh (and perhaps all too relevant) portrait of a recent college grad struggling to mesh her best dreams with her worst realities, too much relies on Sarah’s plucky narrative, which falls short of holding everything together. By the end, the job Sarah does get as an assistant to New York’s top talent agent (possibly the stepping-stone she needs) is lost when a little white lie gets her fired, leaving Sarah with her biggest decision: Should she go back home to Colorado, or risk all in New York with Jake?
Well-intentioned though lackluster first novel.