LIVING THE DREAM by Lauren Berry


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Best friends, both creatives, keep their wine glasses at the ready as they try to make it big without selling their souls.

Emma Derringer considers herself a writer, validated by her blog's steadily growing number of followers. But her daily life belongs mostly to “her alter ego: someone who worked in advertising and meant it.” Working at APRC is mind-numbing, but it’s supposed to be temporary. Emma’s best friend, Clementine, could never survive at an office job even though she has zero money. Recently back from a year studying screenwriting at Columbia, Clem expected to return to London on the verge of success. Instead, she has a jerk of an actor ex-boyfriend whose name is already plastered on billboards, making her feel that much worse about working nights at her old college bar. Now that these friends are in the same city again, they can at least drink away their problems together—complaining about exes and bosses from hell is a lot easier than figuring out how to make their dreams reality. In contrast to Emma and Clem with their Debbie-downer attitudes, there is Emma’s DJ roommate, Paul, who's equal parts hot mess and accomplished in his career, and Yasmin, Emma’s frenemy, who seems predictably airheaded at the start but may just be the happiest of the lot. But when Emma’s blogworthy items go from sexy encounters and wasted nights to health scares and questions of moral integrity, the tension starts to bubble over. What more will it take to get Emma and Clem to become people they actually like? Berry sustains a witty voice with an enjoyable flair for the dramatic throughout, but the actual drama of the story falls flat. The seeds are planted, fiddled with, but then dropped—many of the women's problems are solved without them having to work very hard at it.

Debut novelist Berry creates relatable characters who can laugh at themselves even when they fall down hard, but the gist of the book can be summed up when one of them approaches a problem by “produc[ing] a piece of writing about it and put[ting] it all behind her.”

Pub Date: July 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-12690-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2017


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