About to turn 30, Bostonian Augusta “Gus” Curtis is determined to have a great job, great friends and the perfect man when she hits that daunting milestone.
She’s got the first two covered: She’s a librarian at a small museum, and her friends Amy Lee and Georgia are all a girl could ask for. She was feeling pretty good about the third until she found sweet, adorable Nate kissing Helen, her onetime college roommate and a perennial It Girl. Convinced nevertheless that she and Nate are meant to be together, Gus sets out to get him back. Her plan is complicated by the fact that Helen seems to be stalking her, and by her annoying new tendency to hook up with Henry, Nate’s exasperating, patrician and undeniably hot roommate. Crane (Everyone Else’s Girl, 2005, etc.) is trying to do a lot here, and the result is a novel that is at once too much and not enough. Her treatment of Gus’s obsession with Nate will be uncomfortably familiar to anyone who’s ever succumbed to hopeless love, but Crane barely scratches the surface of that plotline. The “frenemy” concept seems like more of a marketing hook than a meaningful narrative device, since Helen and Gus were never exactly close. Helen does not, for example, use her relationship with Gus to get with Nate, and Gus is more offended in principle than actually wounded when Helen steals her man. And the romance between Gus and Henry is tiresome and unconvincing. With her reluctant lovers, Crane strives for romantic comedy of the Howard Hawks variety; in fact, a great sense of humor is supposed to be one of Gus’s most attractive attributes. But the sparring never zings—“Shut up, Henry!” is this novel’s idea of repartee—and Gus emerges not as a great wit but, rather, as a witless jerk.
An unfocused, unamusing story with an unappealing heroine.