Author: Georgia Clark
Genre: contemporary, magical realism
Published: expected August 2 2016
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
Wildly irreverent, blatantly sexy, and observed with pitch-perfect wit, The Regulars is fresh “compulsive reading from a bright new voice” (Brenda Bowen, author of Enchanted August) in fiction, perfect for fans of Jennifer Close and Kevin Kwan.
This one is a hard one for me to review. I wanted to like it more than I actually did by story's end. There was a lot about The Regulars that appealed to me, but there were also several issues that hindered my overall enjoyment of Evie, Krista, and Willow's stories. A mix of magic and realism, real life and realism, Clark makes several valid points about vanity, self-worth, and relationships min today's culture. The messages the author is trying to impart do get somewhat muddled occasionally in its 400-page length, but it makes for a diverting and creative read. Short chapters and distinct voices speed this novel along, but it's also a popcorn novel -- not enough substance for a real meal.
The strong but tested relationships between the three main characters was definitely the highpoint of The Regulars. These girls are well-rounded, interesting, and flawed people who change (literally) and grow. They make for entertaining plotlines and complications. Some of their interactions verge on stereotypical, but for the most part, each is well-drawn and memorable in their own right. The character of Evie, for me, was the most compelling in a moderately diverse group. She, and her friends, try to figure out who they are, what they want, and what is even possible when their worlds are changed by a magic potion.
The premise isn't what is important; it's the fallout from the taking of the Pretty potion that forms the bulk of the narrative for each of the three girls' storylines. It's an often observant and self-aware novel, but the shallow depictions of every other character outside of the three main characters lessens the impact. The ending is supposed to be meaningful, but feels more meandering. Themes of feminism and sisterhood are important to the story and plot, but are often sidelined for drama or romance. I was a tentative fan for most of the novel and would try another from this author.