Book Article

Chick Lit 101: Bad Boys, Cad Nauseam

We review new books by Adele Parks, Lani Diane Rich, and more

EW looks at the latest in chick lit

LUST FOR LIFE
Adele Parks (Downtown, $14)
Martha, a serious, married mom of two, and sister Eliza, a video editor with a live-in musician boyfriend, watch their relationships go kaput. Source of Angst Martha finds fun (but no commitment) with new beau Jack, while Eliza goes on a gaggle of ho-hum dates. Bad-Boy Line Under Jack's ''naked friends'' theory, he's allowed to sleep with other women as long as he's honest about it. Lowdown Breakup woes are hardly new, but well-drawn characters and believable emotions elevate Lust. B+Clarissa Cruz

THE VOW
Denene Millner, Angela Burt-Murray & Mitzi Miller (Amistad, $23.95)
Three type A, African-American career girls in L.A. — journalist, agent, actress — make a pact to be married within a year. Source of Angst If only eligible black men were as easy to acquire as closets full of Prada. Bad-Boy Line ''You and your girls have set some arbitrary timetable to rope a brother...and you're wondering why brothers are afraid of commitment?'' Lowdown Lots of insidery dirt, but too much man-juggling becomes a circus act. B-Nina Willdorf

EX AND THE SINGLE GIRL
Lani Diane Rich (5 Spot, $12.95)
Syracuse grad student Portia is duped by her loopy Southern family into a post-breakup sabbatical at home. Source of Angst A dreamy Brit author is a tempting distraction, but her ex still looms. Bad-Boy Line A thundering ''...'' follows Portia's audaciously raw profession of love to one suitor. In this case, the strong, silent type is overrated. Lowdown Besides a minor overdose of Steel Magnolias Southern quirk and an obvious ending, Ex is still sweetly engaging. B+Leah Greenblatt

THE MAKEUP GIRL
Andrea Semple (Strapless, $12.95)
Sexy Faith has a hot PR job and a hotter boyfriend — or so her family and friends think. Source of Angst In truth, Faith works at a makeup counter, lives in a decrepit flat, and barely tolerates Frank, the alcoholic, possibly suicidal yeti living downstairs. Bad-Boy Line After trying to seduce Faith in the stockroom and getting her fired, sex buddy Adam tells her: ''You'll get another [job]. No problem, babe.'' Lowdown The loose ends tie up almost ridiculously tight, but that provides some simple satisfaction. BLG

Originally posted Nov 04, 2005 Published in issue #849 Nov 11, 2005 Order article reprints
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