July 2, 2013

Brooklyn Girls - Gemma Burgess

Brooklyn Girls - Gemma Burgess
Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Macmillan!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

This brand new series is about five twenty-something friends—Pia, Angie, Julia, Coco and Madeleine—sharing a brownstone in hip, downtown Brooklyn, and discovering the ups and downs and ins and outs of their “semi-adult” lives. The first story belongs to sophisticated, spoiled, and stylish Pia, who finds herself completely unemployed, unemployable, and broke. So what is a recent grad with an art history degree and an unfortunate history of Facebook topless photos to do? Start a food truck business of course! Pia takes on the surprisingly cutthroat Brooklyn world of hybrid lettuce growers, artisanal yogurt makers and homemade butter producers to start SkinnyWheels—all while dealing with hipster bees, one-night-stands, heartbreak, parental fury, wild parties, revenge, jail, loan sharks, playboys, karaoke, true love, and one adorable pink food truck. And that's without counting her roommates' problems, too. (modified from Goodreads)

Based on a cursory glance at the book summary and an instinctive reaction to the title, I had a strong feeling that I’d really enjoy Brooklyn Girls. My instincts were spot on – the novel was fantastic! The first page reeled me in, and each page I turned kept me entertained and invested.

Pia is the main narrator amongst the quintet. It’s quite enlightening to see her gradual transformation from an incredible f**k-up to a passionate, goal-driven girl. The novel opens with a party that demonstrates her irresponsibility and devil-may-care attitude, which is really just a manifestation of her uncertainty and lack of focus. While she doesn’t completely lose all of her easygoing personality, she does find maturity and certainty with time. But her passion for her chosen career was evident, as was her strong desire to do the right thing. She was really a fun, cool character!

Her friendships with the others – Maddy, Julia, Coco and Angie – were fun and different from one another. Readers get a good idea of what the other four are like through Pia’s point of view! Even though their personalities are riddled with stereotypical clich├ęs, they made for an interesting group.

It made me glad that romance wasn’t a strong focus, though her past and (possible) future romance did affect Pia’s actions. The romance was a very movie-like affair, particularly how it starts and how it concludes. But there is one thing I must say: an attractive BRITISH boy? YES PLEASE.

It was wonderful to see New York! I could totally relate to the way it’s described, even though I live in the Bronx and not Brooklyn. But the charm, the wonder, the frenetic energy, the unlimited craziness, the feeling of endless possibility and hope and just the sense of belonging if you've never found that before - it's something I've personally experienced. Burgess did a great job of translating this into words!

But my favorite part of the book? The FOOD TRUCKS. I love a good food truck. They make cheap, good food that you can find in most places in the city (and now that it's summer, there are a lot of fro-yo and ice cream trucks), and it's so cool how it's incorporated in the story. Food trucks are a tale unto themselves, and Burgess totally used that concept.

Sure, there are a few crazy elements in this story - like the involvement of the mob, for instance. But that didn't take away from my enjoyment. I felt like I was sitting and watching a film, which made me kind of happy. I'm a sucker for cheese sometimes, for "fate and destiny" to make things work out. And this novel was perfect for that!

The combination of a group of five (very different) girls and their crazy shenanigans set against the backdrop of my beloved New York was like a siren's call. And I’m really glad I responded to it! Brooklyn Girls is certainly a light read, in spite of all the crazy stuff that ensues. But it was funny, and snarky, and silly. It celebrated friendships, through the good times and the bad times. It also showcased the kind of New York that I've experienced myself - one where all things are possible, where the craziest out of a movie moments take place, where you can reinvent yourself and become someone new. Because I found it so relatable and real and true, Brooklyn Girls definitely struck a strong chord with me. I loved everything about it, and am certainly looking forward to the next book (rumor has it, it’s about Angie)!


  1. Wow, this looks like a super fun read! I love books that incorporate the atmosphere of the setting. Definitely one I was to look into. Great review!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  2. I just have one question: Where is my adorable, attractive british boyfriend? They seem to litter the streets in novels and I've yet to come upon one in my everyday life. Something just isn't right here!

    All joking aside, this novel sounds like something I would really enjoy. I love the idea of the novel being divided so that each girl will be the focus of her own individual book. I'm sure this will allow for more focus and in-depth analysis, as I often find that when you have too many characters and attempt to explore all their stories in a single book, the emotional intensity and focus of the plot can become a little lost.

    I was initially hesitant as to whether or not I would be able to warm to Pia as a protagonist, but as a self-confessed foodie, the lure of the food truck is more than I can ignore. I absolutely love them and can only imagine what a great basis for a story they would make.

    This was a great review, Alexa! You really brought the story to life and made me very excited to read it myself :)

  3. This book sounds absolutely amazing! It's my dream to live in NYC and it seems like Burgess captured the entire essence of New York perfectly, from the sound of it. I'm so happy to hear that you loved Pia, and yay for character progression! That's like one of my favorite things about characters. And even though the other girls were stereotypical, at least they all had distinct voices! I cannot wait to read about the BRITISH BOY and FOOD TRUCK my goodness, I'm pretty sure I just want to read the book more after you mentioned that! ;) Anyway, lovely review, I'm so happy that you loved everything about this book, Alexa!

  4. so excited for this one!! glad you loved it! :-D I have it for review & I'm waiting for the PERFECT DAY. I'm really glad to see that they represent the city well, ::Ahem:: FOOOOOOD TRUCKS!

  5. Alexa, is Brooklyn Girls a bit like Gossip Girl in terms of storytelling? I feel, from the premise anyway, that it sounds a bit like that, and it excites me! Either way, it sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, girl! Wonderful review :)

  6. Oh this sounds right up my alley! I love that the romance is kept part of the story I hate when it becomes all the book is about. I also LOOVED New York settings in books! It sounds like an entertaining read for sure that may have a few unrealistic parts but kind of mind-candy, you know? lol

  7. Shenanigans!! Oh I do love that word---both the sound and meaning LOL. This sounds like a fun read and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  8. I am SO wanting to read this one! There's definitely something so perfect about a group of friends set in a city, especially when they're all different. And shenanigans! I love those! :)

  9. This sounds right up my alley! I hadn't heard of it before, thanks for bringing it to my attention, I love books that focus on the twenty something life purpose finding demographic.

  10. It's so interesting to read your review of this book, because I ended up having such a different reading experience from you! I liked the setting, the focus on food trucks, and the relationship between the girls but Pia just drove me CRAZY. I couldn't relate to any of her actions. And yeah that whole loan shark subplot was utterly ridiculous in my mind. I'm glad though that you were able to enjoy it so much! I'm thinking I just wasn't the right audience for this book.

  11. So I don't read much Adult these days but I added this to my TBR so hopefully one day I can read it. It sounds like a great book and one that I will enjoy (I like the friendship focus, and becoming an adult) And I too love food trucks ;) Do they have taco trucks near you? These are the best! Thanks for a great review Alexa! :)

  12. I'm so glad you liked this book! It's one that I'm looking forward to reading, so to have you give it a great review is a good sign! And I can't wait to read about the food trucks, and the BRITISH BOY!!! :P

  13. Is Brooklyn Girls new adult? It kind of looks it, which in that case makes it appeal to me.

    Also, I just really love reading about food.


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