Charity Shumway’s Debut Novel, TEN GIRLS TO WATCH
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, July 20, 2012, 04:49 PM EDT
In Charity Shumway’s debut novel, TEN GIRLS TO WATCH (Washington Square Press; July 31, 2012), twenty-something Dawn West is fresh out of college with dreams to be a writer/journalist, and finds herself in quite the quarter-life crisis, complete with a part-time job that only has a tiny bit to do with her chosen career (she writes lawn care tips on a gardening blog), run-down NYC apartment, strange roommate, an ex-boyfriend who just won’t go away, and the looming possibility that one of these days she might have to pack up and move back home to her parents in Oregon if she can’t make the rent.
A chance meeting with the editor-in-chief of the fictional Charm magazine lands her a job working on a special project: she is to track down the past winners of the magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest for an anniversary issue. (The contest in the book is similar to the real-life Glamour magazine’s annual Top Ten College Women contest. Charity herself worked on a similar piece for the fiftieth anniversary of the contest, which inspired the novel. Glamour did a short Q&A in their May issue with Charity and bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld, who is an alumna of the contest. See it here.)
Not only is the prospect of actually getting paid to write for a major publication thrilling, as Dawn gets to know the life stories of these former winners, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. And even more importantly, she’ll find that though those who have gone before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to carve our own way. Both an insightful look at the progression of female experience over the past fifty years and a witty coming of age story, TEN GIRLS TO WATCH introduces a refreshing new voice in women’s fiction. Simply put: Charity Shumway is one to watch.
Here’s some praise from some established writers who agree:
“An insightful, funny take on post grad tribulations that thoughtfully mines the wisdom of women.”
—Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, #1 New York Times bestselling authors
"A thoroughly charming, sassy, highly satisfying debut from a writer with a rare gift.”
—Sarah Pekkanen, author of These Girls
“A heartwarming story about a gathering of extraordinary women who offer wisdom, warmth, and humanity. Ten Girls to Watch will inspire you.”
—Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres