Book Review of California Girls

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California Girls by [Mallery, Susan]

California Girls

Susan Mallery


February 26, 2019


The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters

who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning-show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by the news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.


When I reached the last word of Susan Mallery’s California Girls, I immediately began writing the review in my head and tried to ascertain exactly what this emotion was that I was feeling. Fulfillment? No, satisfaction.

In California Girls three sisters have the misfortune of being dumped on the same Friday. While none of them saw it coming, it gives them the opportunity to reflect on their relationships and lives as well as allows them to draw closer to each other and their prickly mother.

I enjoyed this journey with sisters, Finola, Zennie, and Ali. They are each so very different, which makes their journeys equally as interesting. Initially I didn’t like the career-driven, self-obsessed Finola, but it’s she who has the greatest awakening of the three sisters and I found that I liked her, or the “new” her, by the end of the novel. Zennie is an extremely unique but likable character, who I thought might verge on being asexual due to her sexual apathy. While it seems that she is making a huge sacrifice, she ultimately deals with it in a very human manner. And, Ali is probably the most fun of the characters, breaking out of her shell and taking on life with zeal.

The only hiccup for me was that two scene were repeated, not verbatim, but the intent was the same. Hopefully they may be altered in the final copy.

Regardless, I loved California Girls. It’s not escapist fare, but it is the kind of feel-good book that you want to savor.

I recommend California Girls to Susan Mallery fans, readers who like feel-good, low-on-angst women’s fiction, readers who like sister stories, readers who like faux-bad guys who stick around.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

California Girls goes on sale February 26, 2019. You can pre-order from Amazon here.



4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies

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