First off: if you read Ernessa T. Carter’s smart and fabulous 32 Candles a couple of years ago, you’re gonna need to pick up this book ASAP. Because not only do a couple of 32 Candles characters make some appearances in Carter’s second novel, The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men, but this book is even more awesome than 32 Candles was. And that’s saying something, because 32 Candles was pretty freakin’ awesome, AMIRITE?
Okay. Now that that’s settled…
Sharita, Thursday, Risa, and Tammy are single and all about to turn 30. Most of them have known each other since their days at Smith College, and even though they’re all completely different from one another in almost every way, they’re extremely close. Sharita is the level-headed one; she’s a boring accounted with her heart set on finding the perfect Black man to settle down with and start a family. Thursday is pretty and neurotic; she’s an aspiring comedienne who’s estranged from her famous father, a once-successful political hip-hop artist, and she can’t seem to settle down with anyone for more than a month. Risa is an in-your-face rocker who’s trying to make it in the LA music scene; she’s also a lesbian who’s been pining over a lost love for the better part of a decade. And Tammy Farrell — 32 Candles! — is now a model-gorgeous, chirpy, positive thinker who also pines for a lost love; she was badly hurt years ago by a now-famous actor and hasn’t managed to get back into the dating scene.
On the periphery of it all is our 32 Candles heroine, Davie Jones, who’s now a highly in-demand self-help guru and the author of The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men. Her book is more a part of the story that she is; tired of “one month stands,” Thursday takes Davie’s Guide seriously and for once decides to commit herself to finding The One. As they near 30, all of the women are determined to have the best year ever. They want love and success and the works…but none of them can possibly see what the near future has in store for them.
The thing I love about Ernessa T. Carter is that she delivers the fun and the smarts and the melodrama and the plot twists; it’s the best of all possible worlds. Her characters are all intelligent, diverse black women — non-catty friends, even! — who each bring something different to the table. The book is almost 500 pages long, but you don’t even realize it. Time just flies. It’s just fun (with the exception of a few glorious tear-jerker moments). Fun, witty chick lit anchored in real-people problems. Awesome. (For real: if Carter could be in charge of romantic comedy screenplays, the world would be a better place.)
Just go buy the book already.
The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men was released on September 24, 2013 by Amazon Publishing.