Sunday, January 30, 2011

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

Released: June 2009

Commencement is J. Courtney Sullivan's first novel and centers around a group of first-years at Smith College. Sullivan attended Smith as well, and writes for a number of magazines and various publications.

Celia, Bree, April and Sally are four young women who couldn't be more different from one another, but when they share the same level of a dormitory together, strong bonds and close friendships are forged. The novel spans back and forth between present day and college days, as we come closer to learning about the ups and downs in the lives of these four women.

Commencement reminds me strongly of the acclaimed Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, but without the dryness and cold feelings conveyed in Prep. I really enjoy the camaraderie and candor between the girls in Commencement and how they approach their lives with such vitality and vigor! Commencement is easily fun and enjoyable because of how inclusive and engaging the chemistry is between the girls.

The extra sub-plot concerning April's disappearance is an interesting spin, but seasoned readers will easily predict the situation's outcome. Highlights for me include reading about Sally and Jake's relationship which is sweet, loving, and utterly romantic in all its simplicity. I also really appreciate Bree and Lara's true love for one another.

All in all, Commencement will be very enjoyable for fans of chick-lit and also for anyone who read and enjoyed Sittenfeld's Prep. The novel is an intelligent take on the lives of women making self-discoveries.

I am looking forward to J. Courtney Sullivan's second novel Maine, coming out later in June 2011. Non-fiction titles by J. Courtney Sullivan include Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man (2007) and Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists (2010).

                   Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man     Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists      Prep: A Novel

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