Ten Girls to Watch
Like so many other recent graduates, Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that’s gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column.
So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. After all, she’s being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. As Dawn gets to know their life stories, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she’ll learn that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending.
Read an Excerpt
The Internet told me the temperature in Brooklyn was ninety-three degrees, but my fourth-floor apartment wrapped those ninety-three degrees in ancient plaster, a sweaty hug that pushed things that much closer to triple digits. The large windows could have helped, but this was a day when flags hung limp on their poles. Instead of offering a breeze, all the windows did was lap up sticky sunshine. Even standing motionless in front of my blaring fan, perspiration trickled down my temples and pooled around my waistband. Still, before I dialed, I flicked off the fan. I didn’t want to risk missing a word, and the... see more
Reading Group Guide
Dawn West knew life would be hard when she moved to New York. She just didn’t know it’d be this hard. On top of being broke, jobless, and living in a shabby Brooklyn apartment—complete with a slob of a roommate who won’t pay rent—Dawn is struggling to get over her ex-boyfriend Robert, who is blissfully dating a girl Dawn wants to hate. Making a pittance from her gig writing for a lawn care website under a pseudonym, Dawn is thrilled when a chance to freelance for Charm magazine comes her way. Her assignment? To track down the past winners of Charm’s annual Ten Girls to Watch contest and plan an event to honor their achievements.
As Dawn tracks down each of these extraordinary women, while experiencing the highs and lows of being twenty-something in the big city, she begins to question much of what she thought she knew about success, friendship, love—and ultimately—about herself.
Questions & Topics for Discussion
1. Read each of the Ten Girls to Watch profiles interspersed throughout the novel. What do you th see more