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People PICK

The Pretty One

by Lucinda Rosenfeld |

REVIEWED BY HELEN ROGAN

NOVEL

In this impish new novel from the author of I’m So Happy for You, three sisters who have grown up cranky and competitive are itching to shed the stereotypes they’ve always represented to one another and their parents. Olympia (Pia), “the pretty one,” has a dead-end job as events coordinator at a small museum, a dismal love life and an obsession with identifying her 3-year-old daughter’s sperm-donor father. Imperia (Perri), “the perfect one,” with her immaculate family and home-complete with “the most organized shoe closets, toy bins, and flatware drawer in all of Westchester County”-is rattled to the core when an old college boyfriend starts sexting her. And gay Augusta (Gus), “the political one” who oppresses everyone with her moodiness and hectoring, is similarly derailed by a hunky male relative. When their parents-a handful at the best of times-unexpectedly need help, the sisters succumb to chaos and cattiness. Disastrously entangled in each other’s business, they make a difficult situation worse, but by the time everything’s resolved, you’ll have come to love them in all their hilarious imperfection.

Fresh Off the Boat

by Eddie Huang |

REVIEWED BY ERIC LIEBETRAU

MEMOIR

Eddie Huang’s got chops-and not just as the chef at Baohaus, his acclaimed Manhattan eatery. As this entertaining memoir demonstrates, Huang, 31, has a flair for razor-sharp social commentary along with boundless enthusiasm for food, rap and basketball. In telling his story, he spares no one, delivering straight-up assessments of the immigrant experience and his path from pot hustler to purveyor of authentic Taiwanese street cuisine. It’s a foodie memoir without the veneer, full of honesty and verve.

Saturday Night Widows

by Becky Aikman |

REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

MEMOIR

After journalist Aikman’s husband died when she was in her 40s, she found support groups depressing and overly obsessed with the past. So she recruited five other widows to join her in seeking ways to reconnect with life. This chronicle of the women’s adventures lacks dramatic tension, but their stories of loss are touching, and the wisdom they gain is a testament to the durability of the human spirit.

Living and Dying in Brick City

by Sampson Davis |

REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

MEMOIR

A high school pact helped keep Davis on track to become a doctor. Now he’s back in his hometown, Newark, healing the ones who didn’t get out: addicts, gang members, victims of poverty. This memoir intersperses gripping stories with Davis’s survival tips; it’s a prescription to help kids dream bigger than their circumstances, from someone who really knows.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com