February 12, 2001 12:00 PM

by Sophie Kinsella

If ever there were a candidate for Debtors Anonymous, it’s Rebecca Bloomwood. Alas, this comic first novel’s 25-year-old heroine—ironically, a financial journalist for a London magazine called Successful Savings—would sooner toss her overdue Visa bills into a Dumpster, dodge bank managers’ calls or engage in a shopping frenzy at Dolce 6c Gabbana than face her own spiraling money problems. After her father advises her to “C.B. or M.M.M.” (Cut Back or Make More Money), Bloomwood pitches herself headlong into a series of silly get-out-of-debt schemes, which include trying to snag the nerd who is England’s 15th-richest bachelor. Though the secondary characters are thin and the plot line rivals a bounced check in excitement, Kinsella’s Bloomwood is plucky and funny in spite of her selfishness. (Working as a salesclerk, she so covets a pair of zebra pants that she hides them from a customer.) You won’t have to shop around to find a more winning protagonist. (Delta, $10.95)

Bottom Line: A few laughs for your money

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