Book Review: New York Dolls by Catherine L. Hensley

I have never read this genre of novel before, but was drawn in by the sample chapters on the publisher’s website. I subsequently bought the e-book, wanting to see what happened next. And I’m so glad I did, for this was an adorable read! For a geeky, sheltered stay-at-home mom such as myself who has zero sense of style, no experience in any corporate profession, and is utterly freaked out by cities (or anywhere outside of a 10 mile radius of farmland, really…), I wouldn’t have expected to relate to a story about a young fashion/celebrity magazine journalist in hustlin’, bustlin’ New York City. But I found the protagonist, Denton, to be so down-to-earth, funny, self-deprecating and relatable (not to mention, she loves desserts as much as I do), that I couldn’t help but root for her and keep my eyes glued to the Kindle to see what else would happen to her.

New York Dolls brought me back to a place and time I’d entirely forgotten about: my adolescence, when my awesome big sister (who is perfectly stylish and social – in other words, the opposite of me) would routinely force me away from my library of enormous fantasy sagas to watch chick flicks and romantic comedies with her. Begrudgingly, I usually ended up enjoying them. So I smiled and laughed, and thought of those days the whole time I read through this cute story, feeling like I was curled up on the basement sofa next to my sister watching “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days” or “The Devil Wears Prada” or “No Reservations.”

As per the writing itself, Hensley’s descriptions of NYC are breathtaking. She actually made me reconsider the way I feel about the city by effortlessly conveying its charm and appeal in the narrative. She writes with a *lot* of humor, which is refreshing, and I found nearly every one of her characters realistic and likable. I especially nursed a soft-spot for Amber Donovan, the young, redheaded Lyndsay Lohan-esque pop star/party girl. She reminded me so much of one of my oldest friends (you know who you are…), and I thought Hensley did a great job of making her very sympathetic. I also appreciated Hensley’s keeping the story relatively clean; there is some language and a few f-bombs, namely just for emphasis or to depict a character’s personality in dialogue, but there’s no graphic or gratuitous sex. And the story is better for it.

Overall, this tale has heart. It’s not just about celeb gossip and fashion tabloids, which the author does a great job of both glamorizing yet poking fun at, but a sweet narrative of a young, independent woman in the city just trying to find herself. If you like chick lit, New York City, and stories of friendship among modern young women, this is the book for you. But even if you don’t, you can still enjoy it – as I did. I will end this review by saying that, if it ever gets made into a chick flick, I’m flying down to my big sister’s house and making *her* watch it with *me.* 🙂

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