I love my chick lit
September 1, 2015 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I've been a chick lit fan for a few years now, and I'm looking for some new authors.

I first got into chick lit about 10 years ago. I think it's hard to find decent stuff, because many people (i.e., Amazon, Goodreads, and just people who recommend books) confuse chick lit with romance novels. I haaaaaaaaaaaate romance novels. I like well-written chick lit.

To give an idea of what I enjoy in chick lit:

My favorite chick lit author is (or was) Anna Maxted. I loved Running in Heels, Getting Over It, Being Committed, liked Behaving Like Adults, tolerated A Tale of Two Sisters, and despised Rich Again. I want to find authors that are a bit more like her— explore themes of relationships, career, friendships, class, etc., while being written by women and tending to feature protagonists in their 20s to 40s and are hilarious.

I've read Marian Keyes and think she's good but prefer Anna Maxted hands down. I also read Ariella Papa and Stella Newman and liked them a lot, maybe more than Marian Keyes (but less than Anna Maxted). I read Dorothy Koomson and wanted to like her (as a fellow woman of color), but something about the writing just didn't do it for me. I am a big fan of Sefi Atta, Chimamanda Adichie, and Min Jin Lee.

I find Jennifer Weiner and Lauren Weisberger to be so-so. I'd probably read more of their books but feel little more than ambivalence.

I despise Sophie Kinsella.

I guess what I want are books that explore themes of human relationships, are written by women, are hilarious at times and heartbreaking at times, feature female protagonists, and are set in modern times, (not a requirement, but I think I prefer this to historical fiction at this point in my life) and are easy to relate to.

Lay your chick lit suggestions on me, MeFi bibliophiles!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes are my most recent discoveries in this genre. Both excellent. Some of Jojo Moyes' earlier ones are historical but her newer ones are set in present day.
posted by something something at 2:03 PM on September 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Also: check out The Royal We.
posted by something something at 2:04 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you read any Pamela Ribon? I think Why Girls are Weird checks a lot of your boxes.
posted by prewar lemonade at 2:07 PM on September 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maeve Binchy! High-class, and ticks all of your boxes.
posted by jbickers at 2:08 PM on September 1, 2015

Jen Lancaster!!!! Oh, how I adore her. NEVER have I laughed at a book so hard in my life!
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 2:14 PM on September 1, 2015

Eileen Rendahl, Lani Diane Rich/Lucy March, Jennifer Crusie.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:15 PM on September 1, 2015

Rainbow Rowell. Her first book, Attachments, is sweetly funny, as is Fangirl. Eleanor & Park might be too YA for you, and I haven't read Landline or Carry On.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:18 PM on September 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm male, and don't care who knows that I thoroughly enjoyed Dispatches from the Dating Zone by KT Valentine.
posted by Beverley Westwood at 2:19 PM on September 1, 2015

Fiona Walker is a lot of fun -- UK-based chick-lit. I especially like her stuff from the mid-90s: Kiss Chase, Snap Happy, French Relations, Well Groomed.
posted by mochapickle at 2:24 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Allie Larkin's two novels should fit the bill
posted by Area Man at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try Kathy Lette!
posted by Otter_Handler at 2:59 PM on September 1, 2015

I think you'll love Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I know I did.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 3:42 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Liane Moriarty, for real though. I listened to all of her stuff on Audible and was majorly depressed when I ran out of her stuff!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2015

I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, because I like well-written literary fiction by and about women rather than "chick lit," exactly, but I would assume there are worlds of overlap and I really like Julie Buxbaum's two novels. I also remember Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer to be hilarious, but it's been a while since I read it.
posted by jaguar at 4:24 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

The latest Jennifer Weiner novel, Who Do You Love, has a biracial male lead who gets about as much screen time as the female lead. I thought the book was decently grounded in reality, but it wasn't noteworthily full of humor.

I think I have enjoyed Alisa Valdes-Rodrigues, at least lightly.
posted by puddledork at 4:31 PM on September 1, 2015

MeFi's own Wendy McClure wrote I'm Not the New Me, which is often categorized as chick lit. It's also funny and occasionally sad and pretty great.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:34 PM on September 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

You've probably read Bridget Jones, but if not, I remember it as being funny and pretty well-written.

Alice Munro is not considered chick lit but all of her protagonists are women and she always explores relationships and she is AMAZING.

I'll try to think of more.
posted by bearette at 5:01 PM on September 1, 2015

Try Elinor Lipman, especially The Ladies' Man, The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, The Inn at Lake Devine, and Isabel's Bed.

Raffaella Barker's books about Venetia Summers are also enjoyable: Hens Dancing and Summertime. I like Bridget Jones too, and these reminded me of a rural Bridget Jones.

I recently read Susan Juby's Home to Woefield aka The Woefield Poultry Collective and really loved it. It's about Prudence, a failed YA writer and earnest 20-something from Brooklyn who suddenly inherits her long-lost uncle's ramshackle farm in a tiny rural Vancouver Island community. The narration alternates between her point of view and that of three other people who become involved in the running of the farm: Sara, an 11 year old poultry expert whose parents take turns fighting over and neglecting her; Seth, the 20-something from across the road whose mom has finally kicked him out, so he grudgingly applies to work for room and board at the farm; and Earl, the elderly, grouchy farm hand who came with the property and thinks Prudence is too naive and idealistic to run a farm.

It is hilarious, heartbreaking, and moves along at a really good pace. There's lots of humour but the author also addresses issues like child neglect, alcoholism, and family estrangement. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it made me laugh out loud a lot.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:05 PM on September 1, 2015

Try Sparkle Hayter. I like her Robin Hudson series, but all of her books feature strong and funny female protagonists.
posted by bunderful at 5:55 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Elizabeth Young is fun, from what I remember. Her heroines are British but not as dysfunctional as Bridget Jones, and the plots often hinge on family issues as much as the romance.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:58 PM on September 1, 2015


Jill Mansell
Jenny Colgan
Hester Browne
Wendy Holden
Katie Fforde
Catherine Alliott
Jane Green
Misery loves cabernet by Kim Gruenenfelder

Seconding Elinor Lipman.

Also seconding Jennifer Cruisie, who is IMHO perfect for you except when she gets into the murder mystery stuff. (So, start with her earlier work - I think Welcome to Temptation and The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes might work for you.)

Also, Lisa Jewell isn't always all about the laugh lines but her books are excellent - worth checking out.
posted by kristi at 7:19 PM on September 1, 2015

Update to my previous comment:

I retract my recommendation for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes because I haven't actually read it (I was mixing it up with another of her books) and it might be a little on the goofy side for your taste.

On the other hand, I double-recommend Welcome To Temptation; thinking back, I'm remembering that it has a scene that is so well written, so perfectly constructed, that you both really enjoy reading it AND sit there and kind of marvel at the craft she puts into it. It's one of my favorite scenes in chicklit.

(Also, I think I misspelled her name - looks like it's Jennifer Crusie.)
posted by kristi at 8:19 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sorry! One more note: Jennifer Crusie has a bunch of excerpts at her website - here's the first chapter of Welcome to Temptation. Enjoy!
posted by kristi at 8:27 PM on September 1, 2015

The Spellman books by Lisa Lutz are mysteries, but are very funny and feature a female protagonist from a highly dysfunctional family.

Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series is also in the mystery genre and deadly serious (groan). The female lead is smart and strong, and while these books aren't as much fun as the Spellman books, I enjoyed Lippman's writing.

I recommend the first two books from Emily Griffin as classic chick lit: Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Unfortunately I can't recommend anything that followed.

You said modern times, so this last suggestion might not be to your liking, but I really enjoyed the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. Funny and very steamy (double groan).
posted by kbar1 at 10:26 PM on September 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:35 AM on September 2, 2015

I posted a question a while back which might have some good suggestions for you.

Help me find some awesome, funny chick-lit.

Great suggestions on that list. I LOVE Jennifer Crusie. She is amazing, esp Bet Me, Welcome to Temptation, and Faking It.

Have fun!
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:47 AM on September 2, 2015

On the female detective front, Sue Grafton's alphabet series (those books that start with A is for Alibi) features Kinsey Millhone, who is absolutely delightful. The best part about the series is that she started it in the 1980s and has written it over the course of thirty years, but in Kinsey's world it's still the 80s, and she runs around in white jumpsuits looking for pay phones and stuff. If you like chick lit, I really think you'll love Kinsey.
posted by something something at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2015

Seconding Katie Fforde and Hester Browne
posted by mirabelle at 5:42 AM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

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