Ordinarily, I don't review chick lit that is, "a genre of literature appealing specifically to young women." It's too simple, it's often just by-the-numbers plotting, and it generally bores me out of my mind. But Stephanie Fowers, whose chick-lit novel "Meet Your Match" landed on my cluttered desk, is something else youthful satire.
Fowers writes with extraordinary wit, and she captures the milieu of LDS young people in the singles ward/college-dating scene with originality and panache.
That doesn't mean everyone will like it, but if you've always hated chick lit, too, you should consider giving this one a try.
Give it the universal critic's test read the first 50 pages and see if it appeals to you. If not, throw it away. But if it does, you'll chuckle your way to the end.
For those of us who are older and married (like me), the brief explanation of terms on the back of the book is extremely helpful: The plot is defined as "the wager," explaining that, "Jacqueline Childs and Britton Sergeant disagree on almost everything, and definitely on what kind of man catches a girl's eye. ... So, in defense of their genders, they make a wager involving unsuspecting players: Mr. Nice Guy and Mr. Jerk. Both will go after the biggest squirrelly girl in the singles ward whoever catches the girl, wins."
Jacqueline wants to prove that girls do like nice guys. But when her plan "starts to work too well, she's afraid the worst will happen: She'll win the wager but lose her chance for her own Mr. Nice Guy."
In the opening chapter, Jacqueline, who narrates, explains that she is "not a squirrelly girl, okay?" She's just going through a stage called "run," elaborated this way: "I glanced behind me, my shoulder-length red hair whipping against my face. I didn't have time to brush the chunky layers away from my dark eyes. Not now, and not any time soon because he was getting closer. My footsteps quickened."
You see, Jacqueline has become cynical about romance. "Construction workers, UPS men, and guys at Gold's Gym love me, but I suppose that's true for every girl, huh? Which is why you can't trust unfounded attention. ...
"I hurried over the uneven sidewalk and barely stopped myself from falling into a gaping hole. It was just the normal, treacherous terrain you find south of BYU campus. Each block of cement juts out as if emerging from an earthquake. I sidestepped the hole and ran into a ten-foot wall. Okay, slight exaggeration. It was just the edge of the next slab of sidewalk, but it still was enough to send me flying."
So proceeds the story, filled with snappy dialogue, fast action and surprise after surprise. It's easy to fall for Jacqueline's narration, because it's so not self-impressed.Occasionally, I admit, you have to backtrack a few pages because you realize you have no idea what is going on but if you slow down and do it again, you'll probably get it, because you will become enmeshed in everyday life at BYU.