“Jobless. Clueless. Topless on Facebook. Welcome to New York City. Pia Keller is not living the dream. Unemployed, unemployable and broke, post-Uni life in a Brooklyn townhouse with her four best friends suddenly isn’t so easy…”
I’m a big fan of Gemma Burgess. After stumbling on A Girl Like You – now one of my favourite books – I was excited when Brooklyn Girls: Pia dropped through my letterbox. I was surprised, however, when I read the back of the book; the blurb indicated that Burgess’ new novel was aimed at a younger age range than she’s previously written for. And indeed, when I started the book, my heart sank at the binge drinking and casual sex references (“nothing burns like hangover shame”), youth speak and Skins-like cast of characters. That is, until I got totally hooked and couldn’t put the book down.
The book opens on the aftermath of a house party held by Pia – this Brooklyn Girl novel’s protagonist – and her roommates, Madeleine, Julia, Angie and Coco. Reeling from a massive hangover and drunken hook-up with Madeleine’s brother, Pia is hit by another double whammy when her boss fires her as a result of the drunken pictures posted last night on her Facebook page, and when she’s then forced to shell out for the damage that their party has caused to their downstairs’ neighbour’s house.
Broke, unemployed and trying to figure out her next move, Pia Keller takes a punt and buys a food truck – which she paints pink and fondly names Toto – and invents SkinnyWheels, which sells low-cal snacks and salads to office workers bored of burgers and heavy lunch food. As Pia starts to make her fortune, it all seems like things are going to turn around for her – but then she runs into the boy who broke her heart, ruining a date with a guy she really likes, and she loses the money that she desperately needs to pay off the loan shark who lent her the funds to buy Toto. (Gemma Burgess does like her multi-strand plots.)
All the while Pia is trying to stop her parents, with whom she’s always had a fractured relationship, from taking her back home to work there. Pia’s desperate to hold on to her business, her friends, and the new, happy life that she’s slowly built for herself. Will she manage to cling on to her independence, and turn her life around…?
Although this book is aimed in between the young and new adult market, I enjoyed it a shameful amount. With its fresh, young headstrong characters that eventually make for relatable female role models, Burgess’ classic quick-fire dialogue and irresistible narrative style, Brooklyn Girls: Pia has become my new guilty pleasure. I’ve already finished the next in the series, Angie, so watch this space for my next Brooklyn Girls review…
Many thanks to Quercus for the review copy.