cover image The Smart One

The Smart One

Ellen Meister, Author . Avon A $13.95 (360p) ISBN 978-0-06-112962-9

Now divorced, 35 and resolved to become a teacher after a series of entry-level design jobs, Bev Bloomrosen takes up temporary residence in her parents' Long Island home while they're in Florida. There, she immediately gets drawn into older sister Clare's marital woes and younger sister Joey's struggle to stay off drugs. Romantic complications soon arrive in the form of the neighbors' son, Kenny, a comedy writer whose tangled past involves both Bev and Joey. The sisters share an adventure while removing an industrial drum from beneath Kenny's parents' house—until they open it to discover the body of a pregnant woman, possibly killed years earlier by Kenny's father (who is now in Florida with advanced dementia). Meister (Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA ) develops this uneasy mix of soap-opera secrets and slapstick humor with twist after twist to the point of reader exhaustion. (Aug.)