cover image CITIZEN GIRL


Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus, . . Atria, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-6685-7

McLaughlin and Kraus (The Nanny Diaries ) are back with another tale of woe featuring a 20-something New Yorker searching for a way out of her miserable life. This hyperventilating satire features Girl, an ambitious feminist whose well-known girl-empowering boss saddles Girl with the worst tasks, steals her ideas and finally cans her for speaking out. After a desperate search, Girl is hired for a dream job with a matching dream salary. As the Director of Rebranding Knowledge Acquisition for My Company, she doesn't exactly know what she's supposed to do, but it involves dodgy activities with her boss and being made over to fit in with a new California client. "You're lucky to even be here.... We're about to buy you a few thousand dollars' worth of suits. So just go try on the Goddamn bikini.... Honey, what're ya gonna do about the bush?" As work goes from bad to worse, the only light in Girl's tunnel is Buster—a sweet boy/man who creates video games for a living and who fluctuates between fleeing Girl and being there for her. But when a new boss takes My Company into a whole new darker direction (think sex industry), Girl is forced to make a decision between morals and money. Though witty and biting in spots, this bitter tale is too schematic and strident to be much fun. Agent, Suzanne Gluck at ICM. (Dec.)

Forecast: The peccadilloes of Upper East Side mothers are a far cry from the sins catalogued here. Nanny Diary fans who pick this up may find they've gotten more than they bargained for.