cover image Three Girls and Their Brother

Three Girls and Their Brother

Theresa Rebeck, . . Crown/Shaye Areheart, $23.95 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-307-39414-9

Rebeck has won an Edgar and a Peabody for her TV work and numerous awards for her plays. Her hilarious first novel begins when the New Yorker profiles the three beautiful granddaughters and grandson of a famed late literary critic, Leo Heller. As a perennially aspiring model, Daria, 18, is ecstatic. Her younger sister, Polly, 17, is thrilled, too, but 14-year-old Amelia could care less. Philip, 15, who is the smartest of the group, is the first of the four to assume the first-person narrative; he’s wary of all the attention, but the siblings’ former beauty queen mom can’t wait to take advantage of the publicity and push her daughters into show biz, even if it means sacrificing their schooling. Rebeck shines when Amelia gets cast in a ridiculous off-Broadway play: her insider’s look at the theater world is spot on and uproarious, particularly her contrast of poor starving actors with rich starving models and of theater types with Hollywood types. The siblings’ voices are not consistently strong, and an over-the-top revenge plot drains some power from the plot, but the crackling satire and scene-stealing secondaries carry the book. (Mar.)