cover image CAT'S MEOW


Melissa de la Cruz, . . Scribner, $13 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-0504-7

This frothy romance revolves around Cat McAllister, a fashionista on a mission to save herself from "B-list obscurity." With her sizable trust fund dwindling and her recent fiancé on the arm of a Victoria's Secret supermodel, Cat is desperate to sharpen her edge among New York's rich and elite. With help from her best friend, India, "New York's reigning postoperative transsexual," Cat tries everything from throwing herself the perfect birthday party (her fourth 25th annual), to scheming after a titled, wealthy bachelor, to adopting an orphan in adherence to the gala charity calendar's cause of the moment. The superficial characters and silly predicaments make for a light, if occasionally stilted, read. Canned laughter kills some bad-to-begin-with jokes (e.g., when Cat confuses her illegal alien au pair's visa problems for credit card troubles), and Cat's shallowness is fitfully highlighted in heavy-handed triplicate (" 'Galliano,' I confessed modestly. It was my usual response to a compliment. 'Nice hair' was usually followed by 'Fekkai.' 'Fabulous makeup' by 'Kevyn.' 'Exquisite forehead' by 'Botox.' I like to give credit since I am an authentic person.'"). Senior fashion editor for Hint magazine, a well-respected online journal, Cruz is dead-on with detail, from Cat's prized Bliss discount card and designer clothes to playful descriptions of front-row fashion personalities and events. While this debut, sprung from a column Cruz wrote for Hint, might not create a literary sensation, society page addicts will no doubt enjoy its irreverent spin on the glamorous life. (Aug.)