cover image Certain Girls

Certain Girls

Jennifer Weiner, , . Atria, $26.95 (386pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-9425-6

Following the story collection The Guy Not Taken , Weiner turns in a hilarious sequel to her 2001 bestselling first novel, Good in Bed , revisiting the memorable and feisty Candace “Cannie” Shapiro. Flashing forward 13 years, the novel follows Cannie as she navigates the adolescent rebellion of her about-to-be bat mitzvahed daughter, Joy, and juggles her writing career; her relationship with her physician husband, Peter Krushelevansky; her ongoing weight struggles; and the occasional impasse with Joy's biological father, Bruce Guberman. Joy, whose premature birth resulted in her wearing hearing aids, has her own amusing take on her mother's overinvolvement in her life as the novel, with some contrivance, alternates perspectives. As her bat mitzvah approaches, Joy tries to make contact with her long absent maternal grandfather and seeks more time with Bruce. In addition, unbeknownst to Joy, Peter has expressed a desire to have a baby with Cannie, which means looking for a surrogate mother. Throughout, Weiner offers her signature snappy observations: (“good looks function as a get-out-of-everything-free card”) and spot-on insights into human nature, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. She expends some energy getting readers up to speed on Good , but readers already involved with Cannie will enjoy this, despite Joy's equally strong voice. (Apr.)