Jennifer Weiner, Adriana Trigiani, Lauren Weisberger, et al. . Downtown Press, $13 (369pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-9695-7

Now that the Scottish girls and the Irish girls have had their chance (Irish Girls About Town; Scottish Girls About Town ), a delightful—if uneven—new collection of 17 stories from American women authors hits the scene. While many stories are simply shorter versions of chick-lit books—breezy, light, fun—some play with the rules. The best of the bunch come from a mix of name writers and lesser known talents. Laura Wolf's "Amore" follows a young woman through her lifelong quest to bypass dull American boys and find an interesting foreign man—a quiet-sounding premise that heats up with an unexpected twist. Sarah Mlynowki's lively "The Two-Month Itch" chronicles the possible outcomes of kissing—or not kissing—the cute boy seated next to you on a plane when you're not at all single. Lynda Curnyn's "The Uncertainty Principle" is a dreamy, atmospheric story of what happens in one apartment when the lights go out in New York City in the summer of '03. And in Claire Lazebnik's charming "Leaving a Light On," a married couple pretends to meet for the first time in a hotel bar, spicing up their marriage with "casual sex." While this anthology has its share of mediocre padding, the gems in it are strong enough to make this a rewarding read for lovers of chick lit. (Oct.)