cover image QUARTERLIFE CRISIS: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties

QUARTERLIFE CRISIS: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties

Alexandra Robbins, . . Putnam/Tarcher, $14.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-106-0

This addition to the crowded self-help genre claims to document a previously overlooked phase of life: the period between college graduation and one's 30th birthday, when young adults struggle to find their place in the world. While the assertion that this period can be wracked by "crisis" rings true, this attempt by recent college grads Robbins and Wilners to document it falters. Their overall effort, though uplifting, lacks the substantive advice that many people need as they enter adulthood. According to the authors, the difficulty arises when 20-somethings are ejected from the structured academic environment and forced to choose a career, find a home, carve out social niches and manage money (or the lack thereof). This period can indeed be rocky, especially when a young person is told that the world is her oyster and then can't find a satisfying job. In a somewhat self-conscious vernacular, Robbins and Wilner discuss, among other things, spirituality, job-hopping and living with parents. Most of the book's advice lies in lengthy quotes from other 20-somethings—an anecdotal overabundance that makes for more of a pastiche than a guidebook. But while the book may not have all the answers for members of generation-Y, it at least provides proof that they're not alone in feeling pressured, depressed or disappointed. Agent, Paula Balzer, Carlisle Agency. (May 21)

Forecast:Robbins presented the catchy idea of a pre-midlife crisis in a Mademoiselle article last month, which may help spark sales among this year's crop of college grads.