cover image A Girl’s Guide to Chicago

A Girl’s Guide to Chicago

Kelly Russell. Kelly Russell, $17.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-73211-820-1

Chicago blogger Russell crafts a thinly fictionalized version of her first year in the Windy City in her middling debut. The eponymous main character, intrigued by the city as a child, gives up her job in the suburbs in order to fulfill her somewhat vague dream of living there. She quickly finds a job as a receptionist for a digital marketing agency and an apartment to share with her homebody brother, but realizes that she’ll need to navigate public transportation, revamp her wardrobe, and revisit her expectations of urban life if she wants to survive in the city. Though colleagues and friends make appearances, none really makes an impression apart from Vin, Kelly’s boss, who becomes an integral part of her social life. The real star is Chicago itself, with key landmarks and businesses described frequently. The straightforward prose lacks emotional resonance, but the book lives up to its title through its loving portrayal of a storied city. (BookLife)