A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone? Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar. And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken. With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program.
In Pagan's uneven debut, diet editor Marissa Rogers is driven but lacks confidence, thanks largely to her appearance-obsessed mother. When a brain injury changes her best friend, Julia, from beautiful, independent alpha woman to needy, cat-obsessed, purple-clad shut-in, Marissa's life takes a turn as well. A recovering Julia is intent on reuniting Marissa with Nathan, the college sweetheart that Julia personally coerced Marissa into dumping. Though Marissa has often thought about Nathan, she has a fine relationship with Dave, a reliable workaholic. As Julia's change creates distance between these two old friends, Marissa grows closer to her religious sister, Sarah, who helps her navigate her relationships. Meanwhile, at work, Marissa is forced to fend off the barbs of an ambitious editorial assistant, a plot line that feels tacked-on in order to give Pagan a chance to reveal the toil and tedium behind the glamorous veneer of magazine life. Though it's not without humor, Pagan's prose feels stale and clunky, and moments of revelation seem pat, easy, or implausible. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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June 09, 2011
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