When Bailey Rhodes moved from small-town Virginia to New York City, she acquired a great job with the Expedition Network, a successful boyfriend, and a fabulous group of supportive friends. Her life was headed in the direction she had always dreamed about. But when her mother has a stroke, Bailey must carve time from her busy schedule to head down South to make sure her mom is being cared for properly and moving down the road to recovery. Easier said than done, but Bailey has always been the dutiful daughter, unlike her sister, who has never held down a job for more than a week.
When Bailey arrives in Virginia, it's like entering another dimension. Her two eccentric aunts - Bits and Bubble - are even crazier than normal, especially with the "Miss Tidewater Butter Bean" Pageant quickly approaching. The ladies have set up quite a business coaching the local girls on the finer points of pageantry. Throw in a very attractive neighbor who has Bailey's eyes (and mind) straying from her boyfriend more and more often, and Bailey isn't really sure where she belongs any more - is she a city girl or a Southern girl at heart?
The Mile-High Hair Club is Naomi Neale's sophomore effort and is purely delightful. The characters entertain with their antics, but behind their humor are true-to-life men and women with strengths and weaknesses. Bailey appears content with her life in the city, but after she returns home, she realizes the significance and connection of family. Her drive for success has been shaped by her mother and now that she is affected by the stroke, Bailey finds out things about her mother and aunts' upbringing that she didn't know. The neighbor, Taylor, who Bailey begins to fall for, is unique and hides a few surprises of his own.
Although The Mile-High Hair Club is a light chick-lit novel, it definitely has its moments of sincerity and depth - particularly when Bailey is trying to understand her mother and herself, readers will identify with and see their own struggles down on paper. The hilarity of the pageant makes even the more somber and reflective moments crackle with laughter. Just when things couldn't get any crazier, enter a vegan lesbian contestant with something to prove. For some great end-of-the-summer and early fall reading, The Mile-High Hair Club is a Southern charmer sure to please.