Lara Lingtonís life is a bit of a mess. Her company, the one she poured her life savings into, is barely staying afloat. Her business partner, Natalie, has run off to India with her lover, leaving Lara in charge of a business she barely understands and isnít quite sure how to run. It doesnít help that her uncle is famous coffee magnate Bill Lington; why couldnít his business acumen rub off on her, just a little? Whatís more, Laraís beloved boyfriend Josh recently broke up with her for no reason and with no explanation. But despite what others may think, she is NOT obsessed with him. So she texted him a few times, but she needed closure! She needed to know why he didnít want to be with her anymore. He had NO REASON to call her parents informing them of her texts; now they all think sheís crazy. Even worse, Lara is afraid she actually is going crazy: sheís begun seeing ghosts.
Well, that isnít entirely accurate Ė she isnít seeing ghosts, sheís been seeing a ghost. Just one. After her great-aunt Sadieís funeral (Lara didnít even know she had a great-aunt Sadie), she begins seeing and hearing a young woman of whom no one else appears to be aware. Itís the ghost of Sadie, albeit a young and beautiful version, and she has a last wish. She asks Lara to help her accomplish it, and Lara, thinking it a simple matter, agrees. Little does she know that it will lead her in directions she never suspected, and that Sadie has a mind of her own.
Twenties Girl is a fun, light read with all the hallmarks of a classic Sophie Kinsella novel. Lara is loveable but quirky. She doesnít always make the best decisions for herself; there are times when the reader wants to reach into the books and shake some sense into her. At the beginning, Lara comes across as a ditz, but as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that she is cleverer than anyone has given her credit for. She feels a real sense of loyalty to Sadie, even when Sadie hasnít treated her with due respect, and does her best to help her. Lara has to make some hard realizations over the course of the novel, and though sometimes she takes her time with them, once they hit home, she faces them with dignity. She shows real character development as Twenties Girl progresses.
Sadie is an entirely different story. There were times in the first 150 pages of the novel where I seriously contemplated putting Twenties Girl down because Sadie was so irritating. Sheís demanding, selfish, and has to have her way in every instance. I felt sorry for Lara because Sadie pushes her around so much, and thereís absolutely nothing she could do about it. She was likely written this way in order to inject humor into the novel. While it did succeed on many occasions (some of Sadie and Laraís antics had me laughing out loud), it was grating as well. As the novel progresses, Sadieís annoying characteristics are toned down and she becomes a more likeable character.
The mystery in Twenties Girl is well-written and engaging. While Kinsellaís other novels are enjoyable, I appreciated this departure from the standard chick-lit fare. Kinsella kept me guessing at every twist and turn, trying to figure out what happened to Sadie and how this tied into the other events occurring in the novel. The author obviously paid a lot of attention to writing a solid mystery that her readers would appreciate, rather than merely using it as a plot device thrown in as an afterthought. Itís very well done.
Twenties Girl is a thoroughly enjoyable, funny novel that any fans of chick lit will enjoy. The added mystery might even be enough to attract those who donít normally read chick lit.