Joy Shapiro-Krushelevansky's about to turn 13, and that means a bat mitzvah. It also means changes in her relationship with her best friends (twins Todd and Tamsin), and a new tension with her mother. Everything about her mother is wrong - her huge bust, her over protectiveness, her weird family, the way she won't let Joy grow up and do things normal girls do... all Joy wants to be is normal.
Thirteen years ago Cannie Shapiro could never have seen that her life would be so perfect - she has an amazing husband, who loves her even though she's fat and he's a fat doctor ("bariatric physician!"), a fabulous home, a relatively good relationship with her out and proud mother and with her irresponsible baby sister, a career she enjoys (pseudonomously writing a FSF series), a negotiated peace with the father of her perfect daughter... all Cannie wants is for Joy to be safe and happy.
This sequel to Weiner's debut novel Good in Bed captures many of the elements that made the original a succes, without retracing old ground. The novel alternates between Cannie and Joy's perspectives, and Weiner has done a great job of capturing the angst of adolescence, the differences perspective makes (Cannie sees her younger sister as feckless and irresponsible, Joy sees her as fun and daring), and the tensions between mothers and daughters that don't go way just because the daughter's an adult too.
Strong, powerful, warm, complex and with a devastating ending, Certain Girls is a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Good in Bed but would also be rewarding for those new to Weiner's work. - Alex