A juicy, fun yet piercing debut novel, Smile and Look Pretty tells the story of four assistants working in media who band together to take on their toxic office environments in the ultimate comeuppance—pitched as Sweetbitter meets Whisper Network.
Online they’re The Aggressive One, The Bossy One, The Bitchy One, and The Emotional One. In real life, best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max all have one thing in common—they’re overworked, overtired, and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful men in the media and entertainment industries. When they secretly start an anonymous blog detailing their experiences, their posts go viral and hundreds of other women come forward with stories of their own. Confronted with the risks of newfound fame and the possibility of their identities being revealed, they have to contend with what happens when you try and change the world.
Gripping, razor-sharp, and scathingly funny, Smile and Look Pretty is a fast-paced millennial rallying cry about the consequences of whistleblowing for an entire generation, and a testament to the strength of female friendship and what can be accomplished when women come together.
There are a lot of titles that have come out as of late concerning a lot of recent and current events and this is definitely one of the stand outs on the fictional front for me. Tackling the #metoo movement and showing the lives and work experiences of the four leads – Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max – was really well done for the most part. There were perhaps some moments of immaturity on their parts, but it gave some authenticity to their personalities in some ways. The book itself was well written and the last section of the book was definitely the best part. I enjoyed the author tackling such a current and relevant topic and writing a great story out of it.
Amanda Pellegrino is a TV screenwriter and novelist living in New York City whose writing has appeared in Refinery29 and Bustle. Smile and Look Pretty is her debut novel.