Book Review: Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison – 3

Allison Denty and Olivia Pelham were the best of friends. Respectably, they both had their roles in the friendship. Allison was the outspoken blonde with a model-esque body whose euphoria consisted of obtaining all the newest beauty products (on a teenager’s budget, of course). Her favorite guinea pig was her best friend Olivia. Olivia was the book smarts of the duo. Mousy, introverted, no interests in boys, and unaware of her beauty (until Allison intervened). 
20 years later, both girls have changed. Allison is a temp, going from job to job, unhappy with her life, and wondering where the time went. She goes from loser to loser in relationships, still has a love for all beauty products, and finds herself dropping a lot of money on “miracle workers” when another relationship goes awry. 
Olivia is living in New York and is the Senior Beauty Editor of a fashion magazine. A job that woman would kill to have. Olivia is happy with her job but she is not happy with the road taken. Always wanting to learn more, Olivia had dreams of exploring the world and documenting every encounter. Besides her glamorous position, Olivia is still the same teenage girl but less trusting and more cynical of people.
With some convincing from their mutual friend Noah Haller, both girls are attending their (20th) high school reunion. We discover that it has been over 20 years since Allison and Olivia have spoken to each other due to a horrible situation that occurred during Senior year and questioned the loyalty of one the girls.
Personally, I struggled to get through this book. I had to put this book down and read other ones. I was disappointed because I love Beth Harbison’s other books, Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Secrets of a Shoe Addict (Word on the street Internet is Shoe Addicts Anonymous is being made into a movie and Halle Berry has already signed on to play the leading role!). 
One of the things I didn’t like was how the chapters went back and forth from present time to a specific grade level in their past. This would have been fine but I felt that a lot of the flashbacks were pointless and didn’t give much information.  The story would have still flowed if a few chapters included subtle mentions of their past. Also, the flashbacks started while the girls were back in middle school and knowing the major event that forever changed their relationship happened during Senior year didn’t leave me wanting to know what happened while they were pre-teens. 
One thing I did like is that each chapter started with a slogan from a beauty campaign (“Maybe she’s born with it…..”).
All in all, the book is what you would expect from a  “chick lit.” The major event becomes predictable; as well as the way it’s resolved. I’m not a fan of books that draw out a situation the whole book and take the last chapter or two to make everything cookie cutter perfect.
Harbison has another book out called, “Thin, Rich, Pretty.” Like I said, I enjoyed her other books (she is 2-1 with me right now) so I’m hoping I enjoy the next one a bit more. 
For now, I am laying off the Chick Lit and will be reading some other genres.
Have you read this book? Thoughts? Comments? Are you a fan of Chick Lit? If you have any suggestions on books that you feel are “must reads,” please let me know. I would love to check them out!



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