Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster

New York Times bestseller Jen Lancaster has been on my radar for ages, having made a critically-acclaimed transition from writing hilarious memoirs (Bright Lights, Big Ass; Bitter is the New Black; Such a Pretty Fat) to writing hilarious novels (If You Were Here; Here I Go Again.) Yet, surprisingly, her newest novel, released on Tuesday, is the first I've read!

I am so glad, though, that TWISTED SISTERS (Berkley Hardcover; February 2014) has finally introduced me to the self-proclaimed governor of "Jennsylvania." This novel is quick-witted and sarcastic, yet ultimately full of whimsy and heart--and I can see now why Lancaster has such a loyal following. 


TWISTER SISTERS stars Reagan, an over-achieving, over-exercising, over-critical middle sister from a working class Chicagoan family. Reagan believes she has risen far above her upbringing, having landed a job as a television psychologist on a successful cable makeover show. And she can't help but constantly criticize her two sisters' less-than-glamorous lives and wider waistlines. 

However, when Reagan's television program is bought by a big network, and she's forced to up the ante at work or face being fired, the judgmental sister begins her slow, painful decent from her high horse. Forced to resort to the highly unethical and supernatural art of body-swapping (yes, body-swapping) to save her job, she begins to see that she is really the unhealthy and unhappy one. But it may just be too late for her to save her reputation, her job, and, most importantly, her relationship with her sisters.


As I began this book, I had a bit of a struggle looking past Reagan's bad attitude. Bluntly, she is a bitch and she constantly, cruelly insults her sisters' appearances and their lives. I wondered "will I care enough about this protagonist to keep on reading?" Yet, impressively, Lancaster has written Reagan in such a way that while. you hate her, you DO want to keep reading--if only to see if there is any hope of her being redeemed. I actually cared about seeing her learn the error of her ways. And, when she of course does, its in a really great way.

Bitchiness and harsh body-weight jokes excluded, there are lots of laugh-out-loud moments in this book. Lancaster is known for this, and for tying her hilarious comments in with current events and celebrities, and it made for a really fun read. I especially loved the characters that were based on celebrities, including Reagan's first boss who is Oprah-esque and her TV patient who is a dead-ringer for Amanda Bynes (poor, crazy girl.) 

Now, the body-swapping plot might seem like its kind of out of left field, but not much time is spent on it, really, and Lancaster makes it work. Plus, she ties the book up in such a warm and fuzzy, yet unexpected and non-cheesey way, that all the pieces fit perfectly. I finished this book with a smile on my face, and that's a win in my book. 

You can check out more from Jen, including her book tour dates, at her website, Happy reading! 

I was provided a copy of this novel from Berkley Books. All opinions in this review are my own.