The Smart One and…

The Smart One and the Pretty One

The Smart One and the Pretty One is now in stores!  See below for a full description of the plot.  It’s gotten great reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly (and–full disclosure–a really bad one from Kirkus but Kirkus and I have had a longstanding feud, so I’m not surprised).  Marie Claire called it a “witty romp” which is my favorite review so far.  I always wanted to write a witty romp!  Please check it out.  And if you read it and like it, PLEASE post a happy comment to Amazon!  And if you read it and don’t like it, let me know what you didn’t like about it and I’ll honestly take your criticism to heart and think about it while I’m writing my next book.  I always do.

There’s a Book Club Guide attached at the bottom–feel free to print it up and use it if you want to read the book as part of a club.  And if there’s a question you can’t settle, e-mail me and I’ll give you the author’s take on it . . .

QUICK NOTE TO READERS: As you’ll see from reading the comments below, a few copies of the book were messed up, with a couple of  chapters from another 5 Spot book bound in and replacing mine.  Yikes!  Most books are fine, but if you should happen to get a copy that has that problem, e-mail me and let me know where you bought it.  If you include your address, my publisher will mail you a free replacement copy.  Thanks!  (And sorry . . .)

And now the plot summary:

When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend’s son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once “engaged” to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava’s prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.
Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava’s constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she’s in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister’s childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters’ lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .

 

Reading Group Guide

If you’re reading this for a book club or just feel like getting together with some friends to talk about it, I’ve come up with a few questions to get your discussion started. If you find you have any thoughts or questions that would benefit from the author’s input, feel free to e-mail me at cslazebnik@aol.com.

1. Do you think that siblings tend to define themselves in opposition to each other? Is this more true for girls or boys? Do you feel that this happened in your own family? Were you the smart one or the pretty one?

2. Lauren’s problems with money set off the whole plot. Have you ever bought things you couldn’t afford? Do you think Lauren will learn to control her spending in the future? Or are some people doomed to be lifelong spendthrifts?

3. This book has several very different depictions of mothers and their relationship with their sons and daughters. Which mother would you say yours is most like? Do you think Russell would have been as devastated if his mother was dying as Daniel is?

4. Both women make good arguments about their beauty choices, Lauren that it’s fun and worth it to make yourself look good and Ava that it’s a waste of time and only encourages people to focus on your exterior and not see through to who you really are. Which one do you agree with more? Why? How much time do you spend making yourself look nice on an average morning?

5. Do you think Lauren is just a one-night stand to Daniel? Is she right that he won’t remember her name? Lauren expresses a fairly casual attitude to sex early in the book (“You can sleep with a guy you don’t know that well-it’s one of the best ways of getting to know him.”), but then she seems pretty upset when she finds out Daniel has a girlfriend. Why do you think that is?

6. Russell and Lauren would seem on the surface to be a much better match than Russell and Ava. But he and Lauren are never actually interested in each other. Why do you think that is? On her part? On his? Do you think there’s truth to opposites attracting more than similar types?

7. Have you ever felt like the “extra bag of bagels”?

8. Contracts play a large role in this book. Ava believes that writing a contract is meaningful, even if it’s not a legal one-or at least she does until her sister confronts her with the betrothal document. Have you ever written a contract to change your behavior, like to diet or save money or work harder? Did it work?

9. Late in the book, Ava eavesdrops on her parents talking alone and realizes that they have an entire relationship that’s separate from anything the girls share with them. Do you think that’s true of parents in general? A well-known writer was recently criticized for saying publicly that she loved her husband more than her kids. What do you think most women would say about that?

10. Ava worries that Russell is trying to make her over, that he wants to change her and that must mean he doesn’t love her the way she is. Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt your significant other was trying to change you in some way? Have you ever tried to change the person you were with? How do you feel if someone gives you a gift that is more for the way he/she thinks you SHOULD be than the way you ARE?

11. After the book ends, do you think Ava will care more than she did before about clothes and make-up? How do you see the gifting and dressing up aspect of her relationship with Russell progressing? Do you think their relationship will last?

12. Do you think brownies with ice cream and nuts provide all the essential nutrients and make a healthful dinner? 🙂

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109 responses to “The Smart One and…

  1. Hey Claire! Your book looks awesome! I would love to review it for my site. Email me if you’re interested!! =) Holly

  2. Linda Slafta

    I tried to read your book “the smart one and the pretty one”, but unfortunately pages 119 – 150 and 167 – 198 are not your book. They are “True to the Game III” by Teri Woods. This was my first look at one of your books. It’s a shame because the story seemed to be good, but with so many pages missing it’s hard to tell. Your publisher did you a real diservice here.

  3. Claire

    Huh. You’re the first person to mention this, Linda. Was this the paperback or electronic version? I’ve mentioned it to my editor. Thanks for writing.

  4. Samantha

    Pages 119-150 and 167-198 are missing from my copy as well, which is unfortunate considering it’s the one day I could just sit at work and read!

    It’s an otherwise good read. =)

  5. cb

    My paperback copy also had “true to the game III” instead of pages 119-150 etc… Otherwise it seems like a fun read.

  6. Nancy

    Loved the book I want to know if you are doing part 2

  7. Claire

    I’m so glad you like the book. A lot of people have wondered if it’s going to be continued–I guess the ending doesn’t feel as final as some endings do. But I’m working on something different now–don’t know if I’ll go back to Ava and Lauren one day or not. I am fond of them!

  8. Eileen

    I read your book and loved it! I especially liked the character of Lauren. I am a huge reader of fiction books and your book was among the top books I have enjoyed reading. I hopefully want to write a novel someday and any advice would be great. Looking forward to reading your next novel.

  9. Claire

    Thanks so much, Eileen! My best advice is stolen from someone (wish I could remember who, but my memory is gone) who said, “1. Finish a project. 2. Start a project.” When asked, “Shouldn’t starting come before finishing?” he replied, “Everyone can start something. The hard part is finishing it.” How true is that? I find that the biggest difference between writers and would-be writers is simply output: those of us who get published just keep plugging away through rejections and frustrations. Eventually, we have so much stuff SOMETHING breaks through!

  10. Claudia

    Hi,

    I picked up your book at Target this past week, and i am a few pages shy of finishing. At first i couldnt get into it but it won me over. Its cute and witty and reminds me so much of my sister and myself. I tell her she is the pretty one and im the smart one. Dont know if thats good or bad to either of us.

    I just want to know if you plan on maybe writing a part II. I really love the relationship between Ava and Russell.

    SO i give it 2 thumbs up… 🙂

  11. Claire

    Thanks so much, Claudia! I’m glad you stuck with it and ended up liking it. I’m going to write a blog soon inviting women to send in photos of themselves with their sisters for me to post on this site, so if you’re interested, let me know. I’m not planning on writing a part II but SO many people have asked that I feel like I should have gone on for another hundred pages. Oh, well.

  12. angela

    i enjoyed the quick wit and dry humor of this book. however, my copy also had missing pages 119-150, but i did have pgs 167-198. i was able to follow the story, but it’s unfortunate those pages were missing. my copy is a paperback copy bought and barnes and noble.

  13. Claire

    aack. I’m so sorry, Angela. I e-mailed you directly to see if you want us to send you a new copy.

  14. Jenna

    Please write a Part II. I loved this book and want to read more!!

  15. Anonymous

    Thanks, Jenna! I’m so glad you like it. I do have two other novels out if you need a quick fix, but at the moment I’m not (yet?) working on a Part II. I’m not ruling it out, but I’d need to think of something new to do with the characters to make it exciting for me.

  16. Claire

    Hey, guys, “anonymous” is me. I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe my computer was feeling a little shy and wanted to hide?

  17. Wow, cool! Thanks for stopping by. I always feel knighted when an actual real, live, published, making a living at it author stops by. Makes me feel like I will write out of my black hole and one day my book will breathe.

    I’ll put up a review of Smart One/Pretty One in honor in a few days. My sister and I are both reading it and so lovin’ it. Yes, she is lawyer in government contracts. I am the flighty author/Library/philosophy lovin’ Aquarius. We were both reading your book in tandem on the treadmill. Wry looks exchanged over raised eyebrows. Too funny!

    Cheers and keep writing! Shannon

  18. Claire

    You’d be surprised at how many authors troll for positive comments on the ‘Net-we’re an insecure bunch. (Well, I am, anyway–maybe I’m just assuming others do it, too. so I don’t look so pathetic). I’m so glad you and your sister like SOPO. I’m going to invite sisters to send in photos of themselves some time in the not-too-distant future, so if you feel like it, send in yours. Thanks for the comment!

  19. Ginger

    I just finished reading The Smart One & the Pretty One. I will be honest, it took me a few chapters to really get into it. I felt like the beginning was a bit slow and there were parts that left me wondering, “why did she put that in there?!” Anyway… overall I really enjoyed it! I kind of wish we could have seen what happened between Lauren and Daniel (if anything were to even happen??). I felt like that just ended out of nowhere. I’m also curious to know how Ava and Russell are doing!! haha

    Thank you for this great read 🙂 I am anxious to read more of your stuff. Oh and I am the youngest of 4 sisters! so if you do have a section about sisters.. I’ll be glad to share my pics.. both young & old! haha

    🙂 Ginger

  20. Samantha

    Claire –
    Thanks so much for getting a new copy out to me. I really enjoyed the story and it was really great of you to be so helpful. I look forward to reading more of your work! =)

  21. Claire

    Ginger–thanks for sticking with the book. Starting books is hard. Several times I’ve simply eliminated the first chapter of my original draft and that usually helps get things going. You’d be surprised at how little you need to lay the scene. Anyway, I’m glad you liked the book in the end. Please do send photos of you and your sisters! I have a couple of mine and another readers sent hers, so that’ll give me incentive to start a new page with photos. Any other readers have photos of themselves with sisters? (Or friends?) Send them on in!

  22. Claire-
    You are such a talented author. Knitting Under the Influence is one of my favorites, and I was so excited when I saw this book. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. I live the story, and I loved the characterization of everyone, especially Lauren. As “the pretty one”, I started the book expecting her to fall into the stereotypical role of shallow and super bitchy. And I was pleasantly surprised. While she was shallow, she also really loved her family. Anyways, I loved this and I can’t wait to read something else from you!

    Heather

  23. Claire

    Thanks so much, Heather! I’m thrilled you liked it. I think I always felt that the sisters were more similar than they were different. I wrote an article for SELF magazine a couple of years ago about how I have three sisters and how you’re always trying to define yourself as being “different’ from the others–but it’s only BECAUSE you’re really so similar. That’s sort of how I always saw Lauren and Ava–as very similar young women with relatively similar looks and intelligence, who were just trying to define themselves. If you felt like writing something similar for Amazon, I’d be very grateful but thanks for your kind words either way!

  24. Paige

    Hey Claire. I just got done reading this book. I couldn’t put it down. It was amazing. I loved the humor in the book and I also liked how the story was simple, but interesting. I definately agree with everyone else on there being a part two.

  25. Claire

    Thanks, Paige! You know, I’m actually seriously thinking about a sequel now. So many people have asked me about it, I’m wondering if maybe I should take all your advice!

  26. Natalie

    Hey, Claire! I picked up your book yesterday afternoon at Target and finished it last night, and I must say that i loved it. I’d also love for you to write a sequel. The one thing that I’m really, really dying to know is if Daniel ended up telling his girlfriend about Lauren or not.

  27. Ginger

    A sequel, huh?! Please do seriously consider it! I would LOVE to read more about these fabulous sisters.

  28. Claire

    Thanks, Natalie and Ginger! It’s nice to know readers are still thinking about the characters and wondering what their future holds. I’m turning ideas around in my head for revisiting them. Lauren’s the one with real possibility for change in her future, romantic and otherwise. Ava feels more settled to me.

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  30. Erin

    Claire-
    I adored your book. I just finished a series that was along the same lines as The Smart One…and it was exactly what I was looking for in all aspects. I am definitely going to pick up your other titles. It doesn’t look like I’m the only one requesting this, but PLEASE write a sequel!! So many questions left unanswered! I’m an only child, but I loved the relationship between Lauren and Ava and their parents. Please, I hope something out there sparks something for you after you finish working on your current work to come back to this.

  31. Claire

    Thanks so much for writing, Erin. I am SERIOUSLY thinking of doing a sequel now. I just have to convince my editor it’s a good idea–and it wouldn’t be out for a long time since I have to finish up a couple of other manuscripts first. But it’s on my mind–I was just thinking about it this morning. Thanks again for you lovely note which made my morning!

  32. Lorie

    I would love to read a sequel also. There are so many possbilities for Lauren (and to update us on Ava and Russell). What if Lauren saw Daniel in NY during Fashion Week while working for Russell? What if Lauren was pregant from her one night? What if Nancy’s cancer returns? What if I now sound like Carrie Bradshaw with the questions? I really just wanted to let you know I enjoy your books and they are a great escape while sitting in my many carpool lines.

  33. Claire

    I’m glad the characters inspire you to keep thinking about them. I’m with you–anything that makes the time pass while waiting in carpool is a good thing. (I always throw a magazine in the car, but a book definitely takes you “away” more completely.) I’m so glad you enjoy them. Thanks so much for writing.

  34. Amy

    I am one of the unfortunate ones with the missing pages 119-150. Loving the story but wish to see the story as you intended. Thanks.

  35. Amy

    Are pages 119 to 150 posted anywhere to read?

  36. Anonymous

    i’ve read same as it never was, but nothing else by you. after reading these comments about the smart one and the pretty one, i have to read every other book. by the way i think i’m like the only one who posted anything on same as it never was which i thought was strange seeing how i loved it so much.

  37. Claire

    Oh, thanks for posting about both. Not many people read SAME AS IT NEVER WAS, sadly. It was a hardcover that never took off and then when it came out in paperback, people never really “found” it. I’ve been much luckier with distribution and awareness with 5 Spot, which published my last two books (and will publish two more of mine, at least!).

  38. Manisha

    I really loved this book! I never had a sister so I loved reading a book about them! I also admire Ava and Lauren’s relationship with their mother. I hope that there will be a sequel. I am so curious to know what Lauren is going to do next and if she will meet someone new and I really want to know if Russell and Ava are ever going to get married. You are a really talented writer. This is the first book I’ve read that’s written by you and I know I’m going to read more!

  39. Claire

    Thanks so much for writing, Manisha. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book. Let me know if you read the others. I hope you like them. xoclaire

  40. Marisol

    LOVED your book….Read it in a day and a half!!

  41. Cyn

    I loved the book, just finish reading it. But i would had like to know more about their life like, what happen with Ava and Lauren mom wit her cancer, Ava and Rusell relationship (if their marriage contract happen), and Lauren relationship with Daniel or if she meets someone else. I feel Both sister life are intresting and i enjoyed the sex part and how they helped each other. I like the book humor and how it wasn’t too dramatic. so i hope you do write a part II.

  42. Claire

    Thanks, Cyn. I’m still turning the idea over in my head. I like the idea of a sequel too.

  43. Emily

    Please finish Lauren and Daniel’s story! I Just finished the smart one and the pretty one and immediately got on the internet to see if there was a second book. Really enjoyed it, hope to read more of your books soon.

  44. Claire

    Thanks, Emily! I’m really considering it–will have to make a decision soon, so input helps. I hope you like my other books. Thanks for writing.

  45. jennifer

    I so enjoyed your book and I too would love to read the sequel. It just feels like there is so much more to happen with the sisters. I look forward to reading more on these characters. I think their is so much more to happen with Ava and Russell, they have only just started. I LOVE YOUR BOOK and I execited to read more. Thanks

  46. I enjoyed reading this novel and just posted a piece about it today at Necromancy Never Pays, asking one of your book club guide questions at the end of it.

  47. Claire

    Thanks so much! Love the name of your blog. I’m going to go check it out.

  48. Jasmine

    Hands down one of my favorite books every. I loved how Ava finally changed and let her guard down. It was inspirational. But i just wanted to thank you for the million laughs and another unbelievably great book.

  49. Claire

    Aw, thanks, Jasmine! That made me feel great. I should be deciding in the next month or so whether to go the sequel route. I’m really fond of those Nickerson girls!

  50. Hi! I love this book! So far, the story is great! I just finished Chapter 10. While I don’t have any sisters of my own, I do have a female cousin I’m close with who’s only two months older than me. At times, I’ve definitely seen myself as Ava, and my cousin as Lauren. Although, I do love to shop, and my cousin is very smart. I was just curious as to what reading level or age group this was meant for, if any. Thanks!

  51. Claire

    Thanks, Nicole. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. It’s written for adults, but I think high school kids would be fine with it. Maybe even some middle school age kids. How old are you?

  52. Hi, Claire! I’m an 18 year old college fresmen. I was just curious because I seem to be breezing through this easier than the books I typically read, which tend to be mysteries. Thanks! I’m also hoping for a sequel… =)

  53. Claire

    My goal is to keep my writing as simple and unadorned at possible. I think stories, ideas and characters should/can be complicated, but the writing should be clean and accessible. Not everyone agrees with me–and not everyone should. Obviously there are gorgeously lush writers but I never set out to be one of those. I want to keep people interested in the story and unaware of the writing–no tricks, no convoluted sentences. Good writing is like good acting to me: you should be so drawn into the story that you’re not really thinking about how it’s being done.

  54. You bring up a great point! Thanks!

  55. Julie

    Hi Claire,

    I know that you have heard this over and over, but I absolutely love this book! Whenever I am in between books, I always pick this one up and read it again. I am in total agreement with everyone that you must do a sequel! I completely see my own personality traits in Ava, which I know you have heard before from other readers. So, please, please make a sequel. If you do, I promise that I will name my first born after you…if that ever happens 🙂

  56. Claire

    I’m working on an outline for the sequel right now. Doesn’t mean it’s definite, but it’s another step in that direction. And if it happens, you can choose from Claire, Ava or Lauren for your first born! 🙂 Thanks so much for your note. Brought a big smile to my face.

  57. Amanda

    Hi, just read the book and it was fab!! I onlly have a brother so it is nice to read about sisters (I used to wish I could swap my brother for a sister when I was younger). It makes such a change to read a book where you are unsure what is going to happen at the end. I hope you do write the sequel, it would be like visiting friends you haven’t seen for a while ;o)

  58. Claire

    Thanks, Amanda! Your note made me realize I haven’t written about the brother/sister relationship yet (or at least one where there’s no special needs involved). I’ll have to do that someday. I have three sisters but only one brother. I’m very close to my brother, though. I am working on figuring out the sequel to SOPO–I think I probably will do it–but maybe the book after that will have a brother storyline! I’m so glad you liked this one.

  59. Katherine

    Hey Claire! I just wanted to say I LOVED the book! I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and have not enjoyed a first read so much in quite some time. A sequel is a fabulous idea and when you decide its absolute I hope you’ll post it, as so many of us are in favor of it.

  60. Claire

    Thanks so much, Katherine! Working on an outline for the sequel right now . . .

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  62. I just finished it!!! But, I’m sad- it ended too soon! I loved Ava’s last thought, but I really think the book could have been longer. I want to know what happens with Lauren and Daniel, especially when the inevitable tragedy hits him, and with Ava and Russell, I feel like there’s got to be more there, too. And does Lauren get another job? I was thinking you may have Russell hook her up with something in his company because she has experience as a buyer, but you tricked me and she was still unemployed at the end. I really hope that you aren’t teasing us with that sequel outline…

    My favorite character was Nancy, BTW. What a cool mom. She was so sarcastic and witty- so unlike any moms I know. SO unlike my own mother, who I love, but who annoys the hell out of me most of the time.

    My favorite part of the whole book, you’re going to think I’m weird, but Lauren offers to take Ava out to a bar or club and Ava says she doesn’t meet guys in bars, and Lauren says why not, and Ava answers “…because I don’t look like you.” It was perfect. I know exactly how she feels, I think I’ve said similar things to my co-workers when they’ve asked me to go out clubbing with them. It just really hit home and made me feel so invested in the character, and at only 23 pages in!

    There were times I really wanted to hate Lauren, but I couldn’t because she was so damn likable! She has a good heart.

  63. Leah

    Loved loved loved the book! I read it in 2 days! I agree with the above comments though. I would have loved to know more about Lauren and Daniel, Lauren’s job, Nancy’s illness, and the development of Russell and Ava’s relationship. I will be first in line to get the sequel, should you change your mind!!

  64. Claire

    I just noticed that new comments on now running on the leftside of the page. How confusing. I wonder where this will end up? Thanks to the last two readers for their lovely comments! I’m working on the sequel! It’s hard to find the voices again in some ways, and I’m picking up a few years later, so I hope it still feels “right” to everyone.

  65. Julie

    Dear Claire,
    Thank you so much for answering my email (I’m the person who claimed that she would name her first born after one of the characters if you wrote a sequel) . I literally squealed to see your response and called my literary friends to let them know. So, thank you for making my day. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions for further reading. I’m reading The Manny but it’s not really sparking my interest. If you have any suggestions, that would be great! Hope all is well, and the offer for the name still stands.

  66. Claire

    Julie–have you read Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire yet? They’re technically YA but SO good. I couldn’t put either down. Thanks again for writing! xoc

  67. Jennifer

    I’ve never commented on a book before to an author, but found your website and couldn’t resist. I truly enjoyed this book and as I’ve seen written from other fans, would love to see a sequel! It’s funny because after reading it, I started thinking of what I thought should happen if the story had continued or if there were a sequel already written. I would love to see if my ideas were similar to what you would write – hopefully I won’t have to wait too long! Congratulations on your success! 🙂

  68. Claire

    Thanks so much for writing, Jennifer! I’m so glad you like the book. I’m wavering a bit on the sequel thing. I started it but now my thoughts are shifting to something newer. I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes. I’m so glad you wrote and that you enjoyed the book.

  69. christy

    hey i read your book ( which i loved) for a independ reading unit in my english class and i need to find 2 published book reviews with arguments of why i should recommend your book and im having a little bit of trouble finding legit book reviews well if u could comment back to me A.S.A.P that would be great!

  70. Claire

    Try this, Christy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0446582069/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

    Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly are all “legit”

  71. Veronika

    Hi Claire! I’m so glad to see that you are working on a sequel to this book! It was a great story with great characters and so much dept that it really made me want to know more about them.

    I don’t have sisters but I love to read about the various relationships and dynamics that are unique to sisters. I can’t wait to see what is in store for these characters! Thank you for creating them and allowing us to bring them into our homes.

    Warm Regards,
    Veronika

  72. Claire

    Thanks so much, Veronika! I’m glad you liked the book. I’ve recently started another novel that’s not about these sisters but explores some of the same themes. We’ll see where it leads. And I have one coming out this fall that features two half-sisters who didn’t grow up together but are close as adults. I’ll be writing more about that soon.

  73. Julie

    Dear Claire – thank you so much for suggesting The Hunger Game series. I finally got my hands on a set of the books and couldn’t put them down! I cannot wait for the third book! By the way, without giving too much away-what side are you on? Peeta or Gale for Katniss?

  74. Claire

    I’m so glad I got someone else hooked on those books! We found out that a friend has a distant connection to Suzanne Collins and last night we were jokingly begging him to get back in touch with her and get an advanced reader’s copy of the third one. I can’t wait either.

    Peeta ten thousand times over. But I’ll always pick the sweet guy over the action hero. You?

  75. Julie

    Peeta all the way. I, too, got a good number of friends on to the book, including my male student teacher. He actually Facebooked (yes, I made it into a verb) the other day to let me know he couldn’t put it down. I love the power and pull of good books (present company definitely included)!

  76. Claire

    So is there anyone at all out there who prefers Gale? I’d love to hear from her/him. Or is Peeta just the obvious choice?

  77. Julie

    I have a feeling that Gale will be a more developed character in the last book, leaving the readers torn between the two. The first two really developed the connection between Kat and Peeta because of the games. I think your friend should play the cousin card, have a family reunion, and get an advanced copy.

  78. Claire

    I wonder how many people are suddenly Suzanne Collins’ best friend! I’m worried Gale might die (a hero) leaving Katniss free to be with Peeta.

  79. Julie

    Oh, I have a theory about that! I think Gale is going to be paired with Kat’s friend whose father is in the “government” (her name slips my mind). There was something about her in the second book after Gale’s “accident” and Kat became jealous. It’s only a theory. Oh, good luck with your YA novel!

  80. Claire

    Oh, I bet you’re right. I had forgotten about that girl. She does seem set up to play a bigger role

  81. Ginger

    Hi Claire! I have commented in here before & so I get all the responses sent to my email.. couldn’t help but see all the talk about Hunger Games!! I recently read these books & can NOT wait til the 3rd book comes out!!

    I believe you’re talking about Madge.. the mayor’s daughter from District 12. That’s a really good theory!!! I am on the fence as to who I am rooting for.. Peeta or Gale. I really don’t know!! I think the 3rd book will definitely give us more on the whole Gale/Katniss relationship.. which I am curious to read more about. I do love Peeta though!!

  82. Claire

    I still say we can’t all love Peeta this much and not have Katniss end up with him! But I could be wrong . . .

  83. Ginger

    Even though I love Peeta.. I think Katniss should be with Gale. It just seems right to me.

  84. Claire

    That’s so interesting! I wish I could get a sneak peek at that book! I have to find out who publishes it. Maybe I could coax an advance copy out of someone . . . I’m already working on our local bookstore to stay open until midnight the night before it comes out.

  85. Ginger

    Yes! get an advanced copy & then give it away to one of your fans 🙂 (after you’ve read it of course!) hehe.

    I think I feel like Katniss should end up with Gale because they have so much history together. It’s hard to resist the boy who has always been a permanent fixture in your life, even though Peeta has always been there too.. only watching from the outside & never making his debut until the Games.

  86. Carly

    I bought a copy of your book to take on my honeymoon and was enjoying reading it until chapter 8, when I discovered that large sections of had been replaced “True to the Game III” by Teri Woods. I have never seen this happen before but once I googled your site, it looks like I’m not the only one who’s had this problem. I purchased the book online from Barnes & Noble. Hopefully they’ll be willing to exchange mine for a proper copy.

  87. Claire

    Will contact you directly, Carly . . .

  88. Pingback: Canada Day/100 Followers Giveaway! | With a Good Book

  89. Amita

    Uhm I just bought your book recently-I hope it is not too late- and it is so fantastic!And I enjoyed reading it until chapter 8 (p118) because when I looked at P119, I was so shocked that it became True to the game III by Teri woods. I tried to continue reading it at P151 but I was so clueless with what happened. I bought the book from out of town so I was not able to exchange it with a better copy( and i doubt it if they have). So I hope you don’t mind sending me the proper copy. I am really curious of what happened from P119-150. It would be fine if you just send me an electronic copy from 119-150 because some pages in my book are fine. So please send me a copy. Thanks!
    P.S.: You are a very outstanding and awesome author!

  90. This might be next up on my reading list!

  91. I’m liking the plot, I think this should be the next book I read!! Also, check out my book blog, bookslistpelie.blogspot.com !

  92. Claire

    Thanks! Your blog looks great–I just looked at it. Don’t forget I have a YA novel coming out this summer, early August. (EPIC FAIL, from HarperTeen)!

  93. Gabby

    Great one Claire! I really loved this book. Can’t wait for your next one 

  94. hey Claire, I have just finished this book and I really love it, felt like I could relate to it… 🙂
    like the others, I am so looking forward for the sequel, I wanted to know what will happen to Daniel and Lauren, hopefully there’s something between them. I could feel that the connection between the two of them are something else, not just a fling.
    cheers!

  95. Claire

    Of all my novels, this is the only one that I’ve ever actually started to write a sequel to. I put it aside for a while but I may pick it up again one day . . . I’m so glad you liked it!

  96. Alicia

    Hey Claire! I just finished EPIC FAIL and now am begging my mom to order The Smart One and the Pretty One. Since, I wondered what she was doing on the computer she said I’m ordering a book for Joshua (Brother.) so, I said do you mind if I order one book and she said yes. So, I got this book and she ordered it. I feel so happy now! 😀

  97. Claire

    Oh, good! I hope you like it. It’s not a YA book, just to warn you!

  98. Melissa

    Hi claire!
    I just finished reading the smart one and the preety one and i would like to know whether you will be publishing a second book. My favourite characters are Ava and Russell. They are so romantic together and i really hope you could continue the story of them. I have read all your books and am really fond of them. I have a record of my favourite authors and books and your books are one of my favourites. In other words, they are really awesome! Please email me any updates on your books. Like whether you will continue the story of the smart one and the pretty one. I really hope you will. Sorry if i am being persistent but i just can’t wait! 🙂 Well, good luck on your books, i wish you all the best!!

  99. Melissa

    Hi claire!
    Me again! I was wondering if you sold your Epic Fail book worldwide or just around America? I am a Singaporean and i want to read Epic Fail badly. I fell in love with it just after i read the review. I tried to find it in all the bookstores here but to no avail. I even tried online but couldn’t find it. I was wondering if you could maybe check out whether the book is in sold here, in Singapore. If you found it, please, please email me. I can’t wait to read it 🙂

    Melissa (Mel)

  100. Claire

    Hi, Mel! Sorry–I don’t know anything about Singapore rights but if I hear anything, I’ll let you know. I’m so glad you liked SOPO (as I like to call it). I actually started a sequel at one point–may go back to it someday. Thanks for writing in!

  101. seo

    Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Kudos

  102. Claire

    downloaded it from wordpress–but the photo’s my own at the header

  103. Pingback: Authors that deserve some lovin’! (1) Claire LaZebnik

  104. Jen

    Hi Claire,
    I just finish reading The Smart one and the Pretty One and I fell in love with it. It was so easy to connect with the characters. I was just wondering if you are going to write a sequel. If you are, I am looking forward to reading it.

  105. Claire

    Hi, Jen! I actually started a sequel, but then decided I felt like working on something else instead. I haven’t given up the idea completely, but I haven’t been inspired to dive back in again. I’ll let you know if I do!

  106. Ria

    Oh no! Given my high expectations (I love your reviews) I expected so much more! But I agree, starting off is really hard. Looking forward to reading your more recent works! Keep writing 😉

  107. Hi Claire! How are you? I hope your family and you are great 🙂 I am officially now one of your book fans. I have just finished read the smart one and the pretty one last two weeks and immediately falling in love with the storyline. Will there be any sequel to Ava and Lauren NIckerson? I wish Ava get married to Russell and Lauren will find a great partner. I somehow feel related to Ava as I never dated before. any tips on how to write proper English sentences and good storyline structure? I hope I can be a good writer like you one fine day. Hihi. Oh well, if there is any sequel, I can’t wait for Part II of the novel. Much love, tyra from Malaysia.

  108. Claire

    Thanks for your note, Tyra! I’m so glad you liked the book. No plans to go back to those characters, I’m afraid. The best tip I can give you for writing well is to READ READ READ–good authors are the best teachers! xoxoxo

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