Contrary to popular belief, ‘chick lit’ is not just silly, giggly prose. The genre has come a long way, with rich, compelling stories that explore the complexities of life from a diverse set of female authors. Modern chick lit titles are all about empowerment - real, hard-hitting stories about friendships that get us through the toughest times, self-discovery and more.
Here’s our laundry list of delightful, uplifting fiction that will make you both laugh and cry, in order to make sailing through yet another lockdown slightly easier -
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Set in a quaint beach town, Beach Read is a story of how two struggling writers spend the summer writing and falling in love. But this isn’t your ordinary summer romance, the characters have some serious baggage to deal with. After a bit of passive-aggressive banter, the protagonist and her writer-neighbour strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts. Through the experiment, they find ways to cope with their grief, trauma and loss. Henry weaves in crucial conversations about mental health adding multiple intriguing layers to the plot.
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
The Caseys are a glamorous bunch. Three brothers with beautiful and talented wives and kids who spend anniversaries, birthdays, and weekends away together. All’s well for the picture perfect family until Cara gets a concussion, and in her dazed state, she begins pouring secrets, left, right and centre. Keyes takes us beyond the happy facade of the family and through the struggles of each character at various family gatherings with her immaculate character-driven storytelling.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Coming from the author of Eat, Pray, Love, City of Girls is a vivid celebration of womanhood set in 1940s Manhattan. After being kicked out of her Ivy League school, Vivian is exiled to New York City by her parents, but the banishment is no punishment. The story explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity and is jam-packed with unconventional characters, gorgeous clothing, and iconic one-liners.
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
If you’re someone who’s spent their lockdown discovering the joy of baking bread- this one’s for you. Reena Manji is a single Muslim woman in her 30s who has found solace in bread making. The plot includes faking an engagement so the two characters can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams. Heron perfectly balances preserving the traditional South Asian family dynamic while still being realistic with the protagonist’s character.
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto
Equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration mother-daughter relationships - Dial A For Aunties makes a thoroughly entertaining read. The book takes a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, while the plot reveals how Meddelin Chan accidentally kills her blind date - and her army comprising her mom and meddling aunties helps her get rid of the body.