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Semi-Charmed Life

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In Nora Zelevansky’s hilarious debut, Semi-Charmed Life, an Upper West Side naïf, Beatrice Bernstein, gets swept up in the seemingly magical life of socialite Veruca Pfeffernoose, while ghost writing her blog. Veruca’s glitteringly opulent world soon seduces Beatrice away from her own insular, arty family with a promise of fancy parties, travel outside Manhattan (for once) ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Average rating 3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Happy fourth you wonderful people! What better way than to bring in the day with a little New York socialite fun, right? Semi-Charmed Life was such a fun read! Though it took a bit of time to get properly started for me, I loved being thrown into the New York posh life while still being an outsider. I will always be a hardcore West coast/California lover, but after hearing so much about New York life it's like you're walking the streets with Beatrice as she tries to figure out life.

I was actuall
Jul 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, arc
What started out as adventurous and New York chic, this quickly turned into a bizarre magical contemporary. When you include an overwhelming quantity of references that went way over my head, Semi-Charmed Life ended up being an exceptionally tedious and confusing read.

I absolutely adore New York City. I visited a year ago and I was dazzled by the lifestyle and how it seems to be in its own world. Since, I've come to love books set in the Big Apple. I can revive the energy I felt walking the str
Stephanie Cowart
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
I absolutely loved this book! I didn't want to put it down. It was just so fun and hilarious!
Beatrice is so excited to start her senior year of college and live in off campus housing. She has a great family - an older sister and very loving parents - but they can be a bit smothering at times. They've never been anywhere outside of New York (even though they are internationally recognized art dealers) and Beatrice is ready for some i
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are some things I just do not understand about people. For instance, why are there Kardashians? Why do we allow them to exist outside of their home? Why do we allow those Jersey Shore cretins to make more money than an entire platoon of troops? Why do people watch crap like that on television?

It isn't that Nora Zelevansky answers those questions in Semi-Charmed Life, but she does get to the essence of why we so willingly follow these idiots off cliffs: fame, fortune and free swag.

College s
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was fun, quirky and placed you into the misunderstood and mysterious world of an NYC socialite. It was smartly written and clever in its revelation of the cult of celebrity. A must read! Bravo to Zelevansky as her debut novel. Looking forward to what the author writes next...
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very impressive first novel. I very much enjoyed her quick-witted writing style and the magical elements of the story. Looking forward to the next one!
Suzanne Palmieri
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A delightful, magical romp. Those who loved Eloise as a child will fall in love with this story. Head over heels in love!
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I won this book through the first-reads program.

Semi-Charmed Life is Nora Zelevansky's authorial debut, and also a novel that she wrote during NaNoWriMo if I'm not mistaken. The book is a well-done satire on how obsessed we are as a culture with the concepts and trappings on fame, and how hollow a pursuit it truly can be. Wrapped up in all of this commentary is a dash of magical realism, well placed humor, and an air of mystery. That's quite a lot for a first novel to contain.

Personally, I found
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
You know that scene in The Sweetest Thing when their apartment is full of all of their neighbors, firemen, cops, and they all break into song? That's what Semi-Charmed Life reminded me of. Not that anything like that happens. It just had that same kind of random humor. It also felt like a State Farm insurance commercial, since things just appear out of nowhere! Needless to say, this book was super weird. And it works!

Semi-Charmed Life starts with Beatrice finally getting her own place. Unfortuna
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great fun. Quick read. Couldn't put the book down. Loved the way the author was able to create a satirical tone without being sardonic. It was light and fun and adorable. A great read for any age. Can't wait to read Zelevansky's next one!
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This fun summer read is best compared to a more intelligent, art world Gossip Girl with a dash of magical realism.
Emily Easter
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Supremely entertaining and imaginative... I loved it! You can't help but get wrapped up in Beatrice's world, and it's a place I didn't want to leave. Highly recommend!
Khelsey Jackson
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Beatrice Bernstein is sick of her sheltered life and wants a change. She wants to make her own choices like an adult. Her senior year of college because she would be living in off campus housing with her best friend Dolly. Her new places turned out to be below her expectations, she is forced to take Veruca Pfeffernoose's offer. She would be ghost writing for the socialite's blog and in exchange she would be living in Veruca's extravagant loft. Writing Veruca's blog also means Beatrice has to fol ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I hadn't imagined I would love this book as much as I did--I feared it would be one of those oh-another-spoiled New York chick (ala HBO's Girls which, um, I know means I'm not hip, but really, why should I care?). But Zelevansky's Beatrice is in all of us, and watching her face down the lure of the sheen inspires.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Couldn't decide if I loved this or hated it -- especially the parts that seemed a little too magical and weird. But by the end, I really liked it and thought Beatrice was a fun character and her experiences were "just beyond" as she would say to Veruca!
Rhonda  Talbot
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoying this, highly recommend!
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book made me happy. It's a quick, fun, light read with funny, interesting characters. Perfect for summer.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Adults Looking for Somethnig Light
Recommended to Thalia by: Krysten Powell
Shelves: i-own, contemporary
Read the review on my blog:
Betsy Whitehead
While reading this book, I would have given it a solid 4 Stars. However, the main thing that distracted me from the story - the nonspecific hint of "magic?" - was also what drove the ending and, ultimately, brought the book down to 3-3.5 Stars. The story was engaging and enjoyable, but, in the end, it felt as if the author didn't know how to end it. She had wrapped up 95% of the story and that must have been good enough. I was left with several unanswered questions and felt that even some that w ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I was sent an email from the publishers to see if I wanted to review this book which sounded like something that I haven't tried before and it sounded good so I thought I would give it a try. I am glad I did as it was a likable book just not a great book.

This cover I love and to be honest it would have sold me the book if I actually had seen it before I started reading it. I love that it looks like the cover has been drawn which is fitting to the actual story as there is a lot of art influence
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-e-arc
My Thoughts: First, Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for letting me review an early e-arc of Nora Zelevansky's debut novel. Second, I just want to point out the gorgeous cover. I love the water color effect of it. If for nothing else, get the book just for the cover.
This book grew on me while reading. It was a little hard to get into, but the middle part really hooked me in and I became engaged in the story.
I really liked the character of Beatrice. She really illustrated that feeling o
Beatrice Bernstein has a problem. Housing has goofed up and placed her in the basement of her University’s off-campus housing apartment complex. Luckily for her, hest best friend Dolly pulls her into the fabulous apartment of socialite celebrity Veruca Pfeffernoose. In an attempt to escape killer cockroaches and an overbearing intellectual family, Beatrice accepts an offer to ghost write Veruca’s blog. In order to do so, Beatrice must live in Veruca’s shoes and become a member of her inner circ ...more
Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books
Beatrice Bernstein, of the art world Bernsteins, is faced with a difficult decision: spend her senior year living in a roach and mold infested basement apartment or ghost-write a blog for the chic and mysterious socialite, Veruca Pfeffernoose. Balancing her ethics against sleepless nights fully clothed to avoid any contact with anything in her closet-apartment and Beatrice’s ethics beat a hasty retreat. She cheerfully embraces Veruca’s world where whatever is desired will appear and at a moment’ ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Initially, I thought it was a cute read, almost like "Clueless" meets the "Devil Wears Prada" but on a more juvenile level.

The protagonist, Beatrice, was a poor little rich girl who felt she was overshadowed by the fame of her family members. And like most sheltered individuals, she would like to "experience the world" and "find herself" rather than being a "Bernstein." Fair enough.

Her trials and tribulations were unrealistically amusing, but then three quarters way through the novel, things t
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as part of a Goodreads First reads giveaway in exchange for my honest review.

Beatrice is the main character and like most college age kids, she has no idea where she is going with her life and feels like she isn't as cool or important as her sister. She meets a celebrity and immediately becomes one of her entourage via being the blog writer of said person. She is whisked into this other world where it shows money can get you what you want when you want it. But alas, it all c
Tim Jones
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
If you're looking for a new DEVIL WEARS PRADA, this is for you. I pits you into situations that Bea and the reader long to have: the glamorous life of designer clothing, the cream of the crop phone book contacts, and the notion that anything and everything is completely possible. The one thing I enjoyed the most about the book was a sense of mystery and paranormal activities that surrounded our heroine, though when things were revealed, I felt Zelevansky could have kept that unique tension going ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Young Beatrice was discouraged with her life. Although she was entering her Senior year of college, she felt unsettled and not certain what her true career would be. After suffering a bout of the flu, she arrived at her new university apartment only to experience a nightmare from the 'twilight zone'. This opens a 'universe' of bizarre situations and an opportunity or a new and enticing career move. This could lead to exciting adventures and fulfill dreams she didn't realize she had.
This is a sto
Oct 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sarah
Sarah's review of Semi-Charmed Life by Nora Zelevansky

Judged by the Cover: THIS IS NEW!!!
Time of Day: Sure, Why Not?
Head Over Heels: Possibly, Kinda
Bonus Features: Makeup, Travel
Anti-Bonus Features: WTH MomentFinal Flavor: Shirley Temple
This book was an ARC given to us by the lovely people at St. Martin's Griffen. It was released July 3, 2012.

Judged by the Cover: THIS IS NEW!!!
This is one of those wonderfully rare occasions where I can confidently say that this cover is in no way even close t
Alice Zhang
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Zelevansky has a dorky, funny charm to her writing that makes the book relatable, even as you're reading about Beatrice's high class escapades. Most of it sounds wonderful but gaudy, but there is a complex layer to her plot that makes the book suspenseful and an easy read. Above all, I'm glad for the book's down-to-earth tone that resulted with "Beany Baby's" return to her roots, so to speak, and spoke to the immense power of family, love, and finding yourself. I wasn't all for the hint of super ...more
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NORA ZELEVANSKY is the author of Will You Won't You Want Me? and Semi-Charmed Life. Her writing has appeared in ELLE, T Magazine (The New York Times), Town & Country, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair, among others. She lives with her husband, two kids and enormous cat, Waldo, in Brooklyn, New York.

*BOOK CLUBS should reach out via IG or to have the a

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