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Paulina & Fran

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3.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,206 ratings  ·  203 reviews
A story of friendship, art, sex, and curly hair: an audaciously witty debut tracing the pas de deux of lust and love between two young, uncertain, conflicted art students. 

At their New England art school, Paulina and Fran both stand apart from the crowd. Paulina is striking and sexually adventurous—a self-proclaimed queen bee with a devastating mean-girl streak. With her g
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Harper Perennial (first published August 25th 2015)
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3.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,206 ratings  ·  203 reviews


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Elyse Walters
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Oh My....

This was a $1.99 special....(a sauna read for me). Some of you know-- that I often have a book - or two - going when I take a sauna at my house ( I read them on my old Kindle) . For some reason... This Kindle won't die...it takes heat and steam with no complaints.
So... My complaints... for this novel? Well, for $1.99, I really can't complain that much, now can I?
It was 'kinda' good...'kinda' engaging'...'kinda sexy' ...'kinda funny'...'kinda annoying'...and 'kinda' intriguing in an ar
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Larry H
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Many of us probably knew someone like Paulina, one of the title characters in Rachel B. Glaser's debut novel, Paulina & Fran . Always larger than life, always wanting to be the center of attention, women and men are drawn to her, and they often feel illuminated by her attention—until she tires of them and discards them, leaving them resentful. She seduces men and women to feel desirable and in control, and doesn't handle rejection well. And she isn't interested in other people's lives or pr ...more
Lynx
Paulina and Fran are total opposites. Where Paulina is promiscuous, outgoing and cruel, Fran is naive, introverted and caring. Both are beautiful however, and are fascinated by their differences. After only sighting each other on the dance floor at parties, the two find themselves on a school trip where a bond is formed. Their friendship is strong, but can it survive after one of the girls begins dating the others ex-boyfriend?


I wanted to love this, I really did, but Glaser makes it terribly dif
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Richard
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I'm not like other girls. You can't straighten my curls."--PJ Harvey

It's rare to be so utterly entertained by a novel, and also to feel it, to fully believe in the people inside the world of the book. This is an intelligent, funny-as-hell, hip, sad, speedway of a novel. I loved it. I gobbled it. Long live the short novel! Rachel Glaser uses telling in such wonderful ways here, to plunge us into the lives of the characters, into the everyday, the routines. You can learn so much and feel so much
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Rebecca
(My interview with Rachel B. Glaser is now available at For Books’ Sake. I tried not to let my distaste for the book get in the way of asking her thoughtful, objective questions.)

Full of blunt, faux-profound sentences and smutty, two-dimensional characters. Others may rave about it, but this wasn’t for me. I get that it is a satire on female friendship and youth entitlement. But I hated how the main characters get involved in a love triangle, and once they leave college any interest I had in the
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Blair
Beautifully written, lots of amazing sentences, but so stylised and mannered and empty. I didn't hate the characters - I found them so unreal that I couldn't even think of them in terms of whether I liked them. I couldn't see Paulina and Fran as actual people, their friendships or relationships as something that would ever exist outside the pages of a novel. I didn't believe in their connection for one second. Paulina's success with her hair products brand felt like something a 12-year-old would ...more
Anja
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a really good time with this book! Everytime I opened the pages I looked forward to spending more time in the life of Paulina and Fran.
While I can see how this book is definitely not for everyone, I really enjoyed the over-exaggerated characters and their toxic, damaging behavior. I know some readers criticized the non-existing character growth...I actually liked this fact. It was a really interesting take on how often humans want the whole world to change, but even with best intentions f
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Luke B.
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Glaser and loved this book. Reminded me of Woolf and made me long for more of it--this book, youth, experience. Been thinking about it all day after reading. With writing so great the story can do whatever she wants. Great fury. Amazing observations and creation in fiction of the misery and joys of narcism in life in early 20's.
Elissa Sweet
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because I often hated the main characters, yet I wanted everything good in the world to happen to them. They were real, and really flawed, yet I saw parts of much of myself in them. Rachel writes with biting, vivid prose and shines a light on the ugly and beautiful in each of her characters, especially Paulina. After reading her depictions of art school and life afterward, I feel as if I too have been part of that world, and I closed the book with a slight hangover.
Vanessa
Mar 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I rated a book 1 star, and I did wonder if I was being a little too harsh with this one. Ultimately though, I have to be honest, and although I didn't hate this book, I would not recommend it to anyone in any shape or form.

The book follows two characters, Paulina and Fran, who meet while studying at art school, and the book follows their tempestuous relationship and how it affects them in later life post-college. On paper this book should have been perfect for me - it had
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Ben Loory
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Whole book reads like it could be carved into the side of a mountain. Every sentence, every word, just totally perfectly cut. Only wish I hadn't had to spend the whole book wishing the main character might get hit by a bus.
Clara Cortés
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look, this book is so beautifully written, has poweful queer characters, tells A LOT of their relationships without having to show it all (which I find amazing)... but I'm so angry at that ending.

I kept telling my self all the time "yeah, there's only like 5 pages left, but I'm sure Rachel will fix it all there, right?".

Rachel didn't.

I closed the book and I was so sad because I hated how things worked out for them in the end.

In my head she takes the elevator, though.
Mindy
Fast paced and oddly compelling. Didn't really like the two main characters or their actions, but I couldn't stop reading. Was contemplating giving this 4 stars, but the ending really annoyed me so 3 stars it is.
Suanne Laqueur
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Huh. OK. That was...weird. I liked the writing and was compelled to finish but...I don't know if I liked it. It was depressing in a Bret Easton Ellis way that makes me anxious. I don't like stories that make me anxious...
Helen McClory
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inhaled this book - brilliant, sparkling jags on each page, sometimes every paragraph. All about women and the small terrible things we sometimes do to one another, condensed down into two bodies all young and immortal and fading and cruel.
Roberto
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, i don't know. Sometimes this novel felt so uber-2015 that i felt like where's the heart? I am done with all this knowingness and unsentimentality, i get it, and i totally get the impulse to write about those moments in your 20's that feel somehow transcendent and the boredom of those moments inbetween, but gosh when you're out of your 20's is it ever annoying, and can i just say, one particular storyline here comperleeetely jumps the shark, SUPERCURL, all i'm saying. This had some cracking ...more
Gabe Durham
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So playful, quotable, tragic, & fun! And brave for how gamely it takes young people self-obsession seriously without ever wagging a finger. Oh, and and and, the last third or so is probably the best part, and confirms that it's even more ambitious than we might've thought at first.

I read part of the book, lost it, found it, read the rest, on the day I finished on a trip to Boston it my sister's kid's babysitter already knew all about the book, said she'd read the first chapter and really wan
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Erica
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are so few women in literature who are amoral, who sail through life with the carelessness that Paulina does. The world seems eager to punish her for it, and I can imagine the blowback to her character she may inspire. But I loved her, and the romance she shares with Fran. It's sweet and obsessive and dark and calculating. A perfect millennial whirlwind of drama and overwrought emotion. I will say the ending is abrupt, but it's poetry and detail more than make up for it.
Tammy
Sep 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was so excited to read this, especially after listening to the book riot review but Glaser makes it difficult Paulina, her lead character is horrible. I thought this was going to be a powerful story about female connection through love and friendship. I wanted to be rooting for the characters not feeling sorry for them or comp,lately despising them. Paulina is such a disgusting, unsympathetic human being.I kept on reading, waiting for something redeemable that never came.

Melanie
Aug 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-some
Do you miss college melodrama? Then read this book.
Zachary Solomon
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
viciously fun and absorbing. acerbic, mean, and delightful. final third sags a bit, but a terrific ending makes up for it.
Amelia
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A party in paragraphs that socks you in the mouth when you least expect. I’d pay tuition to this book if it meant I could stay the whole year.
Jane
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
now these were the party scenes i was looking for!
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Probably more of a 1.5 stars. Only reason I gave this 2 stars is because while I hated basically every single thing about this book, it was a quick and easy read that I didn't wanna put down despite that.

This was just disappointing in so many different ways, I don't even know where to begin.
I hated the writing style. I guess it fit the story in a way but I just thought it was a mess and all over the place and often I didn't even recognize which character we were following.

The characters were unl
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Granta Books
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sharp-tongued, fearsome Paulina meets listless Fran one night at a house-party held near their privileged New England art school. Together they drift through classes, critique the world around them, lavish attention on their curls and nurture their shared dreams of genius. But when their friendship tips from intensity into enmity they find themselves cast out from the halcyon days of art school, divided from one another and set adrift in the increasingly disappointing world of adulthood.

Dripping
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Lizzie (Littlehux) Huxley-Jones
I need to call Rachel B. Glaser right now and ask her so many things about this joyous book. Paulina is flighty, brilliant, cruel; Fran is lovely, curled, gentle. When Paulina decides to befriend Fran on a trip to Norway with their art school, so begins a friendship fill with honesty, romantic love and brutality. Paulina has possibly the sharpest tongue of any character and I regularly found myself shrieking at her barbed comments. Glaser's cutting humour leaves no corner of art school and young ...more
Daniel Sevitt
I was led to this by Ms. Glaser appearing on Granta's list of young American novelists. By sheer coincidence the book is published by Granta. There's definitely a voice in there and a tale told with wit and vigor, but it feels a little like a first novel or a doctoral submission. It's mannered and a tad overwritten, but more than occasionally charming and, sometimes, even a little surprising.
Patty
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This may be considered one of the best books this fall but not by me. I read the reviews and bought it but was very disappointed. While it is well written I doubt many over 50 will find it entertaining. It left me wondering if I was that self-centered and cruel when I was at college. Actually, I found this book sad not funny.
Kristen
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Funny and sad and filled with dancing. I probably shouldn't have read this book after quitting my job to write for awhile but I did, and I am quietly devastated. Thanks a lot, Rachel.
Elizabeth Smart
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are unlikable characters, and then there’s Paulina.

I honestly think books like these just go over my head. I’m sure this book has real artistic and literary integrity, but I’ve realized that the stories I love reach out and touch me, or draw me into their world. I read this book from about twenty feet away, scared to get close.

The most I enjoyed this book was when Paulina and Fran were sensing and communicating with each other through Julian. And the lack of closure was obviously intention
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“She wanted to be her, or be with her, or destroy her.” 4 likes
“Do you ever even fall in love?' Fran asked Paulina. 'Or do you just live to conquer people's bodies?” 1 likes
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