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Rich and Pretty

2.76  ·  Rating details ·  8,111 ratings  ·  941 reviews
This irresistible debut, set in contemporary New York, provides a sharp, insightful look into how the relationship between two best friends changes when they are no longer coming of age but learning how to live adult lives.

As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs and first loves, the uncertainties
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Ecco
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2.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,111 ratings  ·  941 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read an interview between author Edan Lepucki and Ruman Alam. I liked the interview.
So....with Edan's endorsement of "Rich and Pretty", (a story about a long time friendship between two women), I decided to read it.

It didn't take long for me to realize, "I'm not thinking highly of this novel" I actually began to laugh out loud in spots that were clearly not meant to be funny.
Many sentences and paragraphs felt awkward.
I'm thinking..."I wouldn't talk like this - for ANYTHING"! I'm 64 years ol
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm not a big fan of the way the author chose to write this. The fragmented sentences really bugged me. For the whole book. Fragmented statements. Not knowing who's talking. Very annoying. And no climax. No clear ending. I didn't understand the point.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
This book gives you a glimpse into the lives of two best friends and how their relationship evolves as they get older. The author is a talented writer in that his descriptions made Sarah's house or the streets of New York come to life in my brain... yet this book was not my cup of tea. Not only does nothing really happen in this book - no plot, no climax, nothing to keep you turning the pages - but none of the characters are particularly likable, so I wasn't even invested enough that I wanted to ...more
Jenny Bunting
Jul 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
Exact words upon finishing this book:

"Thank God, fucking terrible book."

Side note: Narrator of audiobook is great.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was hesitant to add this one after so many terrible reviews, but all my book sources kept telling me to add it-- I had to read it. READ IT, I did.

This book was tragically awful. I still don't understand what prompted the author to write this, or to formulate an outline for this novel. The book is about two dysfunctional friends that were close in college and have grown up, going down different paths-- can they relate? Of COURSE not! Come on-- people have different lives to lead and sometimes y
Colleen Deezy
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
300 pages of mansplaining "female friendships" without developing plot or even the ~females~ in the friendships. Or even being clear about switching perspectives, which I guess could have been intentional but with how flat the characters fell, it didn't really work. I mean it's not altogether unpleasant I just really have no idea what I just read.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: fiction
I am curious about but can't remember where I read a review about this book, but that prompted me to read it. I found it a waste of time - I couldn't get into any of the characters, I keep waiting for a great insight into why the two female protagonists stayed friends - and never got any. I am irritated I kept reading even though I didn't like it.
Well here's a contender for my most disappointing and frustrating read of 2017! Spare me from this type of pretentious and utterly pointless writing. I am too annoyed to even properly rant about it (just to say there's €17.95 I'll never get back.... damned pretty hardback tempting me.....)

one star
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A book written about a friendship between two women and how it changes, develops, pushes and pulls… by a man. Actually, he does a very good job portraying the intricacies of a female friendship. It is a book many would describe as a “summer read,” a book that doesn’t really go anywhere. Nothing extraordinary happens, but you feel the nuances of the friendship and relate to them. It is a friendship between two girls who met when they were 11 years old and the novel follows their friendship into t ...more
Lauren Cecile
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shallow and unoriginal
May 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not terrible, but I couldn't allow myself to give this a full three stars. I got to the end, thought "so what?" and that was it. There was a lot of talk about growth and evolution but much felt like it was simply dwelling in the past. Meh.
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
I waited a long time to read this book. Books about wealthy women in New York City are not my preferred genre and honestly I avoid them. (This takes effort, there are so many.) But the thing is, I have a very big weakness for well-written contemporary novels and this is definitely that. I read it in one day, breezed right through it like a Sunday brunch.

It isn't that I came to like Sarah or Lauren. Sarah in particular is the kind of person I loathe, someone who is so wrapped up in their own priv
Tyler Goodson
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Rich and Pretty reads like a romance between two friends, exploring the ups and downs that occur in any long friendship. Since they were eleven, Lauren and Sarah have been best friends, and now in their thirties, Sarah is getting married and their relationship will evolve once again. Alam gets the little things right, building and surveying their relationship perfect detail by perfect detail, including their lives and secrets separate from one another. By the end, we know these two women as indi ...more
Jun 11, 2016 added it
I blurbed this book!

“Engrossing, funny, and wise, Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam is the story of two young women growing up and growing out of their past selves, even as that past still, profoundly, matters. Its cleverness is surpassed only by its compassion. A marvelous debut.” (Edan Lepucki, author of California)

Read my interview with Rumaan here:
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
What was the point of this book.
David Yoon
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Author Rumaan Alam is a homosexual writing about young female friendship being read by a hetero dad. This should not work. It reads like a Millennial version of the Neapolitan novels. God I’m not really selling this am I? But I enjoyed the read.

Sarah is the rich daughter of a Rumsfield-esque statesmen and is looking forward to getting married. Lauren is the pretty childhood friend who finds Sarah’s fiancé to be boring but is tasked with maid of honour duties including the getaway bachelorette.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Skip this one: Two NYC women, friends through school, don't have too much in common anymore, but they get together regularly, then indulge in inane, sometimes catty, inner dialogues about each other. Although the book covers six or seven years in their lives, the plot goes nowhere. (And I stuck through it to the end to make sure I didn't miss anything.)
Jun 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Truthfully couldn't get beyond the first several chapters. I had high hopes that this would be an "Upper East Side" version of "Firefly Lane" by Kristin Hannah, delving deep into friendship and the world of the elite. The characters Lauren & Sarah (at least 4 chapters in) were blithely shallow, lacking any sort of intriguing depth...and I can say the same about the plot. Massively disappointed
Macy Pruitt
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I LOVED IT...until I got to the ending. It's not the popular opinion, but I found this book extremely relatable. I'm in my mid-twenties, and I enjoyed reading dialogue that sounds exactly like conversations my friends and I have had.

I really enjoyed the setup of the two main characters - two best friends who have spent 2/3 of their lives together, at the point in a friendship where all of their odd personality quirks are noticed, annoying, but accepted. While both Sarah and Lauren want the abso
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a weird/unique reading experience.

I started off not feeling this book, the writing style was really not for me. But around the halfway point I found myself so enticed to pick it up between other tasks to check in with these two women.

I'm someone who has been friends with her best friend since middle school. She got married young, has two kids, while I haven't done any of those things. So there are parts of it that felt so familiar to me and I think that is what had me coming back for m
Lisa DellAquila
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received the ARC of Rich and Pretty from a friend. Initially, I was dubious I would like a book so diametrically opposed to my very being (not rich, not pretty). However, I was pleasantly surprised. The book details the friendship of Sarah and Lauren, two women in their thirties who live in New York City and have been best friends since adolescence. Rumaan Alam masterfully captures the complexities of female friendship. I enjoy interior novels that explore human interactions, but I suppose tha ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
LOVED this book. Lauren and Sarah were delightfully flawed, Huck and Lulu were huge characters who didn't take over the story, Dan was ambivalently important, and Rumaan Alam created a world I readily dove in to and loved. The friendship between Lauren and Sarah was really well written and felt really real, like these characters were based on actual women with a complicated best friendship. The elements of setting, story, and character were brought together wonderfully and I could just keep read ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
2.5 that I'm rounding up since it was interesting enough to finish. I wanted a fun summer read; this ended up being more a series of character sketches strung together.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the only book lacking a climax and juicy plot that I've actually enjoyed. I've seen many reviews by readers frustrated with the lack of action, and it's true, there's not a whole lot of substance there. This book was significant for me in that it explores the essence of human nature: how we come to understand what a person is thinking without them having to say it, how we know inherently when something is wrong, how we pick up on physical and verbal cues from the ones we are closest to t ...more
Kathleen Gray
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Over rated. Lauren and Sara were clearly written by someone who was on the outside of the female experience - like a man. To be very clear, many men have written successfully and delightfully about women but this didn't cut it. I really wanted to like this novel but I just couldn't enjoy these two, who I actually found tiresome. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
It's hard to know what to say about this book. It seemed kind of pointless. And not memorable—I finished it about a month and a half ago and had quite nearly forgotten that I'd read it. That said, I did enjoy aspects of it. It's fun reading about wealthy New Yorkers living a life of privilege. Overall, this is really just a glimpse into the lives of two New York girls, one rich, one pretty, holding on to a friendship just because they always have. If that appeals to you, and you can stomach char ...more
Sara Planz
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a very accurate examination of the cycles of friendship that we all go through. There were parts of the book where I genuinely felt that Sarah and Lauren were simply maintaining the friendship out of loyalty or habit, but then there were times (i.e. Sarah's wedding, the birth of Henry) that you could see genuine love and friendship between them. In regards to the look at the friendship, I thought the book was spot on. I have heard other people question what they perceive to be a ...more
Jul 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I rarely dislike books as much as I disliked this one. It wasn't even that it was poorly written or trite (my usual reasons for disliking books). It was that *nothing* happened. Literally nothing happened in this book. It was simply the most mundane, meandering details about two boring and uninteresting women. Nothing in this book stood out as interesting or exciting. The language was pretty and interesting enough at times, but hardly enough to make up for three quarters of a page droning about ...more
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a free electronic copy of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher.

I like reading books about women's friendships, and I like books about rich people in New York, and I really liked this one. Nothing big or events all that much outside of daily life happens, but it was amazing to me that this was written by a man - Lauren and Sarah, best friends in their early 30s, come across as so believable.
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
BotM choice for July. Excellent.

And, this may sound sexist, but I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact this was written by a man. Alam did an excellent job delving into the two main characters psyches.
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Around the Year i...: Rich and Pretty, by Rumaan Alam 3 19 Jan 02, 2017 12:50AM  
  • What Pretty Girls Are Made Of
  • I'm Glad About You
  • Invincible Summer
  • Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
  • Losing It
  • The Ramblers
  • The After Party
  • The Runaway Wife
  • The Hopefuls
  • The Assistants
  • Why We Came to the City
  • The Children
  • A Wife of Noble Character
  • Break in Case of Emergency
  • Soulmates
  • It's About Your Husband
  • The Futures
  • Opening Belle
My stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, Crazyhorse, Meridian, and elsewhere. I've written on design and other subjects for the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and other places. I studied writing at Oberlin College. Now I live in New York with my husband and two kids. I am very good at building things out of Legos and making overly-complicated dinners.
“The ice tinkles prettily: There's no more inviting sound to her, it's sophistication, like a British accent or that call-and-response of high-heeled shoes on tile.” 2 likes
“She likes the frisson of improvisation. Fun cannot be scheduled. Fun simply occurs.” 2 likes
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