Susan Mallery’s ‘California Girls’ Take Us On A Life-Affirming Journey Toward Recovery [REVIEW]

Three girls sharing lunch

Three sisters get dumped in the same week in Susan Mallery’s California Girls. (Photo by Thomas Hawk, Flickr)

Three sisters. Three men who dump them in rather atrocious ways. Will these siblings be able to regain their footing or will pain cripple them for life? Find out in Susan Mallery’s insightful new novel, California Girls. 



In Mallery’s latest, three sisters have their lives suddenly turned upside down by the men in their lives. Finola is a popular, effervescent television talk show host. But she is totally blindsided when her latest guest, a young pop sensation named Treasure, announces on live television that she’s set her affair with Finola’s husband to music. Devastated, but trying to keep a stiff upper lip, Finola just wants the tabloids to go away and for her husband to come to his senses so their life can return to normal.

Zennie isn’t nearly as upset as her sister is when her relationship explodes. In fact, she’d rather be surfing anyway. So when her best friend asks her to be her surrogate, she doesn’t have any qualms about doing it, except that her big sister thinks she’s making a really big mistake. Suddenly, pregnancy is a lot lonelier than she imagined.

Finally, Ali is used to being outshined by her sisters. She’s never been the belle of the ball, and yet when her fiancé sends his brother to call off the wedding, it is an all-time low. And yet Daniel keeps turning up to offer support, and suddenly she can’t help but wonder if he sees something in her that no one ever has before. Together, the three sisters make strides to rebuild and start new chapters in their lives, and they do it all with Mallery’s trademark warmth, wit, and heart.

All of us need to feel connected to others, whether that’s through family, long-time friends, or significant others who help us become better versions of ourselves. With California Girls, Mallery does a very nice job of demonstrating the richness of these relationships. Yet she also highlights the ramifications of loss, time, and missed opportunities that occur when we fail to nurture those who are important to us.

Although I love the characters in this book, I must admit that from the beginning, I was not drawn to Mary Jo Corrado, the mother of our three protagonists. In fact, you could say I felt she was harsh and unfeeling toward her daughters, especially when each of them strive to rebuild their lives. However, as the novel unfolds, we come to understand just how wise she is, especially when she responds to Finola’s claim of being the injured party. “You are if you think you are,” Mary Jo says. “But being the injured party is an easy trap. If you spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself, you never act. It took me until I was fifty to figure that out.” These words are strong, shrewd, and full of hard-won grit and tenacity.

Yes, Mallery deftly reminds us that sometimes our minds and emotions can fool us into thinking we are moving forward when in reality we are stationary, mired in baggage and “what ifs.” It is amazing what we can change when we know someone brave enough to speak up and hold a mirror in front of us, all in the spirit of love. But we must be willing to embrace new paths, enjoy the journey, and surround ourselves with folks who inspire us to be better than we are alone. Susan Mallery creates such a life-affirming journey in California Girls. Don’t miss it!

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Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery
(Photo by Annie Brady)


Susan Mallery is the number one New York Times bestselling author of heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives: family, friendship, and romance, including Not Quite Over YouWhy Not Tonight, and When We Found Home

She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her home on the Web at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Susan Mallery
464 pp. Mira. $15.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase California Girls at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Harlequin, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

California Girls is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

3 Responses to Susan Mallery’s ‘California Girls’ Take Us On A Life-Affirming Journey Toward Recovery [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Susan Mallery’s ‘Sisters By Choice’ [EXCERPT] | Jathan & Heather

  2. Pingback: Susan Mallery, author of CALIFORNIA GIRLS, on tour February/March 2019 | TLC Book Tours

  3. Sara Strand says:

    I’m totally guilty of being stuck because of “what ifs” so I get this! Susan Mallery is one of my favorites so I have to get this one for my summer list. Thanks for being on this tour!

    Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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