Cover Image: Smile and Look Pretty

Smile and Look Pretty

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Member Reviews

This book reminded me of the movie 9 to 5, but updated and with a younger generation. Four friends contribute to a blog to vent about their less than ideal job situations. Each has her own cross to bear and have to make critical decisions when push comes to,shove. I enjoyed reading it. The ending was satisfying with revenge completed against their nemesis, but real life looks much different.
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This was a compelling and thought provoking book.  Cate, Lauren, Max, and Olivia all work as assistants to powerful people in media and entertainment.  They have bonded over their shared experiences meeting unreasonable demands and various types of mistreatment by their bosses, all with the hope those bosses will help them advance within their respective fields to their dream roles.  As time goes on, and their bosses take no steps to actually help them advance, the four decide to start a blog to anonymously share their experiences.  Soon they have convinced other assistants across the city, and the country, to share their stories on the blog.  When one story goes viral, the blog is suddenly flooded with attention and it seems like some of the bad actors may at long last face consequences for their actions -- but will that come at the cost of the four original creators shedding their anonymity?  

This book was a page turner, while also raising several important issues.  Highly recommended!
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As someone who once paid my dues as an assistant to a very high powered doctor, I understood this an extent. While I recognized running weird errands like cupcake delivery and coffee runs multiple times a day, the ladies of Twentysomething experienced every sort of cliched sexual harassment and abuse that has become brought into light in the last several years.

Books like this are important. That said, I think that are other ways that it can be done. The 4 main characters - I wanted to know more. We got tiny little snippets of what made them different from each other but they all really blurred together for most of the book. Lauren is the only one who stood out, because she seemed to be the 'non-White' character, but who really knows.

This blended the main theme of "The Morning Show" and the most tame parts of The Devil Wears Prada and Gossip Girl to be an okay read. It's supposed to be about friendship and the power of women working together, but in the end is kind of a mess of secrets and women being assholes to each other.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review.
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I really enjoyed Smile and Look Pretty. The story was well-paced and very relevant to our current cultural climate. The characters were realistic and likable.
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I finished the last 50% of the book on a Saturday night staying up until 2AM because I couldn’t stop. The pace was perfect, the story was well-plotted and the ending satisfying without feeling rushed. The characters were realistic and the subject matter ripped from the headlines. The author clearly speaks from a place of deep understanding of the subject matter, the inner struggle and unspoken costs of speaking up. I almost wish this was required reading for anyone wanting to understand what happened behind the scenes with scandals like Weinstein and Cosby in 2017.
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I love strong female characters that I can root for, I saw myself in certain aspects of these characters and commend their bravery. Each of their character arcs were very well developed. This story, centered around mistreatment in the workplace, was relatable and made it easier to emphasize with these women, as they all dealt with their own internal struggles. In a world where women are usually pitted against one another for jobs, status, etc. it was nice to read a story about strangers and friends banding together to raise their voices as one to vocalize this crucial  issue. I enjoyed the idea of a blog where people could go to anonymously vent their frustrations, working as assistants to some of the biggest names in the biz. I especially enjoyed when the blog went viral.
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What an excellent read! I always enjoy novels which are told from multiple perspectives. It was shocking to read how the four main characters were treated while working as assistants. I found it exciting to read about the creation of a blog where women could anonymously share their experiences of mistreatment at work. I couldn't put this book down and I loved the ending.
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A juicy read for anyone who has been a PA to an elite or had to run personal errand. Think, The Devil Wears Prada, but a million times worse. Four friends decide to launch an anonymous website where women can write stories on how horrible they are treated or the asinine tasks their male bosses have made them do. This is a juicy page turner you do  not want to miss!
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What a fun book! It was super chick lit-y at first, and I was ok with that. Then when the site goes viral and these girls show up to take down the patriarchy - I was SO here for it! My main complaint: millenials are not 25 years old. We are 40 now. Haha but otherwise, such a fun book to read.
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A must read for anyone that was ever an assistant or just trying to make their way through the corporate world!  Especially relevant in a time where women are no longer willing to be mistreated, underpaid, unacknowledged and abused.  
What I thought was going to be another fluffy love-story - really is a life lesson!
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What happens when four assistants risk everything to say enough is enough? Smile and Look Pretty tries to answer just that question. After being exploited, taken for granted, manipulated, and overworked, best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia, and Max decide to take their weekly “The Shit List” meetings—in which they commiserate the worst moments of the week and crown a winner for worst experience—to the next level: they create an anonymous blog called Twentysomething where they come forward about their own most excruciating experiences. Assistants to some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industries, they know what’s at stake if they are found out. Yet what none of them expects is Twentysomething going viral. As more and more women send in powerful experiences, the only question remains: what happens to the women finally bite back?

There’s this certain rush of serotonin I get every time I pick up one of these books where women fight back and Smile and Look Pretty fell right into that category. I dare people to pick this book up and not want to raise their pitchforks in solidarity.

There is so much commentary about working in Smile and Look Pretty and I wish I could put every single quote I highlighted into this review. From talking about the only constant thing about their job being the fear of losing said job to lines discussing being taken advantage of in a job that you thought would be your big break, it all just resonated so much with me. There is a lot of talk about people not putting in the work anymore, or of not being ambitious enough, but we don’t talk enough about those of us who go into a field and entry position believing that if we only work hard enough, only look pretty enough, only be complacent enough, we’ll make it to the top as well. But as promotion after promotion is given to others, as we are being demeaned for giving “only” 100% while others are floating through the ranks with half of that effort, it can all just be so demoralising. Smile and Look Pretty also talks about how women oftentimes will accept demeaning tasks because of the promise that it will get them where they want to go—e.g. doing menial tasks for their boss that’s not in their job description because they hold a future reward over their heads—and that aspect is rarely discussed.

What I also loved was how Pellegrino addressed this idea of being happy for someone else getting the opportunities you deserve while also feeling like you failed because of that opportunity being passed on to said person. It’s hard to be happy for others when you’re struggling yourself and yes, it makes you feel really bad about yourself but it’s a valid feeling and we should be more open about that in real life. Disappointment and failure are only as bad as they are because we’re conditioned not to talk about them. And these four best friends really said f*** that, we’re allowed to feel!

As this thing that started as an outlet for the four friends turns into an initiative that makes women all over the world feel like they’re not alone, you really get a sense of the camaraderie of the oppressed. Every story sent in to Twentysomething is gruelling—from the casual sexual harassment that is just blown off by superiors to demeaning tasks and ridicule—but the fact that there are so many out there that happen every single day is what makes the friends’ idea so captivating. Creating a community for other women and finally having a voice via this blog will make readers feel like they’re not alone as well.

Smile and Look Pretty oscillates between POVs of the four friends and every friend deals with their own struggles in the workplace—and sometimes in private—and I loved how we got to see the different dynamic of every single one of them. Some of the romances the friends experience also gave me serious Sex and the City (but more feminist) vibes and it made me kind of hopeful for a movie adaptation. Every story brings something else into focus and there’s so much to admire about them—from their tenacity to their moral strength and their fierceness, I couldn’t pick a favourite even if I tried.

Without spoiling too much, the ending of Smile and Look Pretty is extremely cathartic. It’s always amazing to see someone who deserves it being taken down a peg or two and even though the four friends don’t anticipate what’s to come, the ending definitely pays off considering all the emotional turmoil the reader has to go through alongside these women. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to every twentysomething (and older) who’s ever felt unappreciated, exploited or strung along in their job. Trust me, you need this book in your life.

Ultimately cathartic, Pellegrino’s debut is a hard-hitting exposé of toxic workplaces and the horrors women are faced with on the daily. Chronicling what happens when women bite back, Smile and Look Pretty is a must-read for any woman who’s ever felt exploited in her 9-5 job and wants to blow off some steam—or, you know, burn down the patriarchy.
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Four BFF twenty-somethings, all working as assistants, start a blog to anonymously share their sometimes ridiculous (and more often horrifying) stories of their experiences in their various workplaces -- ranging from absurdly obnoxious requests to blatant sexual harassment and abuse. Other assistants contribute their own stories, and the site goes viral, threatening to reveal the true identities of the Aggressive One, the Bossy One, the Emotional One, and the Bitchy One.

I really enjoyed this book. I worked as an administrative assistant for most of my late 20s and early 30s and had two bosses (both women) who were batshit crazy and made me do the stupidest things for them -- nothing as horrific as what was depicted in this book, thank goodness, but demoralizing and depressing anyway.

There were some parts that fell flat and the ending was a little too optimistic, but this was overall a clever story that illuminated some tough topics, but with enough humor and snark to balance the dark bits.

*review will be posted @leavemetomybooks closer to pub date
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Best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia, and Max have a lot in common. They all work as assistants for some of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. They start an anonymous blog to vent and explain how poorly they are treated at work. Then, of course, their blog goes viral and they are famous. Will they be able to keep their anonymity?

I loved how this author tackled some hot topics like equity in the workplace in this clever story. It mixed serious content with some great humor! It was a different type of book than I typically read and I really enjoyed it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Park Row Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog ( in the near future.
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Amanda Pellegrino deserves a standing ovation for Smile and Look Pretty, where the #metoo movement combines with The Devil Wears Prada. 

Cate, Olivia, Max and Lauren are all assistants, hoping that this will be a stepping stone to employment in their chosen careers, It is, of course, not. Cate is an assistant in to a publisher. Instead if reading manuscripts, she’s charged with picking up cupcakes and driving to Vermont with emails, printed out to be read by her boss at breakfast. Max is an assistant at a Morning TV show where she must choose her wardrobe carefully to avoid unpleasant notice by her male bosses. Olivia is assistant to an actor who promised to send her audition reel to his agent. Two years later, she’s still his chaffeur. And Lauren is an assistant to the writers of a comedy show, hoping to get her own chance to write in a world of frat boy like males.

So the women create Twentysomething, an anonymous blog where they post their stories. They aren’t alone. Several stories a day, sent in by other women, are published everyday. The number of followers skyrockets and the blog quickly goes viral. How long can Cate, Olivia, Max and Lauren remain anonymous? And what will happen when their identities are discovered?

Smile and Look Pretty takes place in creative industries but it could be anywhere. Themes of sexism, unequal salaries, promotion inequity, harassment and feminism are treated with sensitivity while the plot is full of sympathetic characters and snappy dialogue. The stories on the Twentysomething blog will be sadly familiar to many women. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) and Amanda Pellegrino for this ARC.
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And I thought I'd had a bad boss (luckily only one), these ladies set out for a little revenge.  Revenge can get complicated and it does.

Best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max are overworked and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industries. Like the assistants who came before them, the women know they have to pay their dues and abide the demeaning tasks and verbal abuse from their bosses in order to climb the ladders to their dream jobs.

But paying their dues is not what these jerks want, they are into bullying and propping up their own self esteem to even  see their assistants as fellow human being.  There's a lot of the good old boys club going on also.  It's enough to make you get drastic, and drastic ladies can be dangerous.  Revenge can backfire, so you need to read the book to know the ending.
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While this book didn't exactly do it for me, it certainly wasn't bad. I would recommend it to friends and customers alike. It had all the trappings of a good book but it didn't leave me breathless, wanting more. Books like these are important. Female empowerment books. But just because they are about that topic, doesn't make them an automatic winner. I would definitely read more from this author, this book just didn't wow me.
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I have mixed feelings on Smile and Look Pretty, there were parts of the book I thought were really good, but other parts felt like they were just in for filler and made the book a slower read for me. I did contemplate on two occasions of DNFing the book because of those parts, but was so curious to see how the ending was going to play out that I stuck with the book. And I'm definitely glad I stuck with it.

I think almost any woman can relate to something these characters go through in the book at their job, it is painfully real the discrimination, harassment, and abuse that they face. And it is so easy for people to give advice and tell someone to get out of a situation that isn't healthy for them, and I like how Pellegrino presented it that when you need that job not only to pay your bills and support yourself, but also need the experience to hopefully get yourself to a better position, it's hard to just say "I quit," and move on when you know this cycle never ends. It was an authentic and raw portrayal of how women are treated in the workplace. I will definitely give Pellegrino's other books a read in the future.
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I have mixed feelings about SMILE AND LOOK PRETTY. The premise sounds so entertaining and I was looking forward to a juicy, gossipy read. Here's what kept me from rating it higher: the characters all kind of run together. I had a hard time keeping them straight and I wish the author had limited the points of view so that the reader can feel more invested. That being said, I'm glad I kept reading and I found the wrap-up quite satisfying.
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I mean, it's a well-done book. But do I need to read something so frustratingly real? I did. I did read this book. But I didn't need to. Welcome to Life! (Ok, everybody meet Ms. Me Too.)
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𝐖𝐞'𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮.  𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫.  𝐀 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠.

SMILE AND LOOK PRETTY is a relevant and relatable to anyone who has ever been verbally abused, demeaned, or degraded by a boss.  It's for anyone who does all the work but receives none of the glory; it's for the ones who keep their place of employment running behind the scenes for low pay and dreadful working conditions, all under the guise that if you "work hard enough" some mythical reward will be waiting for you.

This is the story of four friends who have had enough of their jobs and decide that their weekly vent sessions over margaritas just isn't enough anymore.  Insert anonymous blog where they become the Aggressive One, the Bossy One, the Bitchy One, and the Emotional One.  

I loved the theme of female empowerment and the idea of a secret blog that takes off.  The story did lag in several places, and I found it difficult at times to keep up with the names of the women and their despicable bosses.

Overall, an enjoyable, enlightening read.  If you liked THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, you will definitely enjoy this book.
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