You Should Smile More
One part 9 to 5, one part romantic comedy, You Should Smile More is a funny, delightful romp about sweet revenge and even sweeter friendship.
Cat-loving Vanessa Blair is tired of being judged both for her outward appearance and her presumptive demeanor. Yes, the book’s titular phrase is often spoken to her even at her telemarketing job, where it ought not matter to anyone. She has a degree in linguistics, but majoring in Latin means that jobs are thinner on the ground than they ought to be. But Vanessa has dreams that reach beyond the switchboard. Until she achieves them, though, she needs to keep answering phones to keep kibble in her foster kittens’ mouths.
All of those dreams are shattered when she’s called in for a meeting with HR by the new and loathsome boss Xavier Adams. He can’t stand Vanessa’s dour looks and fires her on the spot, even though she’s incredibly competent at her job.
Vanessa’s friends Jane Delaney (recently fired by Xavier for similarly facile reasons) and Trisha Lam (whose job is on very shaky ground) rally around her. Though Vanessa wants to get on with her life, Xavier indicates that he’s going to block her attempt to qualify for unemployment benefits due to her reaction to her firing. Trisha has read The Art of War by Sun Tzu and all three women vow to use the ideas in the tome to take Xavier down. But is revenge really what Vanessa wants, given the possibility of her dream job – and a date with her hunky, cat-adoring unemployment rep – on the horizon?
This is such a delight of a novel, with plenty of fun to be had between the plotting and scheming, the building romance and Vanessa’s self-actualization. All of the novel’s individual parts work beautifully together, coming together for a fun, cohesive whole.
Vanessa would rather avoid conflict, but she finds herself magnificently leading it anyway. She’s a great character, and her romance and her cats amuse.
Trisha and Jane are equally fun, and as for Xavier – you’ll love watching him suffer, is all I can say. But I must warn that the romance is more of a side-dish to the fun here.
But if you don’t mind that, then you’ll enjoy the gambolings within You Should Smile More.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier