More Like Her by Liza Palmer (William Morrow, March 2012)
The flirty cover of this novel belies the more serious themes that Liza Palmer tackles in her fourth novel. Private school speech pathologist Frances Reid has just broken up with her boyfriend of two years, who is also a teacher at the Pasadena school, and next to the new headmaster Emma Dunham feels like an awkward school girl rather than a thirty-something accomplished teacher who is up for department head. BFFs Lisa and Jill also seem to have it together, Jill is married to a great guy and Lisa seems comfortable in social settings, meeting Grady, who is working on the school with Sam, an architect from Tennessee who has been flirting with Fran, but in her current state she is unable to gage how much or to even reciprocate to test the waters. When Emma’s seemingly perfect life with perfect husband Jamie unravels before the staff and faculty, Fran realizes that things aren’t always as people present themselves in public and no one really knows what someone else is like, even if they are living with them. As Fran and her friends face the tragedy they have been a part of, they each take stock of their lives and their relationships, especially Fran who realizes she may not be as bad off as she thinks she is. More Like Her provides a more substantial chick-lit story than first expected with characters who are both sympathetic and likable.