California Girls by Susan Mallery | Review

Posted March 27, 2019 by Asheley in review / 2 Comments

California Girls by Susan Mallery | ReviewCalifornia Girls by Susan Mallery
Published by MIRA on February 26, 2019
Source: the publisher
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The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


California Girls by Susan Mallery does one of my absolute favorite things: tells the story of women at a crossroads, having to make huge life decisions. This is the story of three sisters that are dumped at basically the same time-like on the same day-and how they all three cope with the loss of those relationships. Very few authors write relationships as well as Susan Mallery does, so I was thrilled to read this book, especially since it highlighted a set of sisters.

Finola is a famous local news journalist that finds out her husband is having an affair with a famous country-pop star–on live television! Zennie is perfectly content on her own, going out and being active with her circle of friends, so when she loses her romantic relationship it isn’t that big of a deal to her…until she decides to become a surrogate for her best friend and discovers how lonely pregnancy can be. Ali’s fiance waits until the wedding invitations have been sent to send his brother to break off the engagement, devastating Ali and leaving her to cancel their wedding plans on her own. On top of all of this mess, the three sisters have agreed to help their mother go through their childhood home and clean out a lifetime of stuff so the house can be sold. Oh, and their mother is nagging them to hurry up and give her grandchildren as soon as possible.

California Girls by Susan Mallery

These gals are all having a tough time, so it would stand to reason that they would lean on one another. However, it is super easy to observe some jealousy among them from where mom had a favorite daughter and dad had a favorite daughter and one daughter felt sort of left out. Also, all three have this thing where they don’t want to burden the other two with their own problems, so they keep their issues close. It makes for interesting conversations when the three of them are together. BUT I HAVE TO SAY: Their relationships feel very real to me, and some of my experiences with my own sisters (there are three of us) have been very much the same. So I loved reading about the way these three communicated. There is a little bit of friction here and there, but there is also loyalty and love.

As far as the three sisters all having to make huge decisions-these decisions are all a result of where these big break-ups have left them. Each one has to figure out how best to move on to the next chapter of her life. I love love love these types of stories because as women, we are always having to make decisions that affect not only us, but our families and the people that depend on us, right? So I’m always curious to see how other women respond to whatever pressures are put on them. Out of the three sisters, I have to say that I for sure would not have made the same choice that one did; I may not have made the choice that another one did; and I absolutely love the choice that another one did and I probably would have done the exact same thing. You’ll have to read to see what they all ended up doing.

One of my favorite things about this story is the way that Susan Mallery presents all of the different types of relationships. I’ve already mentioned that the sister relationship felt real to me, but I also loved the friction and realness of the mother-daughter relationships. Their mother absolutely got on their nerves with her nagging, but it was clear that they loved her tremendously. Also in Zennie’s POV, it is interesting to note the levels of support she received from her friends and different family members regarding her choice to become a surrogate for her best friend. Of course, when friends and family disagree with our choices, it can cause tension in our relationships. But I loved that not every single person was 100% happy that she made this choice-I’m not sure that everyone would be on-board automatically in real life either, at least without posing some very real questions. Lots of complexity in the friends and family relationships and I appreciate that.

My favorite POV by far is Ali’s. Even though it is a bit heartbreaking in the beginning, I love where it went over the course of the story. LOVE.

So this is another great story by the fabulous Susan Mallery. She is so consistent in producing quality stories that I love. I know that when I choose to read one of her books-new or backlist-I’m pretty much going to enjoy it at the least/love it at the most. She’s one of my go-to authors for vacation reads or something when I’m feeling stressed or just anytime I want something that I know will make me happy. And like every other time, I’m already excited for her next book.


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About Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery Author Photo

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


2 responses to “California Girls by Susan Mallery | Review

  1. Sara Strand

    Ali’s POV seems to be a favorite among many readers! I can’t wait to get to this one from my pile. Thanks for being on this tour!

    Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. “we are always having to make decisions that affect not only us, but our families and the people that depend on us, right? So I’m always curious to see how other women respond to whatever pressures are put on them.”<- I really liked the way you put this. I think it's part of why I like reading about women too. I also think women are still sometimes asked to balance family and career in ways men aren't as often and I enjoy seeing that play out in different ways too.

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