Smile and Look Pretty captures the tangle of anxiety-ridden thoughts that hang heavy over women during and after misogynistic faux pas. Pellegrino uses a show-don’t-tell style that trusts her audience to recognize and relate to the situations she describes. It even passes the Bechdel test, although more narrowly than expected. But you can’t affect change in the patriarchy without discussing its key players. This feminist novel possesses the nuance to acknowledge both the men who ally themselves with women, and the women who perpetuate misogyny and hierarchical hogwash. Smile and Look Pretty is an affirmation to those who can relate to Cate, Max, Olivia and Lauren, as well as a girl-power rallying cry. In a sea of media in which men are either saviors or villains, and women are their prize, this novel provides a life raft. Filled with wit, humor and snark, if you liked A Promising Young Woman, you’ll enjoy Smile and Look Pretty.
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 ... Smile and Look Pretty oscillates between POVs of the four friends...and I loved how we got to see the different dynamic of every single one of them ... 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 ... Ultimately cathartic, Pellegrino’s debut is a hard-hitting exposé of toxic workplaces and the horrors women are faced with on the daily.
I love the feminism and girl power messages, and the characters were so unique and cool. I was hooked on the story and it gave me all the feels. I laughed out loud, teared up, and smiled while reading. This is such a great debut novel! I was a little confused when differentiating between four main characters at first but I enjoyed their different perspectives and personalities. The story and dialogue were a little cheesy at times but I didn’t mind it. Overall, I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it!
... a sizzling read that adroitly balances relevant headlines, girl-power attitude and surprisingly savvy humor ... Pellegrino writes with absolute assurance and dexterous pacing. More than a delicious (and screen-ready) revenge narrative, the novel interweaves enough romance, family relationships, BFF fallout and (under/over)privileged characters to make the friends—and their friends—remarkably believable. The 'whisper network' is about to become a resonating rebel yell.
Pellegrino’s debut novel is part workplace comedy and part girl-power treatise, centered on the ebbs and flows of female friendship. It’s a sharp, empowering novel for the #MeToo era that will resonate with anyone who has felt less-than at work.
Pellegrino shines in this intelligent and engaging debut ... It’s a simple, well-worn story, but it stands out thanks to the ways the characters balance their personal ambitions with a desire for justice.