Read a sad girl summer novel full of LA drama
We Play Ourselves — Jen Silverman
This week’s recommendation also comes with a giveaway! Keep reading for your chance to win one of three copies of this book, which is perfect for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
What to Read This Week
We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
What It’s About
Cass is running away from her problems—literally. She was supposed to be the next star, the next rising queer feminist playwright, with tons of potential and a star-studded future ahead of her. But that all vanishes in an instant. After a horrible scandal, she cannot show her face in New York anymore. So she runs. For a playwright like her, there’s not a ton of options for gigs, so the only other place she can think of to go is LA. She’s never been there, knows nothing about the city, and is hoping somehow, someway, things will work out.
When she arrives, she finds her longtime friend Dylan in a rocky place with his boyfriend, so she spends her days on the balcony of their apartment, smoking and soaking up the sun. She calls her agent in New York daily, begging her to give her a second chance, but so far, no luck. It’s like the world is against Cass and everything she wants to do.
Things change when she meets the neighbor, Caroline.
Caroline is an eccentric woman who immediately judges her choice of drink and tells her about her new film project she’s directing. “They’re thinking Sundance,” she tells Cass. So out of nowhere, Cass finds herself in the middle of the weirdest project she’s been a part of so far.
Who Will Like It
This book is what I call a sad-girl-summer-vibe book. A book that is somehow about everything and nothing at all. Other books I’d put in this category are My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh and Marlena by Julie Buntin. They’re character-focused more than anything, but what made this book really stand out was the plot was equally excellent and gripping, and it didn’t feel like it had to be one or the other. There were quiet moments with Cass as she thought about what happened in New York and there were loud moments in LA meeting neighbors and embarking on a very odd film project.
This is a messy book filled with messy people who will make you angry and also make you want to reach out and hug them. But mostly make you angry (in a good way). I really loved how unapologetic the author was in telling the stories of these very human, very flawed, and totally-someone-you-know characters and somehow making you care deeply while also kind of hating them.
Thanks to the incredible generosity of Random House, the publisher of We Play Ourselves, I have three brand-new paperback copies (with a gorgeous new cover!) to give to three lucky readers! To enter, leave a comment on this post saying you’d like to read this book. If you want a bonus entry, share this newsletter on any social media platform of your choosing, and come back and leave a second comment that you shared it (honor system, folks!).
US residents only, or must have a US mailing address, for shipping purposes. Must feel comfortable sharing shipping address with me (will not be shared elsewhere). Not affiliated with Substack. Must be 13+ years to enter. Entries accepted until 12 AM CST 5/16/2022.
Last Week’s Winner
Congratulations to Ange, the winner from last week, who will receive an advance review copy of Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders. Didn’t win? Buy your own copy here!
Can’t get enough, or looking for a different recommendation? Browse the archives, or check out some popular past recommendations:
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