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20 Smart Chick-Lit Novels

Chick lit gets a bad rap, but we don't think it's a waste of a genre. Breezy and smart need not be mutually exclusive, so we asked our readers for their favorite chick-lit novels that are as intelligent as they are fun. This Book Lovers Day, here are 20 books to watch for when you want a read that's light but not empty:

  1. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
  2. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  3. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
  4. Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino
  5. Sushi For Beginners by Marian Keyes
  6. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
  7. My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson
  8. Pink Slip by Rita Ciresi
  9. Trading Up by Candace Bushnell
  10. The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
  11. Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
  12. The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne
  13. The Godmother by Carrie Adams
  14. Something Blue by Emily Giffin
  15. Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes
  16. The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
  17. My Heart May Be Broken, but My Hair Still Looks Great by Dixie Cash
  18. Sweet Dreams at the Goodnight Motel by Curtis Ann Matlock
  19. Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell
  20. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Have any to add?

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DeborahStarling101 DeborahStarling101 4 years
Yay! A list of smart reads for chick-lit lovers :) Thank you! I think there is so much garbage that ends up in the chick lit category. I want a heroine that I can root for and that I relate to! Unlike some of the recent leading ladies I've read about that seem like they need rescuing, that are almost shown in a kind of pathetic way….. I do feel that many chick-lit authors are evolving and changing to embrace strong female role models and bringing a story to the reader that is a bit more complex and thought provoking. I have come across a fabulous book that I have to recommend after reading your post called “Shanghai Love” by author Layne Wong ( It is an unlikely love story between a Chinese herbalist and a Jewish refugee looking for safety from Nazi Germany. The herbalist, Peilin, was betrothed to a man who was killed before their wedding but tradition and honor forced the marriage along anyways. She is sent to Shanghai to manage his family's herbal shop. Shanghai is also Henri's destination as he has graduated from medical school as Hitler is rising to power. He flees to Shanghai where he's befriended by Ping, Peilin's brother. Through her kindness, Henri becomes fascinated with Chinese herbs as well as the exotic culture surrounding him. It is such a gripping story with a female character that you care about and that deserves a happy ending!
mountainbird51 mountainbird51 7 years
The Play of Shadows ~ Deborah J. Habbart. Check out the author's web site at and Amazon for the 5-Star reviews.
FutureInFashion FutureInFashion 7 years
I've been looking for some new books and authors to read, so thanks for the list! For anyone looking for anything else, I'd recommend anything by Emily Giffin. I just finished "Love the One You're With" and "Baby Proof" and loved them. :)
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
Additionally, Tres said "smart," not intelligent. She's not saying these are candidates for the Orange Prize, but there is a huge difference between these novels, which feature independent, fully-fleshed female characters, and something truly vapid and name-dropping like, say, "Bergdorf Blondes." For those who don't know, Jennifer Weiner went to Princeton, and Sophie Kinsella went to Oxford before a career in financial journalism. Not exactly unintelligent.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
I agree with Tres 100%. While some of Kinsella's books ( The Shopaholic Series, for example) is more assinine, "Can You Keep a Secret?" really is an exception. The humor is more clever, the characters are well-drawn, and it has quality writing with a likeable post-modern heroine-very similar to Bridget Jones, actually.
sumshel sumshel 7 years
any list that includes, much less lists as #1, Sophie Kinsella loses all credibility IMO. and how could you not include the book that reenergized the chick lit trend, bridget jones's diary? and nothing by jennifer weiner? what is going on here??
amanda9482 amanda9482 7 years
Cecilia Arhen is a wonderful author as well. Two of my favorites of hers are: P.S., I love you. and Dear, Rosie.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I agree, runningesq. I'm sure some people find these books enjoyable, but I don't think there's any need to call them "intelligent."
skigurl skigurl 7 years
I agree, while I love the books on this list that I've read, I wouldn't necessarily call all of them "smart". Though some are pretty cute.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I like fluff books as much as the next girl, but calling anything by Sophie Kinsella "intelligent" is ridiculous, IMO.
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