Room for Improvement by Stacey Ballis

484024This was a super quick read, which was just what I was looking for after the epic Philippa Gregory book. I could easily read 100 pages or more a night, so I finished it over the weekend.

Lily Allen (no relation to the singer – probably written before she hit) is a interior decorator in Chicago who just got hired as a designer on a DIY reality show. She’s got two good friends, distant but “normal” parents, and a cast of characters working on the show with her. She’s a modern woman, who always carries condoms, but just can’t find love. The reality show part was actually really well done and Ballis didn’t spend too much time over-explaining how production works or why certain people do certain things. You can tell she knows what she’s talking about and has likely actually seen a working crew, but doesn’t feel the need to beat you over the head with her “insider” knowledge.

There was a LOT of exposition and I felt more often than not that Ballis was just telling me why Lily does things this way instead of showing me. I had a hard time remember which of her BFFs was which and again, they weren’t really developed beyond, one’s a lawyer and the other’s a lesbian. The ending felt completely rushed and unearned. I definitely thought she was going to end up with a different guy, but it was nice to see a good guy/girl friendship develop in a chick list novel. It’s not my favorite novel, but I’m sure I’ll probably check out her other books, if only because they are quick reads.