Thank you NetGalley and Random House for my complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Pub Date: July 30, 2019
Growing up in New Jersey, and receiving a private school education, image was ever present. My parents worked hard to ensure that I maintained a humble personality in the midst of a materialistic world, but that didn’t mean I was oblivious to the charms of wealth. Being so close to that concrete jungle known to most as New York City, I was no stranger to the impact keeping up with the Rockerfellers had on the average person. In a city teeming with life, being somebody meant having a certain address and being in possession of the type of profession that enabled you to spend an unlimited amount of money on….things.
Reading, ‘That’s What Frenemies Are For’ by Sophie Littlefield, I nearly felt as though I was home. The entire core of the novel revolves around the dire consequences of desperately wanting to fit in with an elite group of people that, in all actuality, is full of insecure individuals competing to have the top title. Julia Summers had what she thought was the perfect life……how many times does this type of novel start off with a seemingly strong female character insisting that she has it all. Naturally, not ver far into the plot, Julia discovers that her life is not nearly as picture perfect as she’d thought it was. In addition to her husband working longer hours in the face of rumors circulating that all is not as ‘above board’ as it should be within his line of work, Julia is feeling left out of the popularity ring after a summer spent in solitude in the city.
Becoming irrelevant in a place like New York is the greatest fear that the women in this novel have, and Julia is determined to claw her way back up to the top of the social pyramid. But she ends up making a rookie mistake that the wealthiest of people tend to make all too frequently- she assumes that anyone whose budget rings in at a certain number is vulnerable and eager to receive help from the elite. Befriending Tatum, a young woman who appears to be having immense difficulty building her brand as a spin instructor at a top fitness club in the city, seems the perfect ‘win-win’ situation for Julia. Her friends returned from the Hamptons with a frustrating tendency of leaving her out of social outings, and Julia knows that she must do something drastic to be considered worthy of emulating once again. Being responsible for launching the success of Tatum, Julia is convinced, is going to be her golden ticket back into the upper crust. Yet, as she takes Tatum under her wing, Julia begins to notice that perhaps Tatum isn’t nearly as vulnerable as she’d initially believed her to be. Furthermore, the amount of gossip spreading about her husband and finances appears to be multiplying instead of receding.
Littlefield does a brilliant job inviting the reader to have exclusive insight into what it means to be on top. You’ll find yourself rooting for Julia, even as she so clearly has her priorities all mixed up. Out July 30th, ‘That’s What Frenemies Are For’, the reader will be reminded of what happens when you underestimate the underdog.