Publishers Weekly Review and Thoughts

Since leaving hometown L.A., Jacquelyn "Jacqs" Sanchez graduated from Berkeley, married and divorced a gringo and is now working as the personal assistant to the San Francisco mayor's wife. Jacqs hopes to parlay this gig into a job in politics, but a series of unsuitable men, the lingering pain of her divorce and her friends' romantic crises distract her. Candela is an engaging writer, particularly when she manages to make a family full of depressives seem funny, but nothing much happens-characters appear, display their quirk and disappear-and Jacqs, who forever regrets not having gone to law school, is unconvincingly stuck wondering what she should do with her life. With its mildly degrading personal assistantship and frequent fashion name-drops, Candela's debut novel skirts Prada territory, but the boss is fairly benign, and a series of who-slept-with-whom non-mysteries overtake the "awful boss" narrative. The book has its fun moments, but not enough punch to connect them.(Dec.)

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So that's PWs take on it and over all I'm pleased with what they had to say about Underneath It All. The book isn't for everyone and I knew when I was writing it, any story about a young woman who is trying to figure out what to do with her life, works as an assistant to a needy boss (who is more messed up than mean) and who has to wear clothes would get hit with certain labels.

More reviews are sure to follow and I expect some to be better and others to be more dismissive, but if I was afraid of criticism I would have kept my manuscript to myself.

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