Wednesday, June 30, 2004

WHAT A GIRL WANTS by Kristin Billerbeck

WHAT A GIRL WANTS by Kristin Billerbeck (An Ashley Stockingdale novel, book 1)

Book blurb:

Ashley Stockingdale, 31, has a respectable (read: boring) job in Silicon Valley as a patent attorney. It's the kind of life that causes her mother to ask repeatedly, "Now what exactly do you do there, dear?"

Given that in Silicon Valley the single men outnumber the women 2 to 1, Ashley can't help but wonder why a cute, eligible, Christian girl ("with absolutely adorable shoes") sits home most weekends. Even her church singles group fails to satisfy, endlessly watching The Matrix and "splurging", obnoxiously, on un-cool dinners at Applebee's and unhip franchise restaurants.

So Ashley resolves to go for it! If only she knew what "it" she's going for. Perhaps that ever-illusive promotion that would give her the glamorous career girl image she's longed for? Or maybe the wardrobe to end all wardrobes, turning her glowing, possibly-pregnant newlywed friends green with envy? Or, best of all, winning the affections of the handsome doctor she's met through her work with the youth center!

Ultimately, Ashley finds that what a girl wants and what a girl needs aren't always the same thing. Join Ashley for the first of two lighthearted books about a single-girl's bumbling but loveable quest for meaning.

Camy here:

"What a Girl Wants" really is laugh-out-loud funny. I haven't been this entertained in a long while. Racy, edgy and romantic WITHOUT a gratuitous sex scene every other chapter. The heroine Ashley is a real character, NOT a generic super-Christian woman with a sweet smile and a heart of gold who the hero instantly falls in love with (but not in lust) and wants to marry. No, Ashley is like any girl I'll meet at Valley Fair or Stanford Shopping Center.

As a post-modern Christian, I can entirely relate to Ashley. Her sassy, sarcastic attitude and neuroses are WAY too familiar. Her faith is entirely central to her life, as indicated by her thoughts and decisions, but the way she talks about it is in language that is different from our parents' generation of Christians. The language can come across as flippant and slightly irreverent, but it's the way she makes God more real, more personal and more intimate in her life. For Ashley, God is her friend (albeit a pretty powerful and absolutely holy Friend) rather than Thou-Almighty-God-Maker-of-Heaven-and-Earth.

The book is great at showing Ashley's spiritual journey from a more distant relationship with God to a fully submissive and joyful interaction with her Creator. It doesn't preach. It shows the actions of a woman of God who makes mistakes and needs constant guidance and direction from her Lord, which is how He wants us to be anyway. It is culturally hip and trendy, so that a world inundated by reality TV, web-access pocket PCs, and other forms of ultra-stimulation can relate and laugh and maybe even question the material things they value.

The book perfectly captures the essence of northern California--the attitudes, the environment, the ENGINEERS (I can say that since I married one). The social culture is brought to life and drawn with both love and tongue in cheek. The author brilliantly colors the ethnic melting pot that is the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a hopeless romantic, I'm sometimes left flat by many women's fiction novels, but this book has enough sparks to light the San Francisco Airport runway. I highly recommend this to any romance reader.

This is terrific entertainment, and a message suitable for those of us post-moderns who struggle with what the world says and what God wants. In Ashley, I see the other Christians of my generation who don't want to be influenced by the morals of the world we live in, but at the same time don't want to be total hermit-recluse-bananas in our own exclusive Christian circle. Ashley's discovery of how to be herself, be content, and be God's child is a worthwhile spiritual take-away.



  1. oh, gosh, where do I start? I loved it. I would give away 100 bars of raspberry filled dark chocolate for this book!
    That says it right there, don't it? :)LOL
    I loved how you don't know who Ashley will end up with.
    And the family is just disturbed enough without being totally demented, just like most families!! LOL
    I love the peril, the romance. . .the humor!
    The scene in Starbucks with the imaginary Captin Kirk killed me--but I won't give away why.
    The single for a season and for a reason.
    Dark Humor!LOL Just kidding, I loved it.
    My end thoughts on this book, MUST READ!

  2. I absolutely loved this series! I read the first and then ran to the store (actually 3 stores!) for the next two.

    I was so reminded of the singles group I was a part of, and the singles entrenched in it. It made me laugh putting faces I remembered to the characters in her books.

    So clever and funny. Please treat yourself, buy all three!!