From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
It is 1999, and Betsy Nilssen, 24, lives in a walk-in closet in Brooklyn and works at a flailing dot-com, America's leading destination for the fashionista in us all, despite the fact that her daily look is more au naturale than fashionable. Betsy spends much of her time worrying about Y2K (she buys a 52-day supply of dehydrated meals to plan for potential chaos) and playing sidekick to her best friend, Bridget, tagging along while spouting sarcastic asides as Bridget plans a decadent tropical-island wedding. But even skeptics in romance get struck from time to time: Betsy falls in love with Ryan, a slacker-installation artist-coworker. Will Betsy's heart get broken? Will Bridget marry her doctor fiancé? Will the world end? As Betsy plods through such uncertainties, one thing is clear: debut novelist (and fashion blogger) Vadino ensures that readers will experience every awkward, beautiful, bumbling, and honest detail in the life of this 1990s pop-culture-referencing antiheroine and her quest for clarity on the brink of the new millennium.--Cook, Emily Copyright 2007 Booklist
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Blogger Vadino (bunnyshop.org) does a good job in her first novel of capturing the inner life of a chronic worrier as she navigates late '90s New York City. The reluctant assistant editor of a dot-com fashion magazine, Betsey Nilssen stocks up on freeze-dried foods, convinced the world is going to end on January 1, 2000. But Betsey's busy, pre-apocalypse best friend Bridget Callahan is planning her perfect wedding, and office crush Ryan Wells finally returns Betsey's affections. Though Betsey is crazy about him, and he seems devoted, his having just split with his longtime girlfriend causes some doubts that Bridget exploits. Bridget, meanwhile, is dispassionate about fiance James, which causes Betsey to wonder who has the right attitude when it comes to being in love. Vadino peppers her prose with unmistakable and convincing period references (the Discman, Zima, the X-Files), including a quick (and heartbreaking) line about being disoriented downtown until spotting the World Trade Center. Office politics at the scrappy e-mag run true, and while Betsey's neurotic obsessing could be pruned, Vadino gets into her head while still making her sympathetic, especially as her fixation on Ryan threatens to send her off the deep end. The novel's bittersweet tone carries through to a satisfying conclusion. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved