Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
Sarah Walters is a less-than-perfect debutante. She tries hard to follow the time-honored customs of the Charleston Camellia Society, as her mother and grandmother did, standing up straight in cotillion class and attending lectures about all the things that Camellias don't do. (Like ride with boys in pickup trucks.)
But Sarah can't quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There, she and her fellow displaced Southern friends try to make sense of city sophistication, to understand how much of their training applies to real life, and how much to the strange and rarefied world they've left behind.
s complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns home to confront with matured eyes the motto "Once a Camellia, always a Camellia" -- and to see how much fuller life can be, for good and for ill, among those who know you best.
Girls in Trucks introduces an irresistable, sweet, and wise voice that heralds the arrival of an exciting new talent.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
A rebellious debutante tries on big-city life, then realizes she's a camellia that belongs in the South. With a seven-city tour; reader's guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous ways-from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliche, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collection-each chapter its own story with its own narrative technique-Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Crouch's debut novel follows southern debutante Sarah Walters as she comes of age in Charleston, South Carolina, and eventually leaves home for a new life in New York City. Yet, as Sarah struggles to find love in Manhattan, she realizes her southern roots run deep. Through heartbreak and disappointment, she keeps in touch with an eclectic set of childhood friends from the Camellia Society, her debutante group, and tries to recover from an abusive relationship. Her quest for love leads her from the streets of New York to Peru, as she reconnects with men from her past. But suddenly Sarah is forced to return to Charleston after a family tragedy occurs. There, she begins to truly understand the importance of the Camellia bonds she once dismissed.--Boyle, Katherine Copyright 2008 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Wry, rueful tales of a Southern debutante's mostly disappointing love life. The unifying motif of Crouch's debut is the Charleston Cotillion Training School, where South Carolina girls and boys of a certain class are taught ballroom dance in preparation for the girls' coming out parties. Prominent among the debutantes are the Camellias, a sorority of women whose mission is to "prepare their daughters for marriage to a decent man." For Sarah Walters and her friends Bitsy, Charlotte and Annie, Camellia membership will mark their most permanent attachment; it seems that for latter-day debutantes there's a shortage of decent men. The novel is comprised of linked short stories, some veering off into the equally problematic amours of peripheral characters including Sarah's brilliant older sister Eloise and their mother. After college, Sarah moves to New York City seeking a writer's life. While working lowly editorial positions, she rooms with Charlotte, a fledgling fashion designer who's in and out of rehab. Sarah's man-that-got-away is blue-blooded Max, who "made money with money." His casual cruelty is not tempered by any redeeming appeal, and Sarah's intractable obsession with him beggars belief. She attempts, vainly, to settle for guys from home, or guys she thought of as just friends but was holding in reserve as fallback lovers. Annie, who never leaves Charleston, survives a relationship with a feckless artist to find love and financial stability. Bitsy marries money, which is scant consolation for her husband's callousness--his infidelities persist as she dies of cancer. Charlotte chooses first drugs, then entrepreneurial success, over relationships. Sarah, finding at 31 that she's "missed [her] window" of opportunity with the fallback guys, has a child by an extremely casual acquaintance. By age 35 she's accepted the fact that neither she nor the men in her life will ever measure up to debutante standards. Gentle humor and sharp observation couched in straightforward prose with none of the preening preciosity so often seen in Southern fiction. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.