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Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from he Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena’s Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out. Like a lane change on the 405 freeway during rush hour, Bridget Hoida skillfully navigates the impossible. In So L.A.Hoida offers both a satirical and sympathetic portrait of contemporary Los Angeles through the penetrating prose of her female protagonist. Evoking a dynamic and materialist landscape, So L.A. introduces readers to the unforgettable voice of an extremely talented new writer.


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Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from he Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena’s Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out. Like a lane change on the 405 freeway during rush hour, Bridget Hoida skillfully navigates the impossible. In So L.A.Hoida offers both a satirical and sympathetic portrait of contemporary Los Angeles through the penetrating prose of her female protagonist. Evoking a dynamic and materialist landscape, So L.A. introduces readers to the unforgettable voice of an extremely talented new writer.

30 review for So L.A.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rosso

    I'm excited to read this book! Ms. Hoida was my creative writing teacher my freshman year of high school, and to this day one of the most memorable teachers I've ever had. I'm excited to read this book! Ms. Hoida was my creative writing teacher my freshman year of high school, and to this day one of the most memorable teachers I've ever had.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ti

    The Short of It: Never thought a book about the shallowness of Los Angeles could surprise me, but it did. The Rest of It: Magdalena wasn’t always a Botox-injected, Juicy Couture wearing gal. No, life before her designer water empire took off involved a vineyard in Northern California, a brother whom she absolutely adored and a simpler life; complete with a “tell it like it is” mother. But when her brother Junah dies tragically, she is completely and utterly destroyed. The only way to get through The Short of It: Never thought a book about the shallowness of Los Angeles could surprise me, but it did. The Rest of It: Magdalena wasn’t always a Botox-injected, Juicy Couture wearing gal. No, life before her designer water empire took off involved a vineyard in Northern California, a brother whom she absolutely adored and a simpler life; complete with a “tell it like it is” mother. But when her brother Junah dies tragically, she is completely and utterly destroyed. The only way to get through it, is to transform herself into someone other than herself. Maybe then she can leave the pain behind and at least pretend for a while that she isn’t some pathetic creature, pining away for a brother who will never pal around with her again. Los Angeles is a lot of things to a lot of people but when you think of L.A., I bet you aren’t thinking depth or an abundance of intellect. Right? I mean, I was raised walking the streets of Hollywood (that sounds bad) so even as a little kid, I saw the transparent, plasticky nature of the town itself. It was bad then, but it’s even worse now. So, when I was asked to be a part of this tour my first reaction was a tiny cringe. Imperceptible, but there. However, I visited the author’s website to read an excerpt and I was quite taken with her writing. It was different. Sharp. Blunt. Edgy. Not predictable but shiny, like something you see on the ground that you have to pick-up. So, I signed up for the tour. I. Am. So. Glad. I. Did. When Magdalena comes up with the idea to bottle designer water. She, along with her husband Ricky, take-off for Los Angeles to build their empire. There, Ricky’s sister helps Magdalena become the person she wants to be and introduces her to designer clothing, expensive beauty treatments and saline implants. But when Magdalena begins to doubt if her marriage is really a happy one, suspicion sets in and Magdalena slowly plummets into depression where she’s left wondering if she will ever be whole again. This is not chick-lit. It shares elements of what we’ve come to call chick-lit, but Magdalena is a very complex woman with real problems and although she’s wrapped herself in a protective shell, the pain she feels is woven throughout the entire novel as she goes through the five stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Reorganization, Depression & Acceptance). At first, there is a lot of humor and name-dropping. Hoida sets the scene and really gives the reader a feel for L.A. Even if you’ve never stepped foot in So Cal, you’ll have a good idea of the L.A. that Mags lives in. The Beverly Hills lifestyle is in full-swing yet what makes it so appealing, is that you know right off that Mags isn’t into it. She is playing a part and between the parties and the shopping, her vulnerabilities come out in full force as evidenced by her affinity for gin and although she has some good people supporting her, none of them truly realize the severity of her depression. I really liked this book. I liked it for a number of reasons but probably because it surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t expect to have a girl-crush on Magdalena but I have to tell you, I sort of did. Imagine the cuteness of Bridget Jones, the craziness of Suzanne Vale from Postcards from the Edge and the vulnerability of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. THAT is Magdalena. I also didn’t expect the story to pack such an emotional punch. Her relationship with her brother and her memories of home were really quite sweet and at times, heartbreaking. No matter how glitzy the lifestyle, loss is loss and when it comes down to it, we are all imperfect humans trying to make the best of it. I love it when a book surprises me in a good way and this one did just that. For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Drennan Spitzer

    This novel is difficult to categorize. At first blush, it may seem like simple, trashy "chick lit," but Bridget Hoida's work is so much more than that. In fact, I would go so far as to say that part of the brilliance of this novel, aside from the sharp prose, is ways in which it defies the usual genre and sub-genres with which the publishing world seems to work. First, let me say that I am fascinated by media that represents Southern Californian culture, from 40s film noir to Pyncheon's The Cryin This novel is difficult to categorize. At first blush, it may seem like simple, trashy "chick lit," but Bridget Hoida's work is so much more than that. In fact, I would go so far as to say that part of the brilliance of this novel, aside from the sharp prose, is ways in which it defies the usual genre and sub-genres with which the publishing world seems to work. First, let me say that I am fascinated by media that represents Southern Californian culture, from 40s film noir to Pyncheon's The Crying of Lot 40 to The Real Housewives of Orange County. There's something about not just Los Angeles itself but the reimagining of Los Angeles that gets me. This may be because I consider myself both a SoCal and a Central California expatriate. And yes, SoCal is its own culture, so different from that of Northern and Central California. I can tell you this for certain as someone who grew up in Bakersfield, a mere 100 miles north of Los Angeles: even the ways we talk about the freeways are different in Los Angeles and in Bakersfield. And it's these subtle and not-so-subtle distinctions that Hoida explores in her novel. I guess that this is the thing I want to say about So L.A.: I want to like Magdalena for oh-so many reasons. And I do feel some sympathy for her as a character. Certainly, there are some aspects of her character, some of her experiences I can identify with (not least of all is simply her [San Joaquin] Valley Girl background). But in the end, I may be fascinated by Magdalena, may see bits of myself in her, may even feel some sympathy for her, but I don't like her. In fact, I want to shake her, want to say, "Get a grip!" And maybe she does get a grip by the end of the novel, or maybe not. Either way, I think that part of the point is that Magdalena de la Cruz, the statuesque, blue-eyed, blonde, with the Hispanic surname is an embodiment of the paradox that is Los Angeles. She's more than just metaphor, certainly, but she's also a metaphor for the city, for Angelino culture, for the history of California. All of it comes together in this character who exasperates me but who I so want so save. I find myself all too often saying that I love Southern California but that I hope I never have to live there again, and maybe that's akin to how I feel about Magdalena. I think the other significant thing about Bridget's novel is that Magdalena is not just the protagonist but is also the narrator. As my students could tell you if they paid any attention at all, I'm fascinated by questions about narrators, particularly the reliability of narrators. Clearly, Magdalena is not at all reliable as a narrator. This is made clear to us even in the opening section, titled "The Story Problem," when the passage of time is so obviously skewed. Magdalena herself has no clear sense of how much time has passed as she bobs in the ocean. In fact, her attempt at constructing a narrative as she experiences hypothermia reminds me of Victor Frankenstein, an infamously unreliable narrator, as he too is pulled aboard a boat and makes the always perilous, dangerous attempt at reducing personal experience to simple narrative. Magdalena admits her tendency towards hyperbole, towards melodrama, and we see her repeatedly manipulating others, particularly those she claims to love the most. Given all this, we, as readers, are faced with the particularly challenging task of sorting out which threads of her narrative to chose to believe, which to discard, and which to take with the many grains of salt that rim our margaritas. And I suppose that this too, both the spinning of story and the unspinning of story, is also part of L.A. but also part of the experience of being human. At the heart of Magdalena's story is her attempt to cope with the death of her brother. In some ways, this novel unfolds a bit like a mystery. We read to find out what really happened to Junah, her brother, and what Magdalena's part in his death truly is, for she clearly carries much guilt for his too-soon death. While Magdalena's character is, to some degree both metaphor and satire of Los Angeles, the writing of Junah and his tragedy allows Magdalena to be more than just these things. She has more depth than I might have expected because she is somehow redeemed by her devotion to her brother. And yet, I question even this, to some degree, although it breaks my heart a little to admit it. Because Magdalena is so manipulative and nasty, even towards those she cares about, because she seems to be existing right on the edge of sanity as she narrates this novel, because we question her in-touch-with-reality-ness, we also question her memories and perceptions, even her remembered relationship with Junah. In some ways, this is the real tragedy of Magdalena's story. This is Hoida's first novel, and if this is any indicator, we can expect much brilliance to come.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Florinda

    The construction of Bridget Hoida’s debut novel, So L.A., consciously mimics that of the art form for which the city is best known: the movies. The book’s five sections are “takes,” the chapter titles would be appropriate to a screenplay, the physical descriptions are vivid and detailed, and the acknowledgements pages are (cleverly, I thought) presented in the style of film credits. And like some movies, the tone veers abruptly from comic to dramatic, and from down-to-earth to “what planet is th The construction of Bridget Hoida’s debut novel, So L.A., consciously mimics that of the art form for which the city is best known: the movies. The book’s five sections are “takes,” the chapter titles would be appropriate to a screenplay, the physical descriptions are vivid and detailed, and the acknowledgements pages are (cleverly, I thought) presented in the style of film credits. And like some movies, the tone veers abruptly from comic to dramatic, and from down-to-earth to “what planet is this?”--it’s frustrating at times, and you wonder what it might have been if it had just settled down. But it’s compulsively watchable (or in this case, readable), and there’s enough good stuff in it that you’ll be interested to see what this writer/director does next. Los Angeles is a city whose biggest industry is built on make-believe (and yes, that includes “reality” TV) and whose related mythology is based on self-reinvention, and Hoida’s Magdalena de la Cruz seems to be embracing it. She inhabits the glittery, status-conscious, idle-rich world that both promotes and feeds that myth--the “L.A.” that many people who know this city only from its entertainment products may think is the real thing, but that relatively few of its residents ever approach. Unlike many, Magdalena didn’t come here to act; she and her husband Ricky struck it rich in bottled water, and they moved from their home in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley to cultivate this prime market. But there’s no question that during most of the time they’ve lived in Southern California, Magdalena has been acting out--transforming herself physically and behaviorally--driven by deep emotional conflicts perpetuated by the sudden death of her beloved brother two years earlier. The sources of Magdalena’s conflicts are gradually revealed; they’re also responsible for the novel’s frequent tonal shifts, which I confess aggravated me at times. At one point I decided Magdalena just might be an unreliable narrator--I’m not completely sure Hoida intended her to be (although there are some self-aware passages suggesting that she did), but I enjoyed the novel more once I stopped fully trusting what the Bridget Hoida shows talent and promise as a novelist, but So L.A. is a bit of a misfit. It seems to want to be a lightweight, breezy beach read, but it’s got a bit too much darkness and complexity underneath for that. I found it a sometimes frustrating, deeply moving in spots, occasionally nonsensical, and consistently interesting...come to think of it, it really might be pretty L.A. itself.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    This book talks about all of the stuff that I hate about L.A. I've only been once and it definitely was not my favorite place. I'm definitely an East Coast girl, who would be driven crazy by being in LA-LA-Land. I wouldn't last that long. This book is definitely about the darker side of L.A. Hoida's L.A. is not glamorous. It's actually sort of dark, especially for the main character. The main character is great. Magdalena is fascinating. She comes to L.A. with her husband, Ricky, as an idealistic This book talks about all of the stuff that I hate about L.A. I've only been once and it definitely was not my favorite place. I'm definitely an East Coast girl, who would be driven crazy by being in LA-LA-Land. I wouldn't last that long. This book is definitely about the darker side of L.A. Hoida's L.A. is not glamorous. It's actually sort of dark, especially for the main character. The main character is great. Magdalena is fascinating. She comes to L.A. with her husband, Ricky, as an idealistic young woman. The couple owns a designer bottle water company that starts out with very good intentions and turns into something completely different, much like the owners themselves. Magdalena throws herself into becoming the ideal L.A. lady (read: blonde, blingy, and large...uh... assets) after her brother dies in her accident. She's lost. This is definitely a case where the character in the book is not very likeable (I wanted to shake Magdalena so many times and tell her to wake-up) but you feel for them so much that you care about them. I really wanted Magdalena to change and for things to work out for her. She's just spiraling out of control throughout most of the book. I know that it's hard to see if you are the one that is spiraling out of control but I wish someone would have stepped in. Magdalena is surrounded by people who are totally oblivious though and really doesn't have anyone "real" in her life. There's no one to be her sounding board. There's no one who gives her a sense of reason. There's no best friend or lover to take her aside and get her help. It made me even sadder for her. I also really liked the writing. Hoida has a very interesting way of writing. It's both sharp and lyrical at the same time. It's sort of hard to describe. I loved the way that the chapters were broken up. In a way, they almost feel like Magdalena is actually having a conversation with you, going back ever so often to tell you a back story or a little bit more information so you can really get what's being said. Magdalena's character is also very snarky and sarcastic and that definitely shines through in the writing. Bottom line: This is a gritty picture of a woman fumbling towards trying to find her place in the world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sky

    Facebook.com/TheBooknatics http://thebooknatic.wordpress.com/201... (edited feb 22 2013) I want to start off by mentioning how much I love this cover. By far, the prettiest on my shelf. It's a racy, realistic, heart wrenching story about a girl from a quiet California town who made it big with her husband in Hollywood's favorite bottled water industry. Though, with the loss of her brother, the five stages of mourning drives her into foolishness. She realizes she's tried so hard to be like everyone Facebook.com/TheBooknatics http://thebooknatic.wordpress.com/201... (edited feb 22 2013) I want to start off by mentioning how much I love this cover. By far, the prettiest on my shelf. It's a racy, realistic, heart wrenching story about a girl from a quiet California town who made it big with her husband in Hollywood's favorite bottled water industry. Though, with the loss of her brother, the five stages of mourning drives her into foolishness. She realizes she's tried so hard to be like everyone else in L.A.-plastic and fake with no morals- and begins to feel as if she's undeserving of all her success and great new life. She begins to over-think things, causing her to act out in absurd ways. This is a first point of view into a womans life who yearns to see the light of who she used to be once again, and shed the superficial-mask she's been hiding behind for so long. Through insanity, infidelity, and other events, Magdalena finally breaks free of the obstacles of life, getting a grip on her life and finding happiness in the small things. The ending, ohhh the ending. I won't dare spoil it, but she definitely reclaimed herself. A true, realistic. bitter sweet happily ever after-of it's own magical way, that is - If you ask me, with all the chaos that stirred in this book, the ending is how any story like this should resolve in real life. I really enjoyed the main character, for all her flaws, for her honest opinions, for everything she wanted to be, so many layers to this character. Hoida hits life lessons on the spot. I really did enjoy this book, the author did a fantastic job with a refreshing and creative approach of telling a story. There were times I was laughing, times I teared up, and times I really just wanted to reach through the pages and slap the main character around and yell " DON'T! STOP! You're so much better than that!" Hoida really held on to my attention, got me so wrapped up that I found myself needing to re-adjust to my surroundings a few times and gather myself! I hope to see more work from this talented beauty in the near future! Thank you for such a mesmerizing story!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    At first glance So L.A. might draw you in with its gorgeous cover. It might entice you with its chick-lit feel. However I can promise you that what is in these pages is so much more than that. A mixture of dry satirical humor, and a no-holds-barred look at the culture that is L.A., this is a story that is hard to define. What I can say, is that it is brilliant. I think it's fitting that I read this book while sitting in a 60 story sky rise in Downtown L.A. Overlooking the hub of the busiest parts At first glance So L.A. might draw you in with its gorgeous cover. It might entice you with its chick-lit feel. However I can promise you that what is in these pages is so much more than that. A mixture of dry satirical humor, and a no-holds-barred look at the culture that is L.A., this is a story that is hard to define. What I can say, is that it is brilliant. I think it's fitting that I read this book while sitting in a 60 story sky rise in Downtown L.A. Overlooking the hub of the busiest parts of Wilshire Boulevard. This is the setting that Hoida chooses for her book, and it works wonders with Magdalena's story. From small town girl, to big city business owner, Magdalena's point of view is a fresh and honest take of the high society that is Beverly Hills. Her life is by no means perfect. Sure, she has the perfect shoes, the perfect house and even the perfect nose. She soon finds though, that all those things don't add up to a happy life. It's honestly hard to like Magdalena because of how exasperating she can be sometimes. She is definitely a character that you want to save and slap in equal measures. Trying, and failing, to cope with the death of her brother is all that Magdalena does the majority of the book. However, it's definitely true to life. She tries to fill the gap with things, with fake people, with fake smiles. All the time falling deeper and deeper into the craziness that her life has become. In the end So L.A. is about hiding from oneself. About changing what is on the outside to try to compensate for what's on the inside. I won't say that Magdalena's story is happy. It does show how easy it is to fall into a life that isn't your own. About how easy it is to feel lost, but hide it from the outside world. Briget Hoida's book may look like chick-lit at first glance, but it's infinitely more than that. I loved it, and I think you will too.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    So L.A. exists in the thin space between exploring the culture of Los Angeles and exposing it, maybe passing off small judgments but never offering outright condemnation, at most snickering behind the fake-tanned back of the city’s inhabitants. Because it’s not about what L.A. is to her proudest citizens, but what it is to an outsider using its artifices to hide from herself. It’s the story of grief, glitzed and glamorized. The narrator is in the middle of grieving for and not really recovering f So L.A. exists in the thin space between exploring the culture of Los Angeles and exposing it, maybe passing off small judgments but never offering outright condemnation, at most snickering behind the fake-tanned back of the city’s inhabitants. Because it’s not about what L.A. is to her proudest citizens, but what it is to an outsider using its artifices to hide from herself. It’s the story of grief, glitzed and glamorized. The narrator is in the middle of grieving for and not really recovering from the loss of her brother, battling her own feelings of guilt at the expense of her business and her marriage, immersing herself in the alien, uncomfortable culture of L.A., and transforming herself (literally physically) into a version of that alienness in an attempt to distance herself from her loss. The psychological realism of the grief is impeccable, nailing the ups and downs of the emotions, especially considering the particular form of death involved, the fall in all its incomprehensibility. The little moments of coping (or failing to cope) rang true in a fulfillingly uncomfortable way. In the end it’s a story about hiding from oneself, and that’s a theme that applies beyond the personal tragedy of the novel, something we’ve all been familiar with since the time we first wanted a pair of cool shoes or the latest hairstyle. The novel works within itself and expands beyond itself, and ends with a sentence perfectly designed to both satisfy and leave you longing. Because what’s one without the other?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    So L.A. is a book that can probably be interpreted many ways, depending on how you want to view Magdalena. For me, I saw her as a very fractured heroine and she was probably broken long before she got to L.A. She's not what you'd expect her to be, but then again, none of the characters are. She's part of a water empire, only she's not really working at that, her husband, Ricky is. She's busy doing nothing, or rather the nothing that are L.A. things, shopping, changing her body and face etc. On to So L.A. is a book that can probably be interpreted many ways, depending on how you want to view Magdalena. For me, I saw her as a very fractured heroine and she was probably broken long before she got to L.A. She's not what you'd expect her to be, but then again, none of the characters are. She's part of a water empire, only she's not really working at that, her husband, Ricky is. She's busy doing nothing, or rather the nothing that are L.A. things, shopping, changing her body and face etc. On top of all of that, she's grieving the loss of her brother who died in a rock climbing accident that was partially her fault. Magdalena's story is told in scenes, like a script but in prose form. Its very easy to read and it can be devoured like candy in one sitting. What draws you in his Magdalena. She's "So L.A." in all she does, from stalking her shrink to crashing a vintage Vette into a billboard. Readers won't identify with her, I mean how many of us have a million dollar water empire and can afford boob jobs? But they will feel sorry for her. She wants more. She really loves her husband, even though her marriage is crumbling for reasons other than the one she suspects. She's also a little bit crazy. Don't expect "chicklit" out of this book, because it really isn't that. It is satire disguised as chicklit! A worthy read for your couch or one of the last days at the beach, unless of course you are in CA!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    A very contemporary novel with a witty, jaded and volatile narrator in Magdalena who must cope with her feeling of guilt over the death of her brother Junah, and her growing estrangement with her husband Ricky. Magdalena wins you over with her fast-paced narrative voice, even as you shake your head over her self-destructive behavior. Magdalena participates in the unique pageantry of the Angeleno elite (cosmetic surgery, disposable cars, alcohol on tap at all times) and yet her commentary can be A very contemporary novel with a witty, jaded and volatile narrator in Magdalena who must cope with her feeling of guilt over the death of her brother Junah, and her growing estrangement with her husband Ricky. Magdalena wins you over with her fast-paced narrative voice, even as you shake your head over her self-destructive behavior. Magdalena participates in the unique pageantry of the Angeleno elite (cosmetic surgery, disposable cars, alcohol on tap at all times) and yet her commentary can be derisive and self-mocking, and all this is juxtaposed by well-placed flashbacks of Magdalena's more wholesome family life, and her life with her husband before they started a successful business. The poignancy of Magdalena's grief and her struggle to understand the direction of her life provide the main drama in this book. I was drawn into the story by the writing style of the author which is brilliant and vivid - the author has great ability in fleshing out her characters in words. The sometimes outrageously decadent behavior of the characters can be tiresome, as I think may be the point, and Magdalena's neurosis can also be grating as the novel goes on, but the resolution of all the plot threads is marvelously well done. I am perhaps not the best target audience for this story, people who are interested in flawed characters and how they work through their problems, as well as contemporary reads will find much to enjoy in this novel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    PB Rippey

    She's tall (way tall), she's blonde, she's surgically enhanced, obscenely wealthy and moves in elite circles in Los Angeles. But here's the thing about Magdalena de la Cruz: she's the far, far, polar opposite of the stereotypical materialistic Beverly Hills blonde she insists on hiding behind. No matter how she tries to numb her vicious thoughts with gin or(sometimes hilarious) self-destructive choices, no matter how much of her face or her body she alters, whether she stands up straight or slou She's tall (way tall), she's blonde, she's surgically enhanced, obscenely wealthy and moves in elite circles in Los Angeles. But here's the thing about Magdalena de la Cruz: she's the far, far, polar opposite of the stereotypical materialistic Beverly Hills blonde she insists on hiding behind. No matter how she tries to numb her vicious thoughts with gin or(sometimes hilarious) self-destructive choices, no matter how much of her face or her body she alters, whether she stands up straight or slouches there's simply no getting away from Magdalena for Magdalena. The smarts and sensitivity working beneath all that blonde hair and money make for a grand, twisting tale and we are in good hands with Bridget Hoida. The writing is effective, moving between crisp and lush, witty and--providing some of the most beautiful passages in the book--utterly captivating whenever Magdalena reminisces about her late brother Junah. Bridget Hoida knows and loves her Golden State and she does it justice in SO L.A. From the Central Valley to Malibu, she makes the landscape come alive, providing a believable, diverse backdrop for her troubled heroine. Magdalena's journey amuses, hurts, and rivets as she battles inner demons in glitzy pockets of La La Land. We fear for her personal safety, she both shocks and upsets us, and, ultimately, she's a force we root for because even at her most crazy, rhinestone-gluing, gin-swilling, capsizing self, she's genuine, her grief ringing true.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cherry (_forevermint)

    Note: received this book through a goodreads giveaway. After having this book for months, I finally decided to give it a go when the cover caught my eye just as I was about to pack it away into a cardboard box. I thought I would only read a few pages, but two days later and here I am writing a review. What I enjoyed the most out of this book is how realistic everything felt; Bridget Hoida's writing voice is definitely entertaining and witty. She did a great job making the characters believable an Note: received this book through a goodreads giveaway. After having this book for months, I finally decided to give it a go when the cover caught my eye just as I was about to pack it away into a cardboard box. I thought I would only read a few pages, but two days later and here I am writing a review. What I enjoyed the most out of this book is how realistic everything felt; Bridget Hoida's writing voice is definitely entertaining and witty. She did a great job making the characters believable and relatable. Entertaining and fun overall.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings What a book, definitely a different take on life on Los Angeles and maybe not the prettiest look at it. The reader is taken on a loopy journey through life in LA with Magdalena as the tour guide. Magdalena is trying to cope with the loss of her sibling, a marriage that is falling apart and a loss of interest in her job.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

    Dumb

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robyne

    I couldn't put it down. I was so involved in the story, I would carry it with me everywhere in the event of a few minutes to delve back in to Magdalena's life. Sad to see it end... I couldn't put it down. I was so involved in the story, I would carry it with me everywhere in the event of a few minutes to delve back in to Magdalena's life. Sad to see it end...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  17. 5 out of 5

    Reema

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ron Burch

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tara Redman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lily Salter

    Snappy prose, eccentric characters, and well, So L.A. Take this book to the beach and dive in!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Webster-Hein

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Meyer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gerard

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Piazza

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyria

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    lreader

  30. 4 out of 5

    Prettypinkponies

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