Sweetbitter meets The Firm in this buzzy, page-turning debut novel—already optioned to Netflix—about sex and power in the halls of corporate America.
Alex Vogel has always been a high achiever who lived her life by the book—star student and athlete in high school, prelaw whiz in college, Harvard Law School degree. Accepting a dream offer at the prestigious Manhattan law firm of Klasko & Fitch, she promises her sweet and supportive longtime boyfriend that the job won’t change her. Yet Alex is seduced by the firm’s money and energy . . . and by her cocksure male colleagues, who quickly take notice of the new girl. She’s never felt so confident and powerful—even the innuendo-laced banter with clients feels fun. In the firm’s most profitable and competitive division, Mergers and Acquisitions, Alex works around the clock, racking up billable hours and entertaining clients late into the evening. While the job is punishing, it has its perks, like a weekend trip to Miami, a ride in a client’s private jet, and more expense-account meals than she can count.
But as her clients’ expectations and demands on her increase, and Alex finds herself magnetically drawn to a handsome coworker despite her loving relationship at home, she begins to question everything—including herself. She knows the corporate world isn’t black and white, and that to reach the top means playing by different rules. But who made those rules? And what if the system rigged so that women can’t win, anyway?
When something happens that reveals the dark reality of the firm, Alex comes to understand the ways women like her are told—explicitly and implicitly—how they need to behave to succeed in the workplace. Now, she can no longer stand by silently—even if doing what’s right means putting everything on the line to expose the shocking truth.
Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Either you’re going to be perfect or you’re going to be alive. Can’t be both.
› There’s something about lawyers / courtroom settings that really intrigues me. I’ve had my eyes on this once since it was first put on NetGalley, and I immediately requested it.
› The beginning of the book is actually really good. It starts off with her getting ready for her first day at the new law firm, and she can’t decide what to wear. It’s also very clear that her boyfriend, Sam, doesn’t 100% support her. He definitely hesitates in the support department. After her first day, she questions whether she even wants to be a lawyer. It’s mainly because she made a lot of mistakes, such as accidentally calling 911.
› Once she moves up to M&A, the book completely changes. I still turned the pages because it continued to keep me interested, but Alex managed to get on my very last nerve. She tries to get into M&A for the wrong reasons. She does it to prove she’s “better” at the job than Carmen—another new girl at the firm that Alex went to law school with. Given, Carmen wasn’t always good to Alex. That’s what I got out of it, anyway. That feeling went away as she got to know the men in the firm. She became a morally gray character, which doesn’t make or break a book for me, but she wasn’t an interesting one. She just cheats on her boyfriend with a man who sleeps around. That’s a hard no for me.
› There is quite a bit of sexual harassment / assault in this book, which didn’t surprise me. Of course, the egotistical men of the novel made it seem like Alex had to endure it.
I watched his lips moving, and in a crystal-clear moment, I saw it: my cheating with a serial adulterer, my assault by a rich scumbag, my entire existence in corporate America, was just so . . . typical.
› It becomes clear to her that she doesn’t have to put up with it, but that happens at the end of the novel. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t have the type of ending I expected. I didn’t really know where the book was going when I started it. It’s not one that has a clear end in sight. I will say that there’s no justice, but there is a glimmer of hope and determination. That’s all I’ll say about that. That doesn’t mean that I enjoyed the ending. I thought it was on the cheaper side, and it didn’t make the novel anymore interesting. It just didn’t seem to fit with the tone of the book.
› One last note about what’s inside: Gary Kaplan can take a long walk off a short pier. Thank you and goodnight. 🙂
› I didn’t have any issues with the writing style. I wouldn’t mind reading another novel by Katz. I believe she’s also involved in law. I can’t confirm or deny that the information about law is right or wrong, as I am not a lawyer. I will say that the jargon went right over my head, as I had expected.
› Would I recommend this one? Sure. I know a lot of people enjoyed it.
Triggers: cheating, lying, sexual assault / harassment, drugs.
Erica Katz is the pseudonym for a graduate of Columbia Law School who began her career at a major Manhattan law firm. A native of New Jersey, she now lives in New York City, where she’s employed at another large law firm. The Boys’ Club is her first novel.
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