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Laura Hankin Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Summertime Girls (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Happy and You Know It (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Laura Hankin is a performer and author from New York City is best known for her work in theater and her young adult fiction novels. Hankin has worked at “The Pit” and is the co-founder of “Feminarchy,” a feminist comedy duo that had been featured in a variety of publications such as “The New York Times,” “The Huffington Post” and “Funny or Die” among many other publications. She is the writer, producer, and star of the comedy group that has performed around New York. Hankin has also acted in random internet videos, on stage and on film in the movie “While We’re Young.” As a member of the New York City Children’s Theatre, she has performed in several theatrical pieces including “The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess” and “Wanda’s Monster.” The Princeton educated Washington D.C. native became an author with the publishing of “The Summertime Girls” in 2015 that she then followed up with “Happy & You Know It.”

Hankin made her name as an actress but has asserted that she always loved writing and knew she wanted to write. In the second grade, Laura wrote a short story that she showed to everyone who cared though reading it years later, she said a lot of embarrassing things about her family. It was while she was going through her old things that she found an old to-do list she had compiled in high school. Laura had made a promise to become a novelist but never had the time to write anything until she graduated from college and got frustrated with having to wait for other people to guide her creativity. At that time she was living in NYC and working on becoming an actor and hence auditions were the name of the game. She would go out and audition for thirty seconds then go back to babysit for some money. Laura wanted a creative outlet as she felt that she was going insane. She had always been a voracious reader and was always writing the fan fiction in her head though it never occurred to her to try her hand at writing until things got really bad. She had learned a lot about combining adventure, sadness, humor and the creation of go-getter female characters from her favorite childhood book “Ella Enchanted” and thought that she could try something similar. She also cites the influence of “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith for its level of detail, a realistic but charming protagonist. Other influences on her writing include “On Writing” by Stephen King, and authors such as Jennifer Weiner, Meg Wolitzer, and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Laura Hankin’s debut novel “Summertime Girls” was inspired by the relationships she had with her friends. Most of her friends were people she had known since they were kids. In many instances, she had to adjust these friendships when they got out of high school and college, given that they had all changed a lot. “The Summertime Girls” was the realization and coming out of the childhood notion that friendships and relationships were forever. It was also a realization that to keep friendships going requires a lot of work and that rough patches are inevitable though friendships that survive are all the more worth the work. Her ideas formed the initial idea and Laura has asserted that she often felt the frustration of creativity like one of her leads. She also had some tension with some of her childhood friends though the events in the novels are not exact replicas of her experience. It took more than a year to write her manuscripts and then a few months before the novel was published by Berkley in 2015. In an interview, she said that the favorite part of the publishing process was walking in Fort Tryon Park near her home in northern Manhattan, where she would plot out scenes and flesh out her characters.

Hankins’s “The Summertime Girls” is a compelling read about Beth Abbott and Ally Morris who have been best friends since childhood. They thought themselves the reenactment of the sisters from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” But expectations do not always transfer into reality as the circumstances will sometimes ask that each young woman take a different path to fulfill their destiny. At the opening of the novel, Beth and Ally have not seen each other for nearly a decade since Beth had moved away after she found a job in Haiti. Ally had been hurt by the fact that her friend had gone from being her close confidant who she talked with every day to become a stranger. It had started with regular communication fizzling out before finally becoming a deathly silence she could not fathom. They now meet again and reminisce about their past as they flesh out what had been happening in their lives when they had been apart. However, the familiarity is gone as playful comments that in the past would have been let go are now quickly apologized for, if they are deemed the least unpalatable. Through the reconciling of the two women, the author tells an interesting story as the secrets and ambitions of the two women are brought to light.

Laura Hankin’s “Happy & You Know It” is a witty and dark page-turner about a young musician named Claire and a group of wealthy mothers from New York. The musician finds work singing to their children but it is not long before she finds herself deep in their dangerous secrets and glamorous lives. Claire’s former band had finally made it big after she left, while she struggles to make a living being playgroup musician for the rich kids of Park Avenue. She thought she would hate her new employers but is surprised that she quickly falls for them since they share an addiction to wellness and welcoming attitudes. Her friend Whitney is a perfect hostess and is just on the cusp of social media stardom though her life is also on the brink of falling apart. Amara is an acerbically funny woman who recently became a stay at home mum and does not like it at all. Gwen is a veteran mom from old money but who is always ready with a dose of parenting advice to all and sundry. But as she becomes a close confidant of the women that pay her to look after their children, she realizes that there are betrayals and secrets that not even activated charcoal could cure. Full of shocking twists and humor, it is a brilliant story that explores the magnetism of curated social media lives that destroy the self-esteem of others who feel not so lucky. But it is also a beautiful take on motherhood and the power that can be unlocked by friendship during times of vulnerability.

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