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Imprint: Magpie

Subject: General Fiction

Girls They Write Songs About

Carlene Bauer


‘The instant feminist classic our generation has been waiting for’ Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can’t Sleep

A fabulous power ballad to female friendship, Girls They Write Songs About is a thrumming, searching novel about the bonds that shape us more than any love affair

Rose and Charlotte arrive in 1990s New York, fresh out of university and fizzing with ambition. When they end up working at the same music magazine, Charlotte – earnest, bookish – is wary of brash, outspoken Rose. But hesitancy soon gives way to a unique friendship that will change both girls forever.

Determined to take advantage of every day in this exasperating, jubilant city, their lives become entirely entwined. Together they find love and lose it, hit their strides and stumble, see each other through marriages, motherhood, divorces, career glories and catastrophes. But what happens when your lives start to fall out of sync? What does it mean to give up on the dreams that held a friendship together?

As smart and comic as it is gloriously exuberant, Girls They Write Songs About takes a timeless story and turns it into a pulsing, wrecking, clear-eyed tale of two friends reckoning with the lives they’ve chosen, and the countless ways all the women they’ve known have made them who they are.  

  • Publication date: July 7, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861544691
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication date: July 7, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861544707
  • RRP: £6.99
  • Pages: 320


'Wise, witty, atmospheric and layered. I absolutely loved this book and I am desperate for my friends to read it.'

Katie Allen, author of Everything Happens for a Reason

'The conundrums Bauer’s characters must address as they juggle freedom, feminism, love and art are involving, and it’s easy to imagine a Greta Gerwig-esque big-screen take.' 

Daily Mail

'The instant feminist classic our generation has been waiting for.'

Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can't Sleep

'Excellent – strange and artful, full of texture and feeling – reads like a Sentimental Education for our time.'

Vivian Gornick, author of Unfinished Business

'Bauer's third book reveals a sharpened eye for social detail and a Laurie Colwin-esque ear for dialogue.'

New York Times

'Charlotte's narration rings true for the discerning writer and editor she is; the prose is razor-sharp and utterly devoid of clutter... With deftness and candor, Bauer tells a moving and thoughtful story of how desire and ambition change over time and how to make sense of the messiness of carving out a path and life of one's own. A smart and beautifully rendered portrait of two women's lives.'

Kirkus (starred review)

'The current crush of '90s nostalgia finds novel form in Carlene Bauer's heady, intimate tale of two young women who meet in the halcyon days of a New York music-magazine career circa 1997 – then turns its focus to all that follows when the coming-of-age glow gives way, inevitably, to the deeper shades and complications of grown adulthood.'

Entertainment Weekly

'Finally, a book that stirs up the fire, hilarity, heartache and powerplant energy of female friendships. Remember how it felt to be young and invincible in New York City? Remember the friends who showed up at your gorgeously gritty apartment bearing new and sparkling worlds? Girls They Write Songs About carries the giddy, smart, shouted exuberance of free, young women right up and into the questions that haunt us as we grow: how, oh how, did I get here?'

Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book

'A fantastically vivid story about feminism and friendship.'

People Magazine

'Humour and feminist passion power Girls They Write Songs About. Charlotte, the book's narrator, a 'self-questioning mystic trapped in a late capitalist body,' damaged by her mother's unhappiness, forges a new family of intense female friendships and kinships with beloved dead female authors. A riot grrrl anthem of a novel, one that celebrates female longing, accomplishment and sisterhood while never forgetting the high stakes of our internal struggle to respect ourselves.'

Darcey Steinke, author of Flash Count Diary

'A tender and honest novel about the friendships—and friendship breakups—that shape people just as much as their romantic counterparts.'

Nylon, 'Must-Read Books of the Month'

Praise for Frances and Bernard:



Carlene Bauer

Carlene Bauer is the author of the memoir Not That Kind of Girl and the novel Frances and Bernard. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review of BooksVirginia Quarterly Reviewn+1The New York Times Book Review, and Elle. She lives in Brooklyn.

Author page

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