Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler, $11.

 

Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler's best-selling novel about a young woman navigating the New York restaurant world was recently made into a Starz original series. Though the adaption was only based on the first 50 pages of the book, it was the perfect prelude to the remaining 306 pages—pulling you in and just begging you to read on. I was sucked in.

Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant Union Square Cafe. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen rather naively. The story of a young woman's coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures a nonstop and high-adrenaline world and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift. 

 
Jessica Inci