Mlynowski, Sarah 1977(?)-
Mlynowski, Sarah 1977(?)-
Born c. 1977, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; married. Education: McGill University, B.A. (English).
Writer. Harlequin Publishers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, formerly worked in marketing.
Milkrun, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Fishbowl, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
As Seen on TV, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Monkey Business, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
Me vs. Me, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
Bras and Broomsticks, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2005.
Frogs and French Kisses, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2006.
Spells and Sleeping Bags, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2007.
(Editor with Lauren Henderson and Chris Manby, and contributor) Girls' Night In, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
(Editor with Carole Matthews and Chris Manby, and contributor) Girls' Night Out (fiction anthology) Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
(With Farrin Jacobs) See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit, Quirk, 2006.
Contributor of short fiction to anthologies, including 21 Proms, Sixteen: Stories about That Sweet and Bitter Birthday, and American Girls about Town.
Bras and Broomsticks was adapted as an audiobook, read by Aradne Meyers, Listening Library, 2005, and was optioned as a feature film by Fox 2000. Author's short story "Know It All" was considered for film adaptation.
Sarah Mlynowski began her career writing what has come to be known as "chick lit": novels that focus on the emotional lives, loves, relationships, and careers of contemporary younger women. Aimed at young women just starting out on their own, her first two books—both published while the author was herself in her early twenties—were fresh, stylish romances geared for a fashion-and media-oriented generation. "I love exploring and satirizing the anxieties of today's twentysomething woman," Mlynowski told Heartstrings contributor Lori A. May with regard to these books. While she has continued her focus on chick lit—Mlynowski shares her
knowledge of the popular genre in the nonfiction title See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit—she has also moved into young-adult fiction with the novels Bras and Broomsticks, Frogs and French Kisses, and Spells and Sleeping Bags.
Mlynowski was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she attended a Jewish high school. After graduating with a degree in English from McGill University, where she served as fiction editor for the school's literary journal and contributed a biweekly column to the newspaper, she got a job in Toronto, Ontario, in Harlequin's marketing department. Since the publication of Milkrun—the first novel published by Harlequin's Red Dress Ink imprint, which offers an alternative take on traditional romance novels—she has relocated to New York City, where she now writes full time.
Milkrun was described by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as an "entertaining debut" with "both humor and substance." The novel centers on the life of twenty-four-year-old Jackie, a copyeditor for a romance publishing company. Shortly after she relocates to Boston with her boyfriend, Jackie is told that her beloved intends to go on a long trip to Thailand—without her. She decides not to waste time being emotionally distraught about the breakup; instead, she resolves to get back out into the dating scene right away. She enlists the help of her friends, buys some sexy boots, and hangs out at a trendy singles bar called Orgasm; finding the right guy, though, turns out to be harder than Jackie ever expected. "Mlynowski is acutely aware of the plight of the twentysomething single woman," the Publishers Weekly reviewer noted. While finding Jackie "at times annoyingly neurotic," Booklist reviewer Kristine Huntley nonetheless described the young woman as "a likable heroine." Reviewers also admired Mlynowski's upbeat, offbeat style, May writing in Heartstrings that "her style of flirty dialogue and quick-wit narrative is both touching and humorous, hitting every beat dead on."
Mlynowski has followed Milkrun with several other chick-lit novels, including Fishbowl, Monkey Business, and Me vs. Me. In Fishbowl three strangers find themselves roommates when they enter a rental contract on an apartment in Toronto. Allie is a perky but naïve twenty-two year-old; Jodine is a perfectionistic law student; and Emma is a beautiful fashion editor's assistant with a penchant for partying. Although their personalities clash, the women must work together after a fire damages their kitchen and they need to earn money to cover the uninsured damage. A series of money-making schemes—including throwing parties at a local bar and presenting a "How to Pick Up Women" seminar—teach them about each other and also about themselves. "Mlynowski delivers a solid if formulaic roommate caper," a Publishers Weekly reviewer commented of Fishbowl, while a Scribes World online contributor noted that "personality clashes, fight scenes and sex make this a perfect book for the MTV generation."
Monkey Business introduces Kimmy, Jamie, Layla, and Russ, friends who meet in business school. Over the year, romantic entanglements form among Kimmy and Layla and the two young men, but time, career goals, and a growing maturity eventually cause the four to move on. The choice between the love of her life an a dream job in New York City is facing Arizona native Gabby Wolf in Me vs. Me—that, is, until something magical happens and Gabby can experience the lifestyle each choice would create for her. "The shifts in the group's loyalties and friendships … keep [Monkey Business] … fresh and riveting," noted Huntley in Booklist, the contributor also calling Me vs. Me "a clever look at what happens to one woman when her wish comes true."
Geared for a younger readership, Bras and Broomsticks takes place in New York City and introduces fourteen year old Rachel Weinstein. While she deals with typical adolescent concerns, Rachel has somewhat of an advantage over most teens: her younger sister, Miri, is a witch! Although Miri is still learning how to use her powers, with the help of the sisters' ultrabusy single mom—also a witch—Rachel gets the help she needs to win popularity at school and derail her divorced dad's impending marriage to a woman the sisters both dislike. Noting that the novel "offers plenty of laughs and some deliciously complicated predicaments," a Publishers Weekly contributor added that the sisters are realistic enough "to draw sympathy from readers and keep events interesting." "Rachel is sassy, self-absorbed, shy and insecure," wrote Booklist contributor Chris Sherman, the critic adding that "her concerns will be comfortably familiar to readers." In School Library Journal, Sarah Couri deemed Bras and Broomsticks "a breezy read that is sure to be popular."
A freshman in high school when readers reconnect with her in Frogs and French Kisses, Rachel hopes to win the love of the über-gorgeous Raf Kosravi. Of course, such a dream requires the help of her little sister, who is very much a novice when it comes to both love AND casting spells. Miri's work as an environmental caretaker, for example, creates several potential disasters,
and when Rachel seeks her aid, it is no surprise that nothing turns out as planned. Noting the novel's unexpected ending, Booklist contributor Jennifer Hubert wrote of Frogs and French Kisses that "Mlynowski's sassy text surpasses a chick-lit label by being wonderfully fast-paced and clever." "Less frantic and more mature than Bras and Broomsticks," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, the second novel in the series finds "Mlynowski's prose style … improved without sacrificing any humor." The sisters' saga continues in Spells and Sleeping Bags, which finds the two sisters summering at Camp Wood Lake, where Rachel uncovers some powers of her own.
Discussing the inspiration for her characters, Mlynowski noted on her home page: "My ideas come from everyday feelings and experiences. For example, [Bras and Broomsticks] … was based on my little sister Aviva. Unfortunately, not the witchcraft part. What inspired the book is the always complicated love, jealousy, and pride involved in a sister relationship…. In my opinion, the key to writing is to take what you know and go wild with it."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 15, 2001, Kristine Huntley, review of Milkrun, p. 708; October 1, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of Fishbowl, p. 305; September 15, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of As Seen on TV, p. 224; September 15, 2004, review of Monkey Business, p. 224; January 1, 2005, Chris Sherman, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 846; July 1, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of Me vs Me, p. 40, and Jennifer Hubert, review of Frogs and French Kisses, p. 51.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2005, Timnah Card, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 221.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 123; May 1, 2006, review of Frogs and French Kisses, p. 463.
Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Stacey Rae Brownlie, review of See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit, p. 99.
Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2001, review of Milkrun, p. 34; August 26, 2002, "One of the Most Successful Authors at Harlequin's ‘Chick Lit’ Imprint," p. 13; October 28, 2002, review of Fishbowl, pp. 52-53; August 23, 2004, review of Girls' Night In, p. 37; February 7, 2005, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 60.
School Library Journal, September, 2006, Kelly Czarnecki, review of Frogs and French Kisses, p. 212; January, 2005, Sarah Couri, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 134; September, 2006, Marcie Mann, review of See Jane Write, p. 233.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2005, Julie Scordato, review of Bras and Broomsticks, p. 497.
Sarah Mlynowski Home Page,http://www.sarahmlynowski.com (May 15, 2007).
Heartstrings,http://romanticfiction.tripod.com/ (October 15, 2002), Lori A. May, review of Milkrun and interview with Mlynowski.
Red Dress Ink Web site,http://www.reddressink.com/ (May 31, 2003), interview with Mlynowski.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 15, 2007), Christine Chambers, review of Milkrun; Samantha J. Gust, review of Fishbowl.
Scribes World,http://www.scribesworld.com/ (May 31, 2003), review of Fishbowl.