book cover of Social Engagement
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Social Engagement

(2023)
A novel by

 
 
"If you’re looking for a page-turner with some bite, this one’s for you." —theSkimm

"If your summer 2023 calendar is booked with weddings, bridal showers, and bachelorettes, you'll appreciate this novel that cleverly explores the darker side of the wedding industrial complex and all the ways it manifests online." —Harper's Bazaar

A bitingly sharp and darkly humorous debut novel exploring millennial wedding culture, class, and relationships, all filtered through the ever-present lens of social media.

In an opulent honeymoon suite in Watch Hill, Rhode Island’s most desirable wedding venue, 29-year-old Callie Holt is spending her wedding night lying in a bathtub shoveling down a pizza; her expensive white dress now splattered with sauce and her groom passed out in the next room. With her seven-hour-old marriage already imploded, Callie turns to the place of record – her phone – sifting through the photographic evidence of the past year to pinpoint where it all went wrong.

Could it have started when Callie moved in with her best friend, Virginia Murphy, in the swanky Upper East Side pied-à-terre for which Virginia’s parents foot the bill? Or when Virginia’s irritatingly attractive cousin (and Callie’s secret ex) Ollie returned from pursuing his photography career abroad, throwing a wrench in Callie’s relationship with her kind (if a bit dim) finance bro boyfriend, Whit? Or was the true turning point when Callie stumbled upon a dark secret lurking in the Murphys’ well-heeled past, one with the potential to upend everything Callie knows about the people she considers her second family?

Over the course of one wedding-filled year, all these long-simmering secrets and resentments will come bubbling to the surface, leading to a reckoning that will strip Callie and everyone around her down to their most gruesomely real, filter-free selves. As Callie attends wedding after wedding, getting tagged in post after post, she begins to contemplate—and actualize through her own art—the gulf between the true selves of the people around her and the selves they present on their screens.



Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Like a candy-colored wedding favor with a daringly dark center, Avery Carpenter Forrey's Social Engagement is as mordant and incisive as it is utterly delectable. And its growing emotional heft makes it linger long after its bittersweet final pages." - Megan Abbott

"In clever, taut prose exploring our obsession with the tiny screens that shape our stories, Social Engagement somehow feels both modern and timeless - in exposing the ugly (yet universal) parts of ourselves we prefer to hide, Forrey reveals the ways in which we try, and try again, to love ourselves - and other people - properly. A thought-provoking debut with an unsettlingly relatable protagonist you'll wish you could include in your group chat." - Caitlin Barasch

"I picked up SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT to read one chapter and didn't put it down until I finished it later that night. This novel is a masterful and sharp exploration of friendship, family, class, and social media. Forrey's debut is twisty and absorbing, full of family secrets and millennial weddings, and you won't want to miss it!" - Jennifer Close

"I can't remember the last time I read a book that so perfectly captures the humor, absurdity, and anguish of how we live now. Avery Carpenter Forrey's prose will cut you to the bone - it's wickedly funny, and keenly observant about matters ranging from real estate to Instagram to the perils of the wedding industrial complex. This is an astounding debut." - Grant Ginder

"Avery Carpenter Forrey's Social Engagement is a bitingly funny, acutely self-aware coming-of-age story about growing up on the edge of the inside, close enough to feel the allure of money and power but not enough to be stupefied or protected by it. A wedding novel that begins after the glass is broken and the wedding dress is stained, I raced through it to find out how the champagne-drenched pieces would come together." - Isabel Kaplan

"Unputdownable and razor-sharp, Social Engagement is an addictive ride through the ultra-relatable highs and lows of a woman navigating millennial wedding culture and her own path to love and meaning in a screen-filled world. Forrey's is a fresh new voice in fiction that effuses wit and heart in equal measure; I joyfully devoured her stunning debut." - Carola Lovering

"A witty and addictive behind-the-scenes account of today's highly curated and hashtagged wedding world. Clear your weekend and prepare to fall in love with this delicious debut." - Lauren Weisberger


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