Girls They Write Songs About by Carlene Bauer – Book Review

Title: Girls They Write Songs About

Author: Carlene Bauer

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Magpie

Publication Date: 7th July 2022

Rating: 4.5/5



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.


Female friendship is one of my favourite book topics so that plus its setting of 1990’s New York made Girls They Write Songs About a must read for me, and it didn’t disappoint! The story follows Charlotte and Rose, who meet as young women at the music magazine they both work for. the novel charts their lives as they experience all the touchstones of growing up and as their friendship threatens to fracture.

I loved the way Girls They Write Songs About has been written. It is in some ways a sort of stream of consciousness, with a sharp, staccato cadence to it that works perfectly for the story. The early years of Charlotte and Rose’s friendship were, for me, the most compelling and I loved all the literary and cultural references. It covers the best and worst aspects of an intense friendship with an intelligence that leaps off the page and in a way that feels achingly real. I would highly recommend!


I very kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

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