Novelist Jennifer Weiner has written about sisterly bonds ("In Her Shoes") and adventure ("Goodnight Nobody") in some of her books."The Guy Not Taken" combines some of the themes from her other books but at the same time focuses on heartbreak and independence.

"The Guy Not Taken," a book of short stories, was published by Washington Square Press, New York, N.Y.

After reading a kind of sad book the other month, "My Sister's Keeper," I thought I would turn to this book by Weiner, to a happier read. But as I continued on, I realized this book was not going to give me all of the sunshine I had yearned for.

The first story, "Just Desserts," introduces readers to siblings that deal with their parents' divorce.

The one girl, Nikki, reminds me of one of the sisters in "In Her Shoes" because she's carefree and a little on the lazy, prissy side.

The story does have its comical parts like when Nikki gets a job at Friendly's and gives her own spin to the coneheads sundaes: "Asphyixiated Conehead," Drooling Conehead," "Bloody Conehead," etc.

Another story, "Swim," showed a woman, Ruth, who shut people out and was constantly hurt because of a scar on her face from a car accident. Ruth spends her time swimming and helping teens get into college with essay writing.

She starts to write blurbs for dating web sites after a man approaches her in the same restaurant she meets one of the teens trying to get into college. Ruth's life takes a turn when she realizes you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

In "Buyer's Market," the main character Jess contemplates selling her apartment in New York just to help out a guy she was interested in.

This story angered me. First of all, Jess received the apartment from her aunt and I think it's something that should be kept in the family. Second, she didn't know the man, Billy, long enough to be sure that it would be a right decision, that he would stick around.

Although some of the characters find happiness, "The Guy Not Taken," shows that you should be independent because "The Guy Not Taken" may not be worth it in the end.

If you don't get to read very much and are looking for some good stories, I suggest you read this book. Just don't think that every story will have a happy ending.

Heather Tassmer is the editor of The Southern Berks News. E-mail

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