UK vs US Chick Lit

I apologise for lack of posts recently. I have nothing to talk about. The football season is over, although I could talk about the transfer window which has been spectacular so far even though it’s not July 1st yet. The F1 is epic, the Canadian race was something else, I still can’t process it a week later. I’ve been reading like a demon though, as always.

For a long long time I was allergic to reading books by American authors. I don’t entirely know why (I’m the same with crime; I’ll read American crime novels but I don’t touch the English crime novels), but predominately I preferred my Chick Lit to be British. Then we brought Danielle onto the site, first with American Saturdays then expanding it into American Weekends and I began to see that there does seem to be a difference between UK Chick Lit and US Chick Lit and that that’s not a bad thing and subsequently my reading has been 50% UK Chick Lit and 50% US Chick Lit.

Apart from the obvious differences (spellings and words), it seems that US Chick Lit is definitely driven mainly by emotions. I’ve read numerous books recently that were very emotional; Here, Home Hope by Kaira Rouda, The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan, The Summer We Came To Life by Deborah Cloyed, Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt. US Chick Lit relies less on humour than UK Chick Lit seems to, and there are only two US authors who seem to write funny novels, Caprice Crane and Adena Halpern. It seems the defunct Red Dress Ink publisher used to publisher loads of fresh, funny Chick Lit novels but it seems to have crashed and burned.

Don’t get me wrong, UK Chick Lit books are also emotional most of the time, but the US market that I’ve read so far isn’t about a heroine who’s a bit ditzy and who takes ages to figure out who she loves. No one seems to be trying to differ that here in the UK and it’s interesting to note the differences in the markets. You’d think any Chick Lit fan anywhere would want to read both types of novels. I don’t work in publishing so all I might be saying is entirely wrong, but it seems the UK market prefers the light-hearted novels whereas the US market much prefers the emotional fiction, the fiction that delves down into many different issues.

Most of the US Chick Lit books I’ve been reading happily deal with death and cancer and a friend with a brain injury, to name but a few, but I don’t see many UK Chick Lit authors tackling such subjects. Cancer pops up every now and again, and there are a few authors who get down and dirty with nitty gritty subjects. I am surprised at the divide between the two, that I’ve managed to pick up on so many differences between the two countries despite the fact that, at the end of the day, Chick Lit is Chick Lit.

Another big difference is in the covers. US covers are far more serious than their UK counterparts and it’s yet another difference as to how they market their novels. I love seeing how the UK market see a book and then see how the US market see it, to see if there are any differences because usually there is. 

UK authors seem to be getting into the US market, with Jill Mansell, Lisa Jewell, Victoria Connelly among others having their books published to a US audience but the opposite doesn’t seen to be happening. There are loads of fantastic US authors who could do brilliantly if they were released in the UK but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt is being published in the UK in August and I hope it does well, it was a wonderful novel, and deserves to be brought to more audiences around the world.

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One thought on “UK vs US Chick Lit

  1. I love this post Leah, I just wanted to let you know that! I absolutely can see what you're saying about the depth and emotional content in US women's fiction. Not that either place is better than the other, because I enjoy both, but that they're very different. It's actually really nice, because then you end up with a very nice balance. Great article!

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