#ReadWithMC Readers Thought 'Alice Sadie Celine' Was a "Ride"

"A uniquely bizarre story about three women exploring love, sexuality, and agency..."

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For our last book club pick of 2023, #ReadWithMC readers dove into Sarah Blakley-Cartwright's Alice Sadie Celine, a poignant novel that follows the inner lives of three very different woman (hence the title) and how their lives intersect. We've got Alice, an aspiring actor, Sadie, Alice's best friend with a type A personality, and Celine, Sadie's mom who's a feminist and gender studies professor. When Sadie can't make the opening night of Alice's play, she begs her mom to take her place and eventually Celine relents. There, Celine becomes infatuated with her daughter's old best friend and the two start an unexpected affair, leading to a chain of events that tests all three women's relationships with each other.

At times this books was compelling, other times it was uncomfortable, but that's one of the reasons why our readers enjoyed it. @annother_bookstagram writes, "Underneath the icky feelings at surface level, this story defines being yourself and growing into womanhood on your own terms." Similarly, despite not enjoying the last chapter's tonal shift, @ipekreading added, "I still liked this as an exploration of a gender reversal in an icky setting." Additionally, the realness and complexity of the three characters was another major draw for our readers with @dogearedstyle writing, "Each of these characters was complex and flawed but they were all very well written." Another reader, @bookstobechill, closely wrote in their review, "I hated the characters. I loved the characters. I didn’t know what to think about the characters."

Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about Alice Sadie Celine. 

"Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Published by @simonbooks Thank you for the final copy! ❤️

Out November 28th 🗓️

This is a fascinating book about female bond, queerness and friendship, with multiple cultural references and bits of gender theory that will keep you turning the pages and taking notes. It tells the story of the three women in the title. Alice, an aspiring actress, Celine a mature queer woman who teaches gender studies at the University, and Sadie, her daughter and Alice’s best friend, who struggles to accept her mother open sexuality and life choices, with the Berkeley of the 90’s and the contemporary Hollywood scene as the backdrop of the story. The story is narrated from alternating points of view.

In the last chapter the author introduces a new point of view. And it works perfectly. I really enjoyed the book and the dynamics between the characters. Their bonds are deep and solid, even when challenged.

I would highly recommend it."


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"📖 Last week I read Alice Sadie Celine, the new novel from Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. Thank you to @simonandschuster and @bookclubfavorites for gifting me a copy of the book!

When Sadie can’t make it to the opening night of her best friend Alice’s show, she sends her mother Celine instead. At first, Celine is less than thrilled but she gradually finds herself enthralled with Alice’s performance. The two women soon embark on a secret affair that threatens to tear apart all of their relationships.

I loved how the book alternated between the three women’s perspectives. It was interesting to see the same events replayed from a different point of view. Each of these characters was complex and flawed but they were all very well written. I also appreciated the reflections on friendship and motherhood throughout. The last chapter blew me away—it was an exciting surprise that really brought the whole book together nicely.

I definitely recommend this one for fans of complicated female relationships. Are there any books in this vein that you love? 📖"


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"💫eARC Review💫

•Alice Sadie Celine

•Sarah Blakey-Cartwright

🗓️ 11/28/2023

“A hypnotic, sexy, and incisive debut adult novel following one woman’s affair with her daughter’s best friend that tests the limits of love and ambition”

🚺 ▫️🚺 ▫️🚺

In a multi POV narration surrounding three very different women, you meet:

Celine- lesbian feminist juggernaut and educator, mom to Sadie

Sadie- a type A perfectionist with a plan and a perfectly chosen best friend,

Alice- a struggling actress born with a silver spoon.

🚺 ▫️🚺 ▫️🚺

It’s a portrait of three ladies if you will, diving into power & agency across a multi decade timeline.

Alice Sadie Celine will make you uncomfortable, but underneath the icky feelings at surface level, this story defines being yourself and growing into womanhood on your own terms. Each of these women- slightly unlikeable in their selfishness- made you root for their individual growth, maturity, success, and acceptance. It is a portrait of what can happen when conventional and personal lines and boundaries are crossed with both positive and negative outcomes of those choices.

I really enjoyed the introduction of the last chapter POV character as a way to show the growth of Alice Sadie Celine.

The title alone, with no punctuation separating the names is in and of itself a work of art- showing how interwoven your identities can become with your parents, friends, and lovers as you navigate womanhood."


"Quirky, free-spirited, naive girl meets particular, pragmatic, sensible girl. They become best friends. Quirky, free-spirited, naive girl meets particular, pragmatic, sensible girl’s brilliant, manipulative, impulsive mom. They begin an affair. Particular, pragmatic, sensible girl discovers what it means to live for herself, feels liberated, and tells them both to fuck off. Eventually, particular, pragmatic, sensible girl starts a family.

“Brilliant,” disgruntled, desperate mom decides to start a new family, adopting a kid herself. Quirky, free-spirited, naive girl becomes cool aunt.

Alice Sadie Celine is a ride. A uniquely bizarre story about 3 women exploring love, sexuality, and agency. I hated the characters. I loved the characters. I didn’t know what to think about the characters. It was just different!


Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright: ⭐️⭐️⭐️"


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"Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright | BOOK REVIEW


We follow three women, best friends Alice and Sadie, and Sadie’s mother, Celine. Set over decades, the reader explores the developing relationships between the three women. From two best friends, a complicated mother daughter relationship and a blooming romantic connection, we explore power, sexuality and feminism.

I am having a hard time deciding what I think of this book. It was certainly compelling, the writing was impeccable and the characters felt incredibly real. But it was also uncomfortable at times and dragged a bit during the middle. i don’t want to give anything away but i really enjoyed the beginning and the end.

Definitely worth the read if you like complicated relationships, character studies, and raw evocative writing."


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"Review - Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

(Out 11/28)

Sadie is unable to attend her best friend Alice's opening night performance. She entrusts her mother Celine to attend in her stead. This decision sets in motion an affair that challenges the friendship and family.

I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand I was very curious to see where this book would go. I could see so many ways the affair would catastrophically come out into the open. I could definitely see a discussion on how society (or the characters) perceived this affair when it was between two women instead of including an older male. I thought the characters were well realized with interesting personalities. While I was satisfied with the understanding of why everyone acted the way they did, I felt there was so much room for exploration in terms of other topics. And while I appreciate what the author was trying to achieve, the last chapter's narrator/tone change just didn't work for me. I still liked this as an exploration of a gender reversal in an icky setting."


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Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.