Picks and Pans Review: Spring's Best Chick Lit

updated 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

This spring our top chick-lit picks offer gossipy girlfriends, adventures in dating land, cupcakes (both male and frosted varieties) and other light-hearted fluff that's surprisingly filling.

FAT CHANCE by Deborah Blumenthal Food and men are two of Maggie O'Leary's favorite pastimes. As a New York columnist, she covers the former; as a woman with a crush on a Hollywood stud muffin, she covets the latter. To snag her star, she ignores her own antidieting dictates and sheds the pounds but eventually finds that you can get a man and eat your cake too.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Sophie Kinsella Emma Corrigan is a blabaholic. After confessing embarrassing things to a stranger on a plane, the spunky Londoner learns that Mr. Anonymous is actually Jack Harper, the dashing head of her company. Misunderstandings follow in sitcom style, but the truth brings Emma and Jack together.

WEDDING SEASON by Darcy Cosper Marriage-phobe Joy Silverman must attend 17 weddings in six months while dodging questions about not marrying her live-in guy. Many of the ceremonies go comically awry as the tough New Yorker learns two valuable lessons. One: Never make your bridesmaids wear orange. Two: Saying "I don't" can lead to a lifetime of happiness.

WEEKEND IN PARIS by Robyn Sisman For Molly Clearwater, Paris is the City of Lights...and Action. Lots of action. Fed up with being a "stupid secretary," she impetuously flees her prim life in London for a whirlwind weekend of cavorting and capering. Delectable images of Paris create an ideal backdrop for 48 hours of kisses and croissants.

STARTING FROM SQUARE TWO by Caren Lissner Gert Healy hates being single because every man she meets is not her husband—or, more to the point, her recently deceased husband. Pals help her with their cockeyed "Rules," such as advising her to sit in the middle seat of air-planes to maximize chatting opportunities. Amid the dating hoopla, Gert bravely finds love the second time around.

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