Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jen Lancaster  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1967 in New York

Sites:

E-Mail:


Illinois Connection

Lancaster has lived in Chicago and now resides in the suburb of Lake Forest.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jen Lancaster grew up in Indiana and is an alumna of Purdue University. She was an associate vice president for a technology company prior to being laid off after September 11, 2001. Soon after, Lancaster launched a website detailing her descent from designer clothing and spa visits to the unemployment line on her blog jennsylvania.com. Her book, The Tao of Martha, has been optioned for a sitcom by FOX.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office
ISBN: 0451217608

Berkley. 2006

Jen Lancaster was living the sweet life-until real life kicked her to the curb.

She had the perfect man, the perfect job-hell, she had the perfect life-and there was no reason to think it wouldn't last. Or maybe there was, but Jen Lancaster was too busy being manicured, pedicured, highlighted, and generally adored to notice.

This is the smart-mouthed, soul-searching story of a woman trying to figure out what happens next when she's gone from six figures to unemployment checks and she stops to reconsider some of the less-than-rosy attitudes and values she thought she'd never have to answer for when times were good.

Filled with caustic wit and unusual insight, it's a rollicking read as speedy and unpredictable as the trajectory of a burst balloon.

Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?
ISBN: 0451221257

Berkley. 2007

Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining.

Whether she's reporting rude neighbors to Homeland Security, harboring a crush on her grocery store clerk, or fighting-and losing-the Battle of the Stairmaster- Lancaster explores how silly, strange, and not-so-fabulous real city living can be. And if anyone doesn't like it, they can kiss her big, fat, pink, puffy down parka.

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer
ISBN: 0451223896

Berkley. 2008

A NOTE FROM JEN LANCASTER:

"To whom the fat rolls…I'm tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life. And I hate the message that women can't possibly be happy until we all fit into our skinny jeans. I don't find these stories uplifting

they make me want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don't matter. Unfortunately, being overweight isn't simply a societal issue that can be fixed with a dose healthy of positive self-esteem. It’s a health matter, and here on the eve of my fortieth year, I've learned I have to make changes so I don't, you know, die. Because what good is finally being able to afford a pedicure if I lose a foot to adult onset diabetes?"

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase
ISBN: 0451226801

NAL Hardcover. 2009

NEW. Ships from warehouse.

If You Were Here: A Novel
ISBN: 0451236688

Berkley. 2012

  • Watch a video
The fiction debut of the New York Times bestselling author of My Fair Lazy.

Told in the uproariously entertaining voice readers have come to expect from Jen Lancaster, If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John hughes's movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is t he New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto
ISBN: 0451231864

Berkley. 2011

Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces.

In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option.

Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner
ISBN: 0451233174

NAL. 2012

In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster learned how to come to terms with her body. In My Fair Lazy, she expanded her mind. Now the New York Times bestselling author gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age.

Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable—and probably humiliating—life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood.

Here I Go Again: A Novel
ISBN: 0451236726

NAL. 2013

The second novel from the New York Times bestselling author of If You Were Here takes us back to the hair metal 80's.

Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?

The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog
ISBN: 0451417631

NAL. 2013

One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black

Bright Lights, Big Ass

Such a Pretty Fat

Pretty in Plaid

My Fair Lazy

and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now.

One would be wrong.


Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.

By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.

Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage....Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband....again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.

Or maybe not.

Twisted Sisters
ISBN: 0451471687

Berkley. 2015

A licensed psychologist who stars on the cable breakout show I Need a Push, Reagan Bishop helps participants become their best selves by urging them to overcome obstacles and change behaviors. An overachiever, Reagan is used to delivering results.

Despite her overwhelming professional success, Reagan never seems to earn her family’s respect. Her younger sister, Geri, is and always will be the Bishop family favorite. When a national network buys Reagan’s show, the pressure for unreasonably quick results and higher ratings mounts. Desperate to make the show work and keep her family at bay, Reagan actually listens when the show’s New Age healer offers an unconventional solution....



Record Nielsen ratings follow. But when Reagan decides to use her newfound power to teach everyone a lesson about sibling rivalry, she’s the one who will be schooled....

The Best of Enemies
ISBN: 0451471091

Berkley. 2015

Bridesmaids meets Big Little Lies

in a novel told from the alternating perspectives of two women who define the term frenemies—from New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster.

Jacqueline Jordan knows conflict. A fearless journalist, she’s spent the past decade embedded in the world’s hot spots, writing about the fall of nations and the rise of despots. But if you were to inquire about who topped Jack’s enemy list, she’d not hesitate to answer: Kitty Carricoe.

Kitty reigns supreme over the world of carpools and minivans. A SAHM, she spends her days caring for her dentist husband and three towheaded children, running the PTA, and hiding vegetables in deceptively delicious packed lunches.

Kitty and Jack haven’t a single thing in common—except for Sarabeth Chandler, their mutual bestie. Sarabeth and Jack can be tomboys with the best of them, while Sarabeth can get her girly-girl on with Kitty. In fact, the three of them were college friends until the notorious incident when Jack accidentally hooked up with Kitty’s boyfriend…

Yet both women drop everything and rush to Sarabeth’s side when they get the call that her fabulously wealthy husband has perished in a suspicious plane crash. To solve the mystery surrounding his death, Jack and Kitty must bury the hatchet and hit the road for a trip that just may bring them together—if it doesn’t kill them first.

I Regret Nothing: A Memoir
ISBN: 0451471075

Berkley. 2015

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster has lived a life based on re-invention and self-improvement. From Bitter Is the New Black to The Tao of Martha, she’s managed to document her (and her generation’s) attempts to shape up, grow up, and have it all—sometimes with disastrous results…


Sure Jen has made mistakes. She spent all her money from a high-paying job on shoes, clothes, and spa treatments. She then carried a Prada bag to the unemployment office. She wrote a whole memoir about dieting…but didn’t lose weight. She embarked on a quest for cultural enlightenment that only cemented her love for John Hughes movies and Kraft American Singles. She tried to embrace everything Martha Stewart, while living with a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs. (Glitter…everywhere.)

Mistakes are one thing

regrets are another.

After a girls’ weekend in Savannah makes her realize that she is—yikes!—middle-aged (binge watching is so the new binge drinking), Jen decides to make a bucket list and seize the day, even if that means having her tattoo removed at one hundred times the cost of putting it on.

From attempting a juice cleanse to studying Italian, from learning to ride a bike to starting a new business, and from sampling pasta in Rome to training for a 5K, Jen is turning a mid-life crisis into a mid-life opportunity, sharing her sometimes bumpy—but always hilarious—attempts to better her life…again.

By The Numbers
ISBN: 0451471113

Berkley. 2016

The New York Times bestselling author of The Best of Enemies serves up a hilarious new novel of the “sandwich generation.”


Actuary Penny Sinclair has a head for business, and she always makes rational decisions. Knowing that 60% of spouses cheat and 50% of marriages end in divorce, she wasn’t too surprised when her husband had an affair. (That he did so with a woman their daughter’s age? Well, that part did sting a bit.) She just made sure she got everything in the divorce, including their lovely old Victorian house. And as soon as her younger daughter has her hipster-fabulous wedding in the backyard, she’s trading it in for a condo in downtown Chicago...


Well within the average market time in her area, Penny gets an offer on the house. But then life happens. Her children, her parents and her ex come flying back to the nest, all in need of Penny’s emotional—and financial—support. Spread thin, Penny becomes the poster child for the “sandwich generation,” when all she really wanted to do was make managing director, buy a white couch, and maybe go on a Match.com date...

Stories I'd Tell in Bars
ISBN: 1521894418

Independently published. 2017

Unfiltered. Unapologetic. Older - but arguably not wiser - Lancaster gets back to basics in this hilarious essay collection about everything from taking community policing classes to accidentally getting stoned with her waiter after a fancy dinner. These are the tales she'd tell if she met you in a bar... if she weren't too lazy to put on pants and go to a bar. Offering advice ranging from how to remain happily married to a man who refuses to blow his damn nose already to not creating An Incident at the cheese counter during an attempt at Whole30, she's you, only louder. As she details the chaos that will surely ensue if she has to learn to operate one more television remote control, you'll want to settle in and pour yourself a tall one. Because what's more fun than hearing a friend share her favorite stories?

The Gatekeepers
ISBN: 0373212615

Harlequin Teen. 2017

"How could we know that forever could end at seventeen?"



Anyone passing through North Shore, Illinois, would think it was the most picture-perfect place ever, with all the lakefront mansions and manicured hedges and iron gates. No one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains.



Meet Simone, the bohemian transfer student from London, who is thrust into the strange new reality of an American high school

Mallory, the hypercompetitive queen bee

and Stephen, the first-generation genius who struggles with crippling self-doubt. Each one is shocked when a popular classmate takes his own life…except not too shocked. It's happened before. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?


Awards

-- Here I Go Again

Bestseller, New York Times

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Starred Review, Kirkus

Starred Review, BooklistI Regret Nothing

Best Book of the Year, AmazonBy The Numbers

ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017