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Alice in Condoland
Liz Bieler
In her tart debut, voice actor Bieler turns her attention to homeowners association (HOA) members who have ever felt cheated or underrepresented, against the backdrop of the condo life in beach-town Florida. Alice Miller, a 29-year-old Jewish transplant from New York’s Upper West Side, initially moves to Condoland, her aptly named new community, for her “coveted marketing job,” but later calls it quits to try her hand at professional voice acting. When she discovers Condoland’s rampant corruption, Alice and a band of unlikely allies make it their mission to stop the deception and take over Condoland’s board for the good of their community.

Condoland is mainly retirees, but Alice manages to make some friends with her neighbors, who have a lot of time on their hands and increasingly bigger problems with the condo’s HOA—run by a “Board of Drektors” (“drek,” a footnote explains, is “Yiddish for fecal matter”) who pad the books and use association money for frivolous renovations. Bieler puts her own lighthearted yet sharp-elbowed spin on the problem in an amusing plot involving neglected repairs, board elections, the finance committee, and crack comic dialogue that keeps the pages turning. The story’s relatable—perhaps too much so for readers who have endured similar travails—but Alice and company’s high spirits and clever campaigning prove buoyant.

Bieler studs her witty narration with Alice’s many insights, coinages, and nicknames, such as Florence Nightingale, the Oracle, and an ex known only as El Innombrable, which is “Spanish for ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named.’” (A dramatis personae at the start helps keep who’s who clear.) They’re captured in precise, hilarious caricature, like standout Joanna, who makes declarations like “When he was a lawyuh, Edguh didn’t charge for the first meeting, eithuh” in a “voice like the Aflac Duck if he chain-smoked.” Perfect for readers looking for a beach read with memorable characters but real-world problems.

Takeaway: This beach read follows a young woman’s mission to take over her Florida condo’s corrupt homeowner’s association.

Great for fans of: Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A