Book Club Kit: Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby | Jo Linsdell

Book Club Kit: Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby


Book Club Kit Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby

Book Club Kit

Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby

Please be aware going into this post that it is for people who have read the book and therefore contains some spoilers.

About the book

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 

Genre: Romance, Friendship,

Number of pages: 304

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728247209
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728247205

Published: June 7, 2022

Purchasing links:  Amazon - Barnes and Noble 

Book Covers

Four Ways to Wear a Dress  by Gillian Libby book cover

Book Synopsis

Gillian Libby brings you a bright, sexy, and hopeful story about friendship, self-discovery and acceptance, and fighting for your own happiness, even if it looks a little different than everyone else's.

Millie Ward has been fired. Again. She's tired of feeling like a failure, and she refuses to blame her ADHD the way her parents do every time she hits one of life's speed bumps. This time, she's going to let that speed bump actually slow her down, and jumps at the chance to visit her best friend?and Instagram influencer? Quincy in California. And she wouldn't mind if that invitation also involved getting closer with Quincy's brother, Pete.

Millie's best friends Kate and Bree send her to Peacock Bay with the little black dress they share, giving her the confidence she needs to make the move. But Peacock Bay is full of mega influencers who have perfected the look of the surf lifestyle, and a minor misunderstanding has Millie joining their ranks. Can Millie and her magical dress convince Pete to face the Bay with her, or will Millie's time in California be another misstep on her way to figuring out exactly who she is?

About the Author

Gillian Libby, Author of Four Ways to Wear a Dress

Gillian Libby left New York City after many years and many jobs. She worked in PR/Marketing, film/TV, and was a SoHo shopgirl. She now lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children. She spends her winters trying to catch her kids on the slopes in Vermont.

Twitter: @GillianLibby

Book Reviews

This was such an interesting book and I commend Gillian Libby on a fun debut. It’s got a combination of a lot of things I love about a romance and while I honestly thought this would be a women’s fiction sort of story, it had some steamy bits that really took me in the opposite direction. It’s got great friendships, a charming hero, a beautiful beach location and loads of surfing. Read the full review by Anna Reads Here  

Four Ways to Wear a Dress is a lot of fun, a pretty decent summer read. It’s light and readable for the most part, and while there are issues, it’s a nice book to read between more intense ones. Read the full review by Courtney Reads Romance


Millie and her friends are always there for each other, no matter what. I really loved the friendship they had and how their belief in the dress was so much more meaningful than the dress just being “magic”. The dress was a symbol of their friendship and how support and positivity make for the best traits in a group of friends. Read the full review by Foodie Rooney's

Discussion Questions

Do you think the dress had magical powers?

Sexism is a topic that comes up multiple times in the book regarding work, sport, and way women are treated in general. Why do you think women are still struggling to have equality in 2022? 

Millie has ADHD. There is also mention of Monrow maybe having autism. How important do you think it is to discuss issues like these in fiction? Do you think both conditions were well represented in the book?

Do you think people are sharing too much of their lives online nowadays? 

Do you think influencers share a fake/scripted version of their lives in order to get likes/followers? Does this bother you?

What makes you follow an influencer online? Would someone sharing their failures appeal to you? or are you more drawn to the possibly fake but more positive posts?

Do you think it's right for people to share photos of/details about their children on social media? 

Have you ever thought about homeschooling your kids/been homeschooled? What do you think are the pro's and con's of homeschooling?

Would you prefer city life or a small coastal bay to live in? 

The book mentions how bad things got during the pandemic. How much did it affect you and where you live? Are businesses in your area still struggling due to the pandemic? What do you think can be done to help them recover and rebuild?

Quotes from Four Ways To Wear A Dress by Gillian Libby

I don’t think my parents are going to find any comfort in this explanation when I tell them I’ve been laid off. To them, it will be just one more reason to be worried that their daughter isn’t a capable, functioning adult. Which, in a way, is fair.

I’m not a violent person, but as I stand here on the sidewalk looking at Joss’s dark-blond hair and blue eyes, imagining him and the three other guys I know from other departments that haven’t been laid off laughing with Bob the Job around the stupid office Ping-Pong table, I wonder what would happen if I kneed him between the legs.

When the waiter comes over, I order a beer and then at the last minute shout at his back, “And the tater-tot poutine!” Because one, it’s amazing, and two, cheese-soaked carbs are good for sorrow and confusion. It’s a fact.

“I think their older sister, Amelia, runs the website and social media. Pete does more of the operations from what I understand,” I explain. Pete and Quincy are the fourth and fifth kids in their family (Quincy is number five, like quint. They’re very cute, this family.)

I pick up my phone and form my response carefully. Millie: Fuck it, I’m in. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that careful.

I know what she’s really saying. It sounds just like the kind of thing a grown woman with ADHD would do. And I get that. But this isn’t like when I was seventeen and got fired from the giant pretzel stand for goofing around and twisting the pretzels in shapes that were “unsuitable for sale.” Penises. I made penis pretzels. I’m not proud of it.

I started taking meds for my ADHD when I was twelve, and while I’m grateful for how they’ve made things easier for me in a lot of ways, my parents think because the medication helped me that it’s the answer to everything. Fired from a summer job? Maybe we should up the dose. Struggling to get college applications done on time? Let’s discuss it with the doctor. Luckily, I’ve always had good doctors who haven’t increased my dose whenever my parents brought me in, but it would be nice if that wasn’t their immediate answer for any behavior they found unnerving.

I wish I could believe she was right. That this dress has been sitting in this box waiting for me to need it so it could come out and work its magic on me the way it did for my friends. I have nothing to lose by giving it another shot. It does look great on me, at the very least.

Picking out a surfboard is a little like meeting a litter of puppies when you’re looking to adopt a dog. When you see the right one, you just know.

He smiles, he’s not a gloomy guy, but his smiles are small and controlled. Like he’s worried if he gives one out, he won’t be able to get it back.

“But don’t you think there’s something weird about presenting your entire life to strangers like that? I think Alana even posted pictures of her last home birth.” He shivers and I roll my eyes at him.

I don’t know much about homeschooling, but I do know it must take someone way more patient than me to manage all those different-aged kids and hopefully teach them anything other than how not to kill each other. Frankly, if I had half a dozen small children in my charge for a day, I would consider their survival a victory.

Coming here was a great idea. I would never have seen two different beaches, shopped at such a charming store with brands I’d never heard of, and biked to a dinner party (in the afternoon) if I were still on the East Coast. I would have been at work all that time. I’d still be at work, actually.

“Six a.m.,” he reminds me, like a stern professor who just gave me a deadline on a paper. I’ve never had professor-student fantasies until this exact moment.

It’s not like I’m proud of how often I find myself failing at life, but there is a little freedom in not having to feel like I have to hide it.

Quincy laughs as if she hadn’t thought about it this way. “A fair point, but you have to understand how bad things got during the pandemic. While some small towns saw a huge influx of new residents and local support, Peacock Bay was almost completely shut down. We rely on tourism here and we’ve barely recovered. I don’t think that makes the business owners all that confident.”

So, she is checking my account. “I’m not moving in with you, and I’m not getting my real estate license. I can do this, Mom.” The last thing I want is to be working with my parents, letting them monitor my every move and mistake. Nothing would prove I can’t function on my own more than that.

The reality is that this is just me. I screw up a lot, and maybe owning up to that, making mistakes and not hiding them for once, could help me feel okay about this part of myself that I’ve never felt comfortable with before.

Failure has never been a happy place for me. It brings up all those memories of struggling through elementary school until my parents had me tested for ADHD. How embarrassed I was thinking there was something wrong with my brain, but then how much easier things became in school when I began taking meds under a doctor’s care.

I follow the universal surfing rules of the lineup. I don’t steal waves. I wait my turn. I want to show the guys out here that I know what I’m doing and that I belong on these waves just as much as they do. But it really sucks that I feel like I have something to prove at all. Why can’t a girl just surf on her own and be respected for her skills the same way guys are? Why should I have to be extra careful about following the rules when the guys out here today probably aren’t even thinking about them?

“I brought the baby so you couldn’t yell at me.” “A sound strategy,” I tell him. “Plus, I know you like her better than me so she was likely to improve your general feelings about my being here.”

I really want to huff and puff my indignation a little bit longer, but this combination of sexy apologetic man holding eco-friendly goods is weirdly doing it for me.

It doesn’t take much time reading articles about women surfers to find something that shocks me. I learn that women only started being invited to the most famous of big wave contests, like the one at Jaws in Hawaii, in 2016. And even when Maya Gabeira surfed the biggest wave of the year in 2020, every article mentions how in her early career she was criticized for putting herself and others in danger by attempting these big waves. However, never once do I find an article that references something similar about a guy.

How can someone this good looking seem so uncomfortable in his own skin? If I had that skin, I would be walking around showing it off any chance I got. And I mean that in the least serial-killer way possible.

Still, I can’t remember the last time someone actually asked me on a date. Every other hookup or relationship I’ve had just sort of happened. Often ill-advised and hormonally charged. It’s possible I’m not great at dating.

If history and YouTube have taught us anything, it’s that people love to see other people make complete assholes of themselves.

“Great, so I’m never going to get my shit together?” “I just mean life has its ups and downs. You get through the downs and then you enjoy the ups. The important thing is to have people that will stick with you for both, and you have that. With your friends, and with us.”

My parents worry because they’re my parents, not because they think I’ll never get it right. Even if I get it wrong sometimes, they’re still going to root for me, and knowing this makes all the difference.

Just because we mess up doesn’t mean we ARE messed up.


Book Club Kit Four Ways to Wear a Dress by Gillian Libby

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