By Jennifer Armstrong and Clarissa Cruz
May 14, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Clearing the Aisle Karen Schwartz (Downtown, $13) Teen-romance author Rachel negotiates the perils of wedding planning with her longtime love, Dan. Source of Angst Can the happy couple remain so despite his best friend’s objections, her divorced parents’ feuding, and his parents’ tradition-bound assumptions? Marriage Philosophy ”Suddenly, there were these ideas of what I was supposed to do, these expectations…. By getting married, was I agreeing to be something I didn’t want to be?” Lowdown The premarital conflicts are realistic and the heroine down-to-earth — but if you’ve been a maid of honor, you’ve heard it all before. B-

My Fake Wedding Mina Ford (Red Dress Ink, $12.95) Redheaded foodie Katie agrees to marry David, the hot Aussie boyfriend of her gay pal George, to keep David in the country. Source of Angst She inconveniently falls for her long-platonic buddy Sam. Marriage Philosophy ”I’d chew toenail clippings before I bought the big marshmallow frock, squodged my…feet into a pair of foolish kitten heels and let some pig dog man…drag me, kicking and screaming to the altar.” Lowdown The conclusion is never in question, but the supporting cast — including a bitchy woman actually named Pussy — keeps things interesting. B+

Wedding Season Darcy Cosper (Three Rivers, $12.95) Forced to attend 17 weddings in six months, child of divorce Joy finds herself defending — and then reconsidering — her own reluctance to marry. Source of Angst Her one antimarriage ally, dreamy boyfriend Gabe, turns on her and proposes. Marriage Philosophy ”Getting married these days is like, I don’t know — using leeches or bloodletting to correct an imbalance of the humors, instead of taking a rational twenty-first century antibiotic.” Lowdown Crackling banter, vibrant friends, and pithy observations on modern weddings veil the tough choice at the story’s core. A-