By Leah Greenblatt
Updated May 20, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

Ignore the breezy title and coy, crossed-ankles cover; beneath its slick chick-lit veneer, Charlotte Greig’s novel, A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy, is a ruminative coming-of-age tale devoid of the genre’s usual tropes. Caught at ?the crest of feminism’s second wave, ?20-year-old philosophy major Susannah partakes of the freedoms of the 1970s — campus protests, sex with both her ?older boyfriend and a fellow student — but when her world suddenly capsizes, she retreats to the men on the pages of her textbooks: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard. Readers might not find much escape in Guide‘s conflicts, but Susannah’s story feels all the more ?authentic for it. B+