Almost all chick lit includes the following:
a single woman
she's usually in her twenties, approaching 30
she lives in New York (or London)
she works in publishing (or advertising)
she has a group of friends (usually two, she makes three)
one of these is sometimes a gay man
there are references to Jane Austen, more specifically Pride and Prejudice or Mr. Darcy
there are two love interests
she's "poor" but she still wears designer clothes and eats out a lot
there's a family member she's close with (usually a sister)
This article, specifically these paragraphs, sum up my thoughts pretty well:
*Each of my chick lit links is to a different article explaining, defining and/or listing chick lit.
But the genre also is riddled with one-hit wonders and books that some say should never have been published. Blame that in part on overeager publishers.
"Publishers nailed it in a way no one had ever done before," says Liate Stehlik of Avon Books. "Like anything, when something is successful, it explodes, and there are a million things like it. Some are really good, and some are subpar." Stehlik compares the genre's history to the glut of reality TV shows the past several years.
But readers also are seeking fresh experiences "and not just copycats of what is working," she says.