Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: The Grown Ups

The Grown Ups
by Robin Antalek
From the author of The Summer We Fell Apart, an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends that explores what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and how difficult it is to do both together.
The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.
Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella—and force her to confront her past and her friends.
After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.
Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them.
I'm pretty picky about what books I read and I mostly stick to authors and genres I know. This is why I enjoy entering the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge. The challenge affords me the opportunity to find out about authors I never would have found out about on my own. Robin Antalek is one such author. The Grown Ups is a coming of age story for when you're "on the other side" also known as adulthood. It's a story told from the perspective of three individuals, Suzie, Sam, and Bella, starting from their early teen years to adulthood. Each faces similar, but unique experiences and heartaches - all while being a part of each other's stories.
This story is about growing up and how even when you're grown up, it doesn't mean you know all the answers. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking book. I will definitely be looking for other works by Robin Antalek.
Read it!

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