Saturday, January 26, 2019

Review: The Adults by Caroline Hulse

Title: The Adults
Author: Caroline Hulse
Year Published: 2018


Genre: YA non-fiction
Pages: 353
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)UK

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Meet the Adults. Claire and Matt are no longer together but decide that it would be best for their daughter, Scarlett, to have a "normal" family Christmas. They can't agree on whose idea it was to go to the Happy Forest holiday park, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did--and it's too late to pull the plug. Claire brings her new boyfriend, Patrick (never Pat), a seemingly sensible, eligible from a distance Ironman in Waiting. MAtt brings the new love of his life, Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, who is seven, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He's a giant rabbit. Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Forced Fun Activities, drink a little too much after Scarlett's bedtime... and before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends where this novel begins--with a tearful, frightened call to the police.

What happened? They said they'd all be adults about this....

Review: I needed something light and funny and had heard that this would fit the bill. I don't think funny is the word I would use to describe this book, but it did have moments where I was amused by the characters and their bickering so that's good.

The chapters are told in alternating voices from the point of view from all of the main characters: Scarlett (age 7) and her imaginary rabbit friend, Posey; Matt and Claire (ex husband and wife); and Alex and Patrick (the new partners). I liked this because I got to see how each person was experiencing the crazy weekend of a tense "family" holiday.

If you like to read about relationships this is definitely the book for you as there are so many to unpack. Matt and Claire used to be married and seem to get along well, in fact there is definitely flirting going on. Patrick and Alex are the new partners who are trying not to feel jealous and are working out how they fit into the family units. Patrick's stiff demeanor would drive me crazy in real life, but in the story I found it amusing. Alex is young (and a recovering alcoholic) and I could feel her frenzied personality. Then there are the various versions of parent-child relationships as everyone tries to make things good for Scarlett in their own way. And Posey brings his own special brand of irritation to them all while revealing how Scarlett really feels.

I didn't love this book, but found it a good read that reminded me of the holidays my ex-husband and I have taken with our daughter. Tense, but important and I'm glad we did them.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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