|(Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
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.
A coming-of-age story about childhood friends told in alternating narratives sounds like my cup of tea. So, why didn't I enjoy this book? Well, I think it was due to my lack of compassion for the characters and their nagging inability to accept adulthood. Also, the one dimensional descriptions of characters, along with the uneven time jumps and the unexplained events that occurred throughout the book didn't really help endear me to the story. I just found myself underwhelmed by The Grown-Ups. I had to skim read the story to get to the end - that's how badly I wanted to put this one down. The only reason I didn't DNF it was because I kept hoping it would get better, and so I continued to read. Alas, it didn't get any better. I wanted more of an explanation from Micheal's POV and that never transpired. He was one of the main characters who just didn't get a chance to be a main character - he was written on the periphery even though he was a large part of the story. And the photos that appeared to start all the drama never really came to fruition within the story. I just found this story lacking in its ability to tie up loose ends and really tackle the struggles of growing up. Of course, I seem to be the only one to feel this way about The Grown-Ups, as all of the reviews I've read have been glowing. So, I'm chalking this read up to "different strokes for different folks".
If you want to find out what other bloggers have to say about The Grown-Ups, go here.