Review: The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek
Published: January 27, 2015
Format: via Edelweiss
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Challenges: NetGalley/Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5

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.

My Thoughts
I truly enjoyed this coming of age story of a group of friends whom we meet as teens and span the years to adulthood. While we meet a series of friends most of the book is focused on Suzie, Bella and Sam. We see how sometimes kids are forced to grownup and deal with issues that adults don’t realize affects them. We meet Sam and Bella who are neighbors and friends who lean on each other while both of their home lives are on the brink of disaster. They form a bond but is it really love? Or is it just two young people whom are drawn to each other because of what is happening between their families?

I love seeing each of them find themselves and come into their own. I like how everything doesn’t come easy and they don’t instantly know what they want and who they want to be in life. Sometimes in books we see everything so nice and wrapped in a bow but life isn’t that way and the fact that it takes Sam forever to find his true self I personally found that refreshing. This is one of those books that you just have to read to get. There is the story between Sam and Suzie, then the story of Sam and Bella, the friendship between Bella and Suzie not to mention the story and love between Suzie and Sam’s brother Michael [yep I said Sam’s brother!] There is just so much that I really couldn’t do it justice without having this review be like 10 pages deep. Just trust me when I say that this one is an amazing read, it gives you everything love, loss, laughter and friendship. I also have to mention my other favorite thing is the dynamics between the parents and their children. I sense that these parents weren’t really parents with the exception of Sam’s father who I will say that in the last scene of the book he made me ball like a baby!  These parents seemed so selfish to me, it just felt at times they were the children and not the parents. Like seriously they needed to grow up! All in all this book is simply geat! I love a good book that can span the years and shows us the growth in the characters. Everything was seamless and you can’t help but to invest in these characters, they are utterly unforgettable.

     About Robin
She is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart (HarperCollins 2010) which was chosen as a Target Breakout Book. The Summer We Fell Apart was also published in Turkey by Artemis Yayinlari. Her non-fiction work has been published at The Weeklings, The Nervous Breakdown and collected in The Beautiful Anthology, Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema, and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review and Literary Mama among others.  Robin has received three honorable mentions in Glimmer Train's Family Matters and New Fiction Writer's contests as well as an honorable mention for the Tobias Wolf Fiction Award.
Connect with Robin

1 comment:

  1. I was waiting to see what you thought of this one, Monica; I thought it looked good, from the description I read awhile back, and I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the review!