Destination: Escape to the Northeast
Synopsis: 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.
My review: I loved this book! It follows a group of friends from 1997 to 2012...from teens to adults. It shows how the lives of their parents, and the issues of their childhood, impact them for the rest of their lives.
The characters are so well written that you are drawn into their stories and feel as if you know them. I hated to have to put the book down for even a few minutes while I was reading, as I was eager to find out how things were going to turn out.
Even with all the ups and downs of their lives, there were no loose ends left at the completion of the book. We see where adulthood leads each of the main characters...and it left me sad and happy at the same time.
My rating: Four stars
About this author:
Robin Antalek 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.