Tuesday, March 20, 2012
ARC Review: THE UNBEARABLE BOOK CLUB FOR UNSINKABLE GIRLS
The Author: Julie Schumacher
The Publisher: Delacorte BFYR (an Imprint of Random House Children's Books)
Anticipated Release Date: May 8, 2012
Marketing Copy Summary:
For both book lovers and book clubbers who are snapping up works about reading, such as Pies & Prejudice and The Jane Austen Book Club, as well as those made weary by self-satisfied bibliophiles and who want some snark, plot, and drama.
I'm Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Most of us didn't want to join. My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace. CeeCee's parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of "The Unbearable Book Club," CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But we weren't friends. We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under mother-daughter literary catastrophe. Or open this book and read my essay, which I'll turn in when I go back to school.
A unique and thoughtful story, I was quite surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. I have to admit that this is not the type of book I gravitate towards. The idea, a bunch of Moms creating a book club and pretty much forcing their kids to take part in it, didn't intrigue me. The very transparent way of bringing four completely different girls together, throwing them into a friendship that probably wouldn't last much longer than the end of summer, I thought might come out to be a little forced for the reader.
I'm happy to say that I was wrong. Adrienne is fun, snarky, just the kind of kid you want to read about. She has her faults--always going along with whatever CeeCee says, mostly because CeeCee is the It girl--but that just makes her more human. I love how easy her relationship is with her mom to begin with and how things get dicey when she begins to ask questions about her father that she'd never thought to voice before. I love how in typical teenage style, she gets moody and secretive, and won't talk to her mom about them. I love how her mom tries and tries but can't seem to hurdle the wall Adrienne erects between them. It's real and very authentic.
But, most of all I love the layout of this book. I love how it's basically one big essay (an assignment for AP English that tells the story of their summer of reading). Each chapter begins with a "glossary" word in which Adrienne defines, and the chapter follows that theme. Also, as the book club goes through the four books they've chosen, you see how the subtleties of the books reflect what is happening in their lives.
All this love is not to say that this was a perfect read. I wasn't. I have some issues with the pacing, how one or two storylines weren't all that resolved, and how one-note CeeCee's character ended up being (the others were fleshed out remarkably well). However, the death at the end (this is no spoiler as they tell you in the first chapter that someone drowns) did surprise me, not an easy task. And Adrienne's way of talking about books really gets me. She is truly a reader, and that love shines through.
A satisfying story for any unsinkable girl looking for an easy summer read.