Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog Tour: The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek




The Grown Ups

By: Robin Antalek

Release Date:
January 27, 2015

Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks

Source: eARC from the publisher for an honest review

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Synopsis:

From Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart, comes an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends who explore what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and the difficulties in doing both together. Spanning over a decade, and told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them. It is the addictive and moving story of these old friends who wind up confronting their past in order to find happiness in their adult lives that make this novel an anticipated winter release. 

Sam Turner, the summer he turns 15, feels lucky enough to enjoy the unexpected attention of his friend Suzie Epstein, even though it’s only a few secret months. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand—and will never question—the budding relationship is kept hidden from their close circle of friends. But before their summer tans can even start to fade, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving away 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 Epstein takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers while simultaneously planning an early escape to college to seek independence. Though she occasionally thinks of Sam, it’s her oldest friend Bella Spade she finds herself missing. Embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie could call home, Suzie makes no attempt to reconnect with the one person she needs. Its years later that a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother Michael will reunite her with both Sam and Bella—finally forcing her to confront her friends, her past and what she left behind. 

After losing Suzie, Bella surprisingly finds her first real love in Sam. But his inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. Watching Suzie and Michael as they seem to have worked it all out, Bella’s only to wonder where she went wrong and how to make it right.



My Thoughts:

The Grownups was a bittersweet look in to the lives of Sam, Bella, Suzie, and Michael.  It's a story that spanned glimpses from childhood, high school, college, and adulthood.  This is a story that everyone should be able to relate to in one way or another.  We learn about first crushes, kisses, loves, self discovering, and growing in to the person that you want to become.  There were moments of heartache, heartbreak, excitement, passion, healing, and peace.

Sam and Michael may be brothers, but they couldn't be more different.  Sam is the younger brother.  He is carefree, optimistic, and enjoyed adventure, and discovering new things.  Unfortunately, he has a tendency to run away when things gets tough, and has trouble to committing to anything in his life.  He has always felt inferior to his older brother, Michael, who is highly intelligent, dedicated, ambitious, and dreams of becoming a doctor.  When their mother leaves their father, and abandons them to live in another state, live with a much younger man, and make goat cheese, it effects them in different ways.  This has a lasting effect on Sam's life, whereas Michael seems to cope with it better.

Suzie and Bella are best friends.  Suzie is dealing with the fact that her father is a cheater who has been with most of the most of the neighborhood mom's, and Bella has her own pain to deal with as she watches her mother die a slow and very painful death before her very eyes.  

The summer Suzie and Sam are fifteen years old, they spend a lot of time together.  They confide in each other, support one another, and participate in a physical relationship.  At the end of summer, Suzie, is forced to move while her parents try to have a fresh start.  Sam is devastated, and Suzie losses touch with him, Bella, and all of their mutual neighborhood friends.  Bella has always had a huge crush on Sam, but felt like she was second best.  After Suzie leaves Sam and Bella have an on again off again friends with benefits type of relationship.

Everyone is reunited many years later when they return for Bella's mother's funeral.  Sam is upset and a bit shocked when he finds out that Michael and Suzie are involved in a relationship.  As Sam, Bella, Michael, and Suzie grow up, they will experience, love and loss, pain and bliss, and discover what is most important in their lives, but one thing is for certain, they will always be there for each other.

My Rating:


The Grown Ups, by Robin Antalek, was true to life.  This story put me through the emotional wringer, and not just because of the love relationships.  I connected most with, Bella.  She was sweet, down to earth, loving, kind, loyal, and compassionate.  My heart broke for all of the challenges that these characters faced regarding their families.  If you enjoy realistic fiction, coming of age stories, and the friends to lovers trope, read The Grown Ups.  It will make you laugh and cry, and experience intense emotions right along with the main characters!       




My Favorite Quote:


"They had watched their parents stumble and vowed never to do the same, only to fail one another in entirely different ways.  They experienced love, but they also caused disappointment and sorrow.  They felt fear, and they knew loss.  They ran away, only to return."  (eARC, Loc. 5380)

~Sam


Excerpt:

Years ago on a December night in their junior year of high school they had been in Peter Chang’s basement before the winter dance, when Sam had turned to Bella, his eyes as navy as his sweater, and said, “So?” 

It began as simply as that, friends who had known each other since they were in diapers. Sam made her happy. Just the sight of him as his cheeks flushed a deep shade of red was all it took. She wanted to kiss him and she knew that he probably wanted to kiss her too. Later, when they had all stumbled from Peter’s basement, wandering through the streets of their neighborhood to the high school, Sam had bumped up against her shoulder and she had found his hand down by his side and grabbed hold of his fingers. He wound them through hers and hadn’t let go, and right then in that moment she had been so sure of everything she had ever wanted. 


Since her mother’s funeral, Bella had been stuck on that memory, and she didn’t know why. Maybe it was only the ache of nostalgia. She wanted to lie in bed alone and go over every minute she had spent in Sam’s arms. But then she had noticed the way her mother was looking at her and instead she had crawled into bed with her and whispered about Sam. The mustard light in the room was diffused by the angle of the bathroom door, and she caught a glimpse of her mother’s face in the shadows. She was smiling but there was also something sad in her expression.




About Robin Antalek:

Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart. Her nonfiction writing has been published in literary journals and in several collections, including 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. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.





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2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting today!

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  2. Awesome review loved it I rarely read coming of age books but this one looks and sounds amazing I will difinately check it out! Thanks for the great review!

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