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Cover of All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here

by Emma Straub

GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Fiction

The intricacies of family relationships are explored in this heartwarming, humorous family saga. After 68-year-old Astrid witnesses the death of an acquaintance, she feels compelled to reveal a life-altering secret to her family. Meanwhile, her three children deal with various issues of their own, including a torrid affair, pregnancy via sperm donor, and bullying.

Discussion Guide

Headshot of Emma Straub

Author Biography

Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of six books for adults: the novels This Time Tomorrow, All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. She is also the author of three forthcoming picture books, the first of which, Very Good Hats, was published in January 2023. Her books have been published in more than 20 languages. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore with two locations in Brooklyn, New York. - Author's website

More titles by this author.



/* Starred Review */ The sudden death of a frenemy, hit by a school bus, knocks widowed Strick family matriarch Astrid's own life slightly off course. Her granddaughter, middle-schooler Cecelia, arrives from Brooklyn, escaping friend drama for a school year in Astrid's small Hudson Valley town. Just in time, it turns out, for Astrid to announce to the whole family that her best friend, Birdie, is much more than that: she is her lover. Porter, Astrid's daughter, harbors her own exciting secret. As in Straub's (Modern Lovers, 2016) other novels, the joy is in the setup, and, in a way, it's all setup. As Astrid gathers the courage to apologize to her oldest son, Elliott, for a long-ago wrong, Elliott's concerns are altogether elsewhere. As these and other characters in the multigenerational cast confront milestones of many measures, including a sweet arc for Cecelia's transgender best friend, Straub etches in the comforting, often funny truths readers love her for. Like us, her characters are always getting older but never feeling quite old enough to do the right thing, to be the people they want to be, to let go of the past, and they're certainly never ready to die. An all -out celebration of the life force in ourselves and in our families. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Straub's novels are dearly beloved, and this might be her best yet. -- Annie Bostrom (Reviewed 3/1/2020) (Booklist, vol 116, number 13, p20).

Publisher's Weekly

/* Starred Review */ In Straub’s witty, topical fourth novel (after Modern Lovers), members of a Hudson Valley family come to terms with adolescence, aging, sexuality, and gender. After 68-year-old widow Astrid Strick witnesses an acquaintance get struck and killed by a bus in the center of Clapham, N.Y., she feels compelled to come clean with her children about her new relationship with Birdie, the local hairdresser, before it's too late (“there were always more school buses,” she reasons). Astrid’s kids have their own issues to contend with. Thirty-seven-year-old Porter, pregnant via a “stud farm” (aka a sperm bank), is having an affair with her old high school boyfriend, while Elliott, the oldest, is preoccupied with a hush-hush business proposal. Nicky, the youngest, and his wife have shipped their only child, 13-year-old Cecilia, up to live with Astrid after a messy incident at her Brooklyn school involving online pedophilia. Despite Cecilia’s fear of not fitting in, she finds friendship with a boy who longs to be recognized as a girl but isn’t ready to come out as trans. As per usual, Straub’s writing is heartfelt and earnest, without tipping over the edge. There are a lot of issues at play here (abortion, bullying, IVF, gender identity, sexual predators) that Straub easily juggles, and her strong and flawed characters carry the day. This affecting family saga packs plenty of punch. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 02/03/2020) (Publishers Weekly, vol 267, issue 5, p).

Library Journal

Life is usually pretty tranquil in Clapham, a small Hudson Valley town that gets a fair share of summer tourists, but Astrid Strick is badly shaken up after she witnesses a school bus accident involving a longtime acquaintance. She's been a widow for years, and her three adult children find her somewhat distant. Now she decides it's time to reveal a big secret in her life. Her daughter Porter has a secret of her own, a torrid affair with a former (married) boyfriend, though she is pregnant thanks to an anonymous sperm donor. Older son Elliot and his wife are trying to cope with hyperactive toddler twins, while younger son Nicky, who lives in Brooklyn, has sent daughter Cecelia to live with her grandmother for a while. The title is ironic in that 13-year-old Cecelia often seems to be more adult than her parents or her aunt and uncle. VERDICT In this engaging novel, Straub (The Vacationers) explores the ups and downs of a somewhat disaffected 21st-century family with warmth, sympathy, and humor. [See Prepub Alert, 4/11/19.]—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA --Leslie Patterson (Reviewed 05/01/2020) (Library Journal, vol 145, issue 5, p114).

Kirkus Reviews

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves. Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a 68-year-old widow with three grown children. After many years of singlehood since her husband died, she's been quietly seeing Birdie Gonzalez, her hairdresser, for the past two years, and after Barbara's death she determines to tell her children about the relationship: "There was no time to waste, not in this life. There were always more school buses." Elliot, her oldest, who's in real estate, lives in Clapham with his wife, Wendy, who's Chinese American, and their twins toddlers, Aidan and Zachary, who are "such hellions that only a fool would willingly ask for more." Astrid's daughter, Porter, owns a nearby farm producing artisanal goat cheese and has just gotten pregnant through a sperm bank while having an affair with her married high school boyfriend. Nicky, the youngest Strick, is disconcertingly famous for having appeared in an era-defining movie when he was younger and now lives in Brooklyn with his French wife, Juliette, and their daughter, Cecelia, who's being shipped up to live with Astrid for a while after her friend got mixed up with a pedophile she met online. As always, Straub (Modern Lovers, 2016, etc.) draws her characters warmly, making them appealing in their self-centeredness and generosity, their insecurity and hope. The cast is realistically diverse, though in most ways it's fairly superficial; the fact that Birdie is Latina or Porter's obstetrician is African American doesn't have much impact on the story or their characters. Cecelia's new friend, August, wants to make the transition to Robin; that storyline gets more attention, with the two middle schoolers supporting each other through challenging times. The Stricks worry about work, money, sex, and gossip; Straub has a sharp eye for her characters' foibles and the details of their liberal, upper-middle-class milieu. With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for. (Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2020).


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by Kristan Higgins

After their father suffers a stroke, two sisters must return home and deal with the paths both their lives have taken as well as their parents' relationship.

Cover of Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny Early Morning Riser
by Katherine Heiny

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere—at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it—never mind four. Five if you count Aggie's eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.

But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane's life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane's eyes?

Cover by Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson Pineapple Street
by Jenny Jackson

Darley, the eldest daughter in the closely-tied, carefully-guarded, old money Stockton family, made the classic feminine mistake and gave up her job for her children before she realized she’d sacrificed more of herself than she intended; Sasha married into the Stocktons, and finds herself the outsider looking into the fishbowl, wondering if she will ever understand their ways; and Georgianna, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have, and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.