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May 15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Titles similar to The Adults
Espach’s coming-of-age debut novel examines what it means to be an adult. Fourteen-year-old Emily Marie Vidal’s life begins veering off the predictable course of privileged life in a wealthy Connecticut town at her father’s fiftieth birthday party. During the festivities on the grounds of their sprawling home, Emily spots her father kissing next-door-neighbor Mrs. Resnick, the mother of Emily’s friend Matt. Soon Emily’s parents announce they are divorcing, Mrs. Resnick announces her pregnancy, and Mr. Resnick hangs himself in his yard as helpless Emily looks on. Emily enters into a 10-year, on-again, off-again affair with her English teacher. Although this may sound like the makings of a lightweight romance, Espach manages to create something grander, a novel full of wit, emotion, and sensitivity, resulting in an engaging roller coaster of a listening experience. Gilbert is pitch-perfect in her delivery of the cast of likable—and unlikable—characters, including snarky teens and dramatic adults. She comes up with a multitude of distinct voices—ranging from toddler tones and teenspeak inflections to supercilious adults. The characters are memorable and totally fleshed out by Gilbert in this wry story, which follows Emily to adulthood. Pacing is dependent on the characters’ emotional responses: weariness, anger, surprise, morosity, passion. This thoroughly engaging production propels listeners to a satisfying, if not thought-provoking, conclusion. Also available in Playaway ($79.99).
YA/Mature Readers: The novel illustrates the effects of early choices on adult life; mature teens may identify with teenage Emily and be grateful at not having to endure what she did. —Michele Leber