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The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable…
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The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

by Julie Schumacher

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Adrienne Haus (A.), in a knee brace after a freak fall at school, has to spend the summer at home instead of on an outdoor adventure camp with her best friend Liz. Her mother, along with three others from a yoga class, decide to hold a mother/daughter bookclub over the summer, covering a few of the titles in their upcoming AP English class. The group is predictably mismatched, but I liked the way the classic stereotypes played off one another and how the books they choose reflected how the summer was progressing. Vaguely set up as Adrienne's summer essay, I also liked how she (well, Schumacher) interspersed the required literary terms as chapter headings. Considering some of the subject matter, sneaking out, drinking etc, I was surprised it still came off as a fairly breezy read, and without every single question being answered. I especially liked the names for this forced book club that the girls continued to come up with throughout the story. And of course, there's Wallis' Rule of Three Thousand, a metric about books read throughout one's life, but I'm confident most of my group will be closer to the Rule of Six Thousand! ( )
  ethel55 | Jun 6, 2014 |
This book brings together a mismatched foursome of young teenage girls for a mother-daughter book club. There is CeeCee who is catty and is in the club because she banged up her parents car, Jill whose mother thought she should socialize more, awkward Wallis who actually wanted to be in the club, and the protagonist and narrator Adrienne who had an injured need and a mother who thought she needed to do during the summer. The girls were getting ready for junior year AP English and were not friends previously.

I'm not a big reader of YA lit, but thought this book sounded promising as I needed one placed in Delaware for a challenge. For the most part, the characters were stereotypes you would expect to meet in book about high school kids. Maybe because I'm in a completely different place in my life, I did not find the book had the appeal I was hoping for and was rather glad when the story was finished. ( )
  punxsygal | May 13, 2014 |
Recensione anche su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-3b
Review also on: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-3b ( )
  Saretta.L | Oct 24, 2013 |
Schumacher has written a deeply thoughtful and realistic, yet quirky, novel about the summer that a socially awkward teen spends separated from her only friend. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 24, 2013 |
The opening chapters of this book really appealed to me, and, though I enjoyed the book as a whole, it definitely flagged as the book progressed. This is probably the least effectual book club ever that actually manages to meet up (my friends and I haven't even managed that yet...wah wah). Even so, every mention of a book club makes me desperately want to discuss literature in person. I loved the sections where they actually discussed the books, but these were unfortunately brief.

The main issue this book had was the plotting. The ending was pretty obvious from the opening. In an attempt to create suspense, and to have a dramatic opening to the story, the ending is spoiled. Well, it might surprise some, but I definitely saw it coming. I just found it hard to care about most of the lead up.

The characters also had some serious issues. The only one who felt full-fleshed was Adrienne, the main character, but I'll discuss her more momentarily. Cee-Cee never really comes off as anything more than a bored popular girl, messing with people for her own amusement. Jill, who I actually like most perhaps, never really gets any focus and is dismissed as boring. Wallis is WEIRD. I kept expecting to learn what her deal was, and, in fact, I'm pretty sure I KNOW what was up with her and her mom, but we're never actually told. In fact, what's so weird about all of this is that none of the characters ever stop being their stereotype. At the end of the summer, they're all still the same people they were, even, perhaps, Adrienne.

The book's saving grace, besides the literary references, was Adrienne's character. Adrienne has her flaws, a boatload of them. However, she did feel real to me, largely because a lot of her thoughts are totally on my wavelength. For example, she often thinks like this:

"Teachers often referred to me as a student with 'a lot of potential.' This meant they expected me to be smart; but in fact my mind was often packing a mental suitcase and wandering off on its own. I sometimes pictured all the things I had learned during the previous week at school jumping into brightly painted railroad cars and disappearing into the distance on a speeding train." (6)

I always personify things, and laughed to see someone else having the same thoughts about the elusiveness of all the knowledge entering the brain. She also struggles with identity. She feels as though she has no discernible personality and that no one would even care if she died. I definitely felt that way too, so I could identify with that. Her responses to this feeling, which mostly involved doing really stupid things for Cee-Cees benefit, I didn't approve of, but did seem rather possible. People will do any number of idiotic things for attention in hopes of being liked.

The other part that I really enjoyed was whenever Adrienne was reading. I wish I could read like this girl, although I certainly would not be able to read anywhere near the volume of books I currently read. She seems to be pushing it to get through two books a month. However, when she reads, she really gets into the story. She dreams the story. She gets so deep down into it that she cannot hear people talking to her. I so wish I had that focus. It was amazing how you could feel her slipping into another world. That part was awesome writing.

All told, this was a really great idea, and I feel like it could have been a fantastic book. I feel like with a bit more work, like more details on Wallis' situation and Adrienne's dad, along with more book talk, this could have been a darker, young adult version of The Jane Austen Book Club. As it is, it's a pleasant enough read, but just does not quite make it. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737734, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When four very different small-town Delaware high school girls are forced to join a mother-daughter book club over summer vacation, they end up learning about more than just the books they read.

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