One slip on the stairs, and her summer plans for adventure turn into a knee brace, rehab exercises, and required reading for senior English class. Adrienne couldn’t know that summer would also include midnight escapes, unlicensed drivers, epic chaos, and a dead body in the town swimming pool!
Isn’t it bad enough that Adrienne has to miss her long-planned canoe trek with best friend Liz this summer? Now her mom has gotten them into a mother-daughter book club in their dead-end boring suburb. Honestly, just because the moms take yoga class together doesn’t guarantee a compatible group for literature discussions…
Popular and pretty CeeCee is high school society-plus (her trip to France cancelled because she totaled another car), Jill works at the swimming pool snack stand, and Wallis is… Wallis – in their grade, but younger, recently moved to West New Hope with her mom (who is writing a scholarly philosophy book). The girls groan about having to write an essay over their summer reading. Such a strange bunch of characters in this book club, especially when you factor in the mothers, including Wallis’s mom, whom no one has ever met and who never comes to the mother-daughter book club meetings.
Meeting at Jill’s house to discuss “The Yellow Wallpaper” short story, the group chooses four books from the Advanced Placement reading list: Frankenstein, The Left Hand of Darkness, The House on Mango Street, and The Awakening. The girls see each other often at the pool (where else is there to go in their town in the summer?) and finally decide that “The Unbearable Book Club” describes this weird summer thing with their moms exactly.
CeeCee decides that Adrienne needs to get out of the house more, so she shows up at midnight for a road trip, and that’s just the beginning of the craziness. The summer heat rises, Adrienne’s mom has few answers for her questions about the father she’s never known, Wallis appears for book club without her mother repeatedly, then zips back to the woods where they live.
Is Adrienne going to let CeeCee run her summer?
Will Adrienne’s knee ever heal?
Does Wallis really have a mother?
What’s it like to play mini-golf at midnight in the rain?
Each chapter is headed by a literary term with Adrienne’s witty definition, as the girls’ discussions of each book underscore the tensions and dreams in their own lives.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA