All Adults Here

Riverhead. May 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781594634697. $27. F
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.]
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