The Grown Ups — Book Review

IThe Grown Ups have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

They had entered the thorny wilderness, and the golden gates of their childhood had for ever closed behind them.
George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

What does it mean to be a “grown-up”?  That’s one of the questions that Robin Antalek asks in her engaging coming-of-age novel, The Grown Ups. The book opens in the summer of 1997, with Suzie Epstein, Sam Turner, and their friends celebrating Suzie’s fifteenth birthday at a loosely supervised party in Rye, New York. That night, Suzie and Sam embark on a clandestine romance that will last all summer.

Right away, we know something is not right in the neighborhood: “It was the summer all the children in the neighborhood caught a virus.” Soon it becomes apparent that the grown-ups have more serious problems than the stomach flu: “The second time Mr. Epstein caused a scene in the driveway of the Epstein family home, the neighborhood was still under siege by the virus and was unusually quiet for the middle of a summer day.” Read more