Monday 7 May 2012

Review: The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher

from goodreads

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.


I was VERY excited to read this book. I love book clubs and books about book clubs and that was enough to get me psyched about The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls. And I did enjoy reading it, not just because I loved the literary references and banter between the four very different girls who are (well, three of them are) forced by their parents to be a part of a mother-daughter book club, but also because it was very different from what I expected!

The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls is in the form of Adrienne's summer essay to her teacher. Every chapter starts out with her definition of one of the several things a story consists of- the protagonist, antagonist, dialogue (why isn't it called a trialogue when it's a conversation between three people?, Adrienne asks), metaphors, the climax and so on, and the chapter that follows relates to the theme. I enjoyed reading Adrienne's thoughts about what a story contains and so I really enjoyed the structure of this book.

Adrienne was an amazing narrator! Adrienne is pushed by popular-girl-who-messes-with-people's heads, CeeCee (you know the type) into questioning who she really is, what she's all about as well as the absence of her father and her relationship with her mother. All these issues were dealt with a little erratically, but believably. Adrienne was someone I could connect with from the beginning. Her love for books is described so well in several places and yet, she's not someone who is opinionated. She loses herself in a book and at the end of it, all she can say is, I liked it. I could relate to that. It was one of the reasons why I started this book blog. 

The relationship between Adrienne and her mother was also very realistic. I loved the mother-daughter element of this book. The mothers weren't just relegated to the background like they usually are in YA; their presence was felt throughout. The relationship between the girls was also very realistic. Adrienne, Jill, CeeCee and Wallis were the four girls in the book club and they couldn't be more different. Arienne was, in her words, a question mark, Jill was an over achiever, CeeCee was popular and Wallis was a mystery. It was refreshing how all of them recognised how different they were and none of them expected to bond and become insta BFFs (and they weren't just telling themselves that, they accepted it from the beginning).

Naturally, as a result of being practically the only people left behind in Delaware for the summer, the four girls had to spend a lot of time together. They talked and they learned unexpected things about each other. CeeCee surprised me, there was more to Jill and we were tortuously kept in the dark about Wallis's family life. But that didn't make them any less different at the end of the summer and the book club remained their only common ground. They will probably go back to their different groups at the beginning of the school year but maybe their experiences in the summer did change them a bit and helped them do things they usually wouldn't have done.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book. It was the perfect summer read that made me think, laugh and kept me constantly entertained! I liked reading about the books that were read in the book club and how Adrienne said that in a way, those books shaped her summer and made her who she was. In many ways, while Adrienne narrated the story, it was like CeeCee practically engineered most parts of it. I was amused yet at the same time disturbed by her happy-go-lucky way of creating drama and towards the end, things were revealed about her that maybe explained why she was the way she was. 

Adrienne will probably get an A for her essay (and she deserves it!) but sadly, I couldn't give this book five or even four stars. I really wish I could because for the most part, I loved this book but towards the end, there is a death, there are parts that were built up that lead nowhere (which I guess, should've felt fun and realistic) and sadly, at that point, the book lost its steam for me. The ending wasn't rushed or anything but I really stopped feeling it in the last thirty or so pages. Maybe I got too attached to the characters and the paths they took were logical but way too normal and realistic for me.

But despite that, you should give this book a shot! It's snarky and fun, it's realistic yet such a summer read and it's about a mother-daughter book club! I'm glad I read this book, despite not liking it that much towards the end.

Publication date: 8th May, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


  1. I haven't seen this book before but it looks really fun especially since it has a book club.
    So sorry the ending didn't work for you. :/
    Thanks for the great review!

  2. I was curious about this when I loaded it into Friday Forecast. It sounds really good for some reason it reminded me of the Traveling Pants series that I read last summer, really good series btw...I will have to read this one. I am excited to hear there is a good mother relationship thoughout!

  3. Why isn't is called trialogue? ;)

    Great review! This sounds like an entertaining and worthwhile read. I will definitely have to check it out!

  4. This sounds fantastic and thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. I want to read this one, even though you didn't like the ending.

  6. @Nick It is a really great book and I'm so glad I read it this summer :) Ending aside, it's the perfect, summery read!

    @Heidi I hope you check it out, Heidi! And omg I loved the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants series! It's so well written and fun and the characters- so compelling.

    @Sam I hope you check it out, Sam! It's a great summer read :)

    @Vegan YA Nerds Hope you check it out :)

    @Sherry Yay, it was great for the most part! You should definitely check it out!


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)