Read Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts by Claire LaZebnik Online


Despite her name, Keats Sedlak is the sanest person in her large, nutty family of brilliant eccentrics. Her parents, both brainy academics, are barely capable of looking after themselves, let alone anyone else, and her two uber-intelligent siblings live on their own planets. At least she can count on one person in her life, her devoted boyfriend Tom. Down-to-earth and loviDespite her name, Keats Sedlak is the sanest person in her large, nutty family of brilliant eccentrics. Her parents, both brainy academics, are barely capable of looking after themselves, let alone anyone else, and her two uber-intelligent siblings live on their own planets. At least she can count on one person in her life, her devoted boyfriend Tom. Down-to-earth and loving, he's the one thing that's kept Keats grounded for the last decade. But when Keats's mother makes a surprise announcement, the entire family is sent into a tailspin. For the first time, Keats can't pick up the pieces by herself. Now she must reevaluate everything she's ever assumed about herself and her family-and make the biggest decision of her life....

Title : Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781455505500
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 0 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts Reviews

  • Pam
    2019-05-18 11:38

    Keats Sedlak is living a content, comfortable life. She is living in an apartment with her boyfriend of ten years and has a not so challenging job as an office manager. However, she is the oddball in her family, the normal one to say the least. Her brother, Milton, hasn't left their mother's house for two years. Her sister, Hopkins, is a genius, and she is currently saving lives as a neurologist. Her father, also a genius, is a published author and a professor at Harvard. Lastly, her mother drives her insane for many reasons, one of those is for always implying that Keats's boyfriend, Tom, isn't good enough or smart enough for her. In fact, her whole family seems to think that about Tom. They also don't like her job; none of them understand why she is working there and not getting a higher education. While her family definitely drives her nuts, she is there for them when she is needed, like for going through items in the house she grew up in because her mother wants to sell it. In spending more time with her family, she is also spending more time with her dad's personal assistant, Jacob. Keats starts to question certain aspects in her life and witnesses all the changes taking place around her. She starts to see that change isn't always a bad thing.My thoughts:This was a very good read, but it made me a little depressed at the same time. Let me try to explain why without giving too much away. Keats’s parents, who have been separated for years, are finally going through a divorce, a family member suffers a medical emergency, and I think the fact that Keats has to constantly defend her boyfriend and her happiness made it a little sad for me. Keats is a great protagonist though. Although her family is constantly on her case and questioning her happiness, Keats stands up against it and defends herself. She also clearly loves them and lends them a hand, or even a stubborn threat, to help them out. I definitely felt for Keats when she was dealing with her family, but it wasn’t always depressing. When she did interact with them there was usually some humor to be found in the struggle too. Here is Keats describing time with her dad:“When he finally moves on from the topic of Keats’s Wasted Life, it’s to give me a lecture about the heart, both as muscle and as a literary trope. It’s clearly something he’s put a lot of thought into, but none of his observations seem all that original to me, and after a while, I can’t restrain a yawn, which sends him into a long rant about the deterioration of the American attention span—which makes me so bored I could scream, which I guess proves his point.” (p. 137)While I wouldn’t say that this is the best book I’ve ever read, it was an enjoyable read with a melancholy sort of feel.

  • Heidi Brydon
    2019-05-04 14:35

    Some novels will leave you with piles of dirty laundry and unwashed dishes as you ignore everything you should be doing to just keep on reading. This is that kind of novel. I'm a huge fan of this author, and this is one of her best books yet, on a par with the novel that first caught my attention "Same As it Never Was". Her dialogue is so real that you feel more like you are spying on these people rather than reading about them.Like many, I too have a ridiculous, crazy family. Not cute TV crazy, but crazy like the people in this novel, who do selfish manipulative things, say things they regret and argue over who gets the piano. If your family is perfect, and supports you unconditionally in all you do, wow, you surely will not enjoy this book. For the rest of us, it is a must read, if only so that you can comfort yourself with the certain knowledge that most families are...just plain crazy.Clear your weekend. Get this book. You will not regret it. If your mother calls in the middle of reading it (as mine did!) you can just call her back. Don't let her ruin the read. You may find, as I did, that when you return the call she bugs you a little less, and you can remember that in spite of it all, you do love her.

  • Hélène Louise
    2019-05-10 09:32

    In a way I loved this book, well written, displaying some very credible characters, showing how people with high intellectual capacities, geniuses even, often suffer, have social difficulties, and that being very intelligent doesn't mean being very happy or wealthy.The family story is really good too, explaining how comparisons and early false convictions can obscure ones jugement and gives way to severe self-deprecation.What I didn't like, at all, was the final moral.As my review is hidden I'll be explicite.At some point Jason - who seems to be a nice person but who's jealous - says that Tom doesn't deserve Keats, being so much less intelligent, funny, and charming than she is.And it's quite the point of the story in fact : Keats is very clever but no genius, contrarily to her siblings and father, and so have gave up all pretensions to achieve anything at all, and have chosen a confortable live, in which she just survives, without using her brain, in a job in which she's head over heels over skilled and living with a nice man who doesn't have much conversation and offers her no challenge. In a way she's shunning the world as much as her brilliant young brother who, at twenty, haven't been out of the house for two years, geeking all day in front of his computer.And I agree with this conviction: I believe that it can't be sane and confortable to spent ones live with someone who's some much more, or less, clever than we are. Charlotte couldn't catch any better husband then Mr Collins, but nowadays, a woman or a man can choose, and should find someone feeling and living live the same way they do.In this book, Keats, twenty-five, discovers that she's not happy with Tom, just not unhappy, and very bored, having buried her brain under trivialities, and running away from her clever and unorthodox family, considering that they are noxious for her and that Tom is her shelter.In the end of the book she leaves Tom, who's being her boyfriend for ten years, sad to give pain, but resolved to take back her life and be proactive about it.All that is quite fine for me.But what disturbed me was that I was left with the idea that Tom had have too high expectations, wanted to keep for himself Keats, and is rightly punished to have dared to pretend keeping captive (even loving and cherishing) a higher intellect. And he's discarded, left devastated, crushed, castigated...During the book Tom is exposed as a rather silly, clumsy, clueless young man, who doesn't understand jokes, blunders and is only interested by drinking beers and viewing sports. An annoying character, who dares loving Keats with all his heart, impudent as he is!The author could (should?) have demonstrate that he wasn't so happy in fact with a girl much more brilliant than he were, that he felt inferior and not really appreciated, and ready to be eased, liberated, after the first shock of the rupture.But no. The reader closes the book with the idea that any nice handsome average intelligent man is dying to have the chance to keep at his side, even to her disfavour, a cleverer woman, as if it was the one and only consecration, the ultime honour. As if gifted persons were another species, superior ones (elves maybe ? ^-^) and a catch for any normal person.I resented this snobbery.Tom deserved his happy ending, not to be tossed away as an ugly undersized sock!

  • Cherylyn
    2019-04-27 09:29


  • Melodie
    2019-05-11 14:28

    Keats Sedlak isn't exactly living the dream. But her life is comfortable, undemanding. She has a nice apartment she shares with her boyfriend of ten years and a decent but unexciting job. She believes she has exactly what she wants and no more than she deserves. Family drama abounds and her comfortable unexciting life insulates her from some of it. The rest of it.. well.. nobody's life is perfect. To say her family is eccentric is a kind understatement. Two siblings,an over-achieving selfish doctor/ older sister and a brilliant but severely agoraphobic and extremely selfish younger brother. Her father is a learned professor at Harvard, and her mother is a lazy complaining snob in the process of divorcing her husband of thirty odd years. Oh and she has thrown herself headlong into the dating game while simultaneously trying to sell the family home which looks like a tribe of hoarders have lived there for a half century. Families and how one lives with and without them is the theme here.All families come with drama,quirks and foibles.For good or bad, we are shaped and at least partially defined by our family.We can run but we can't hide.The author did a great job making the Sedlak family relatable to the reader.Funny,thoughtful and poignant,the story kept the reader turning those pages. I liked it.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-05 11:12

    This was the first book I've ever read by Claire LaZebnik and I really enjoyed it! Keats was a really likable person and you really felt for her when she had to deal with her crazy, dysfunctional family. When I first realized that Tom and Keats had a huge age difference and they had started dating when she was 15, I was a little creeped out, but it really worked with the story. I really hated Hopkins but I loved Milton, so LaZebnik did a great job developing her characters and defining who they are. I enjoyed following Keats and watching her discover how she really wants to live her life. Her family sounds so crazy that I understood completely how Keats felt towards them. Keats really learns to understand the value of family and how you're stuck with what you have, so you should make the most of it. There were some slow parts to the book, but in the end it was a nice story.

  • Kelly Moran
    2019-05-11 13:34

    Keats Sedlak has always felt inferior amid her brilliant family, and the only sane member. With a steady boyfriend and job, she's constantly being called back home to help the family. Now, her mother is filing for divorce and putting the house up for sale, her brother won't leave his bedroom, her genius sister refuses to come home and help, her father's health is slipping, and... she's starting to question her own life choices throughout it all.In one night, I read this start to finish. I was that engrossed. More a women's fiction with romantic elements, this books delves into the family dynamic, our innermost fears of mediocrity, and dares us to question what we truly want. With realistic and flawed characters, hilarious secondary characters and scenarios, this is not to be missed.

  • Angel
    2019-05-14 13:20

    I special requested this book from my local library. I read up to page 70 and then skimmed until the last several chapters.I was highly disappointed in the book. I did not care for the first person narrative. I was irritated by the family in general. The author did not connect me to any of the characters in such a way that I cared about what happened to any of them. And, to me the story was too predictable.This was a real "miss" for me.

  • michelle
    2019-05-09 12:29

    i hadn't read a book in almost a month and i'm pretty sure it was because i was waiting for this one to come out. even though somehow i didn't even know it was coming out. maybe i was too excited by epic fail. or maybe my head was in the clouds. either way, i'm so happy right now. i might even shed a tear or two of joy. maybe.oh and the book is fantastic.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-14 14:19

    Wasn't impressed with this book. The characters weren't interesting...I feel like the author wants you to dislike them. By the time I was halfway through, I didn't care what happened to the characters...I just wanted to hurry up and finish the book.

  • Tina Stillabower
    2019-04-22 11:40

    I didn't really care for this book until the last several chapters where it partially redeemed itself. It was just ok. The main character didn't seem to have much of a personality until the end, when she finally started standing up for herself. The title is what intrigued me, but it didn't quite live up to expectations.

  • Melissa Kayden
    2019-04-29 10:31

    Cute book. Keats' family drove me absolutely nuts, but I guess everyone's family can be like that so that make it more believable.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-08 11:39

    This is a fluffy and predictable read, but still fairly enjoyable.

  • Mary Gramlich
    2019-04-22 07:14

    FAMILIES AND OTHER NONRETURNABLE GIFTS by Claire LaZebnik09/11- Grand Central Publishing - Paperback, 304 pagesIs our personality determined due to birth order?We all play a specific role in family dynamics whether we admit to it or not. Surviving the landscape of competitive family relationships, overcoming disappointment and jealousy is like walking on a minefield. You are placed by birth order in a position to control, submit, surrender, or dominate and some accept this as destiny while others break out and completely upset the familial apple cart. Keats Sedlak has always filled her role as destiny preordained but now she is watching her family meltdown as her parent parents’ divorce, her father’s mortality becomes very apparent, and the family home goes on the selling block. Keats has always had to live up to unattainably high standards with academic parents and siblings that blow her intellectually out of the water but this is perhaps one shove too many. Everyone seems to know what Keats should be doing with her life, and what will fulfill her need for growth personally. They tell her constantly that the man she has been with for 10 years is not good enough for her and their relationship a tad creepy since he is five years older and they started dating when she was 15 stunting her ability to explore other relationships.Keats has spent her life searching for something to fill the void that distant parents and self-consumed siblings were never able to while at the same time make her own achievements, not an easy task. She thought her boyfriend had taken over her emotional losses but now everything has the potential to be flushed down the toilet and Keats is deciding what stays and what is gone. If you stand still long enough and do not physically remove yourself from the situation you are in everything will remain as much the same as it does change. You have to be prepared for the ramifications and Keats thinks she is as she prepared to make major life-altering decisions that will affect everyone and not all of them in a positive fashion. So as Keats learns to accept her mother as a single woman on the prowl, her father’s judgmental assessments, and her siblings’ self-effacing personalities she is also ready to accept the fear and loneliness that comes from decisions and alterations to life’s grand scheme of things.This is a well-written book with a fine-tuned sense of how complicated your family dynamics are and points out you are stuck with them forever so deal with it. You cannot rewrite the past, make your parent act less crazy, or walk away from any of their crap regardless of how many times you try. Everyone else’s life looks normal and so much better than yours when you are on the sidewalk looking in watching them decorate the Christmas tree. You have to make your presence known and accept your role but also expand your existence and at some point put the baggage on wheels. It will be much easier to carry around and on occasionally dump off, I know of what I speak.

  • Marguerite Kaye
    2019-05-16 07:28

    This was an unexpected pleasure. I picked it up in the library looking for some fluff, and though it was light=-hearted, it was more than that. In lots of ways it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Ann Tyler. Not quite so well-written (but then hardly anyone writes prose like Tyler does) and not quite so subtle, but it had that same gentle observation, that insightful look into family dynamics that typifies Tyler and which I absolutely love. From the blurb on this book, I took it to be a story about a woman growing out of love wiht her long-term childhood sweetheart and finding someone else. It was about that kind of, but it was much more about her finding her place in her family, and about how shining a clearer light on the past can totally change what you think of the present and what you want from the future. This was done in a light, fun and entertainting way though, no navel-staring or angsting, as I said just gentle observation, painting of pictures and then stepping back allowing the reader to draw her own conclusion. This is one of the things I liked best about it - no beating about the head with lessons, no big earth-shattering philosophy, but you were in no doubt about what it was that the main character was seeing, learning, concluding. I'm worried I'm making it sound dry, when it wasn't - I read it all in two sittings. The family (Sedlaks) are one of those intellectual slightly mad families that could have been cliched but weren't. The main character, Keats (her brother is Milton, her sister Hopkins, very Tyler-esque pun there by the parents) is the odd one out in that she thinks she's not clever, she's 'normal', she's the clearer-upper and the mouse that everyone forgets about. That's what I mean, when I say it could be cliched, but it wasn't. You really got inside Keats' head, you really empathised with her, and luckily LaZebnik is far too good a writer to make everything black and white. There were plenty of shades of grey, and enough of an unravelling at the end to give you hope but not to tie all the loose ends up too neatly.I do love dysfunctional family stories, and this was was really good, a thoroughly enjoyable read. I'll defintiely be looking for more of this author's books.

  • Georgette
    2019-04-25 09:13

    What a neat little book.A quick read, a funny book, and more than anything- you give a crap about these characters. Not only did I identify with the characters, but I'm convinced someone stepped into my life and somehow thought up Keats, the lead character in the book.I haven't read many books lately where I give a crap about the characters. Keats is the underachiever of the family. She's the daughter who just graduated with normal grades, she has a normal job, she has a stable(ie-boring as hell) relationship of 10 years, and she's content to not rock the boat. She's living in the shadow of her overachiever dynamo big sister Hopkins. Her younger brother Milton is anti-social and doesn't leave his room or his computer-ever. Their mother is divorcing their father, and is out dating all over the place. Their father isn't in the best of health, isn't taking well to the divorce or his soon-to-be-ex-wife selling the house, and suffers a heart attack, bringing things to a head.Keats is having a hell of a time. She's just hit the 10-year anniversary mark with her boyfriend Tom. She's expecting a ring for her birthday, instead he's gotten her name tattooed on him. This makes Keats realize things just aren't what she's imagined them to be. Namely, she's not that happy with Tom. This realization, of course, is accompanied by a regrettable action that ultimately leads to her ending her relationship with Tom. Her oddball family- who never really warmed to him anyway- encourages her to get out and start dating again, but Keats is torn by feelings of shame for hurting her now ex and her burgeoning feelings for Jacob, who's basically a member of the family without the bloodline attached. She's also torn by feelings of wanting to beat the crap out of her annoying sister, who can't squeeze time to come see her ailing father into her super busy schedule. Keats finally snaps and tells her sister like it is. She also begins to realize that to be happy, she needs to shake things up and go for the brass ring.Overall, I have to say, just a great book to read. You can't put it down, because you want to see things work out for Keats and her oddball family. A good book to read if you need to take your mind off of things.

  • gille
    2019-04-29 15:10

    Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts is a great title. It kind of ends there. The premise is really good - Keats Sedlak is the only average member in her family of intellects and geniuses. She is in a regular relationship with a regular guy, and they've been together for 10 years. Her family is comprised of crazy people who lack social skills. This could have been really funny or really moving or really good. It was none of those things. The chapters were very formulaic - each one ended with a single sentence thought and progressed similarly. I cannot, cannot, CANNOT STAND when book characters have completely abnormal names. Who would name their kids after the LAST NAMES of their favorite authors? Hopkins, Keats, and Milton. The first two are girls. I found that really hard to get passed. Really hard to read and I'm not one of those people that can just sub in a normal name. I get that it was part of the family quirkiness and how Keats seems to lament her name but I don't go for it. Too weird and annoying. In fact I've had this book for months and I put off reading it because of the names of the characters. That's how much I knew it would bother me. AND when I went to restock and B&N the other day, I purposely avoided all strangely named character books, even if it looked like the story might be good. I read the whole book because it was tantamount to a train wreck for me. I wanted to see how the gore would unfold. I was not moved at all, I did not feel bad for any characters and I didn't particularly like any of them. Mostly I didn't find them respectable. I didn't see any of the characters as people I would like in life, not even the normal Keats. So i plowed through it with the goal of starting a new book as soon as possible. I would not recommend this book.

  • Lisarenee
    2019-05-23 14:32

    They say every family has a black sheep, but in some families it's not the black sheep that stands out, it's the white one. Such is the case for Keats Sedlak. She's the only white sheep in the flock. Her family is full of geniuses who tend to be a touch eccentric and/or reclusive. As Keats' father is fond of saying, "It's a fine line between madness and genius." Keats, named after the poet of the same name, is the middle child of three. She's been in the same relationship with Tom for 10 years. Her parents and Tom don't get along, but they tolerate each other. Her mother is divorcing her father, a man 20 years her senior, and is selling the family home. While cleaning out the family homestead and dealing with the reality that her father may not be around that much longer, Keats will reconnect with her family on a new level and realize you can't escape who you are or where you come from. This is a book about family, love, and growing up. It's about making choices that aren't always easy and leaving your comfort zone. It's about being independent and standing on your own two feet. It's about family, and while you may be able to take the child out of the family, you can't always take the family out of the child--after all families are nonreturnable.I loved seeing Keats grow throughout the story. I liked seeing her truly bond with her family for the first time in years. I also liked seeing how the dynamics of such an eccentric family worked.Where the name of the book come from? The main thing that starts off a chain of events in Keats' life is a seemingly innocent gifting of a tattoo, which is a gift that's nonreturnable, hence, the name for the book. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 roses.

  • Shirley
    2019-05-18 12:39

    The title of the book captured my attention due to being the youngest of 13 children. People talk about the "birth order" of their children and how parents treat them accordingly. I felt that the story captured some the various layers of a dysfunctional family. There are 3 Sedlak children, Hopkins (genius child), Keats (the sane one), and youngest brother Milton (genius child). Keats is in her mid twenties and seems to be the "go to" child for the family. She has been in the same relationship with Tom since she was 15 years old and for 10 years. She feels that she is called upon to take care of things for because she isn't the overachiever, not a genius...doesn't have a life of importance. The mother's decision to divorce their dad and sell the family's home puts everything into uncertainty. This is when you are able to understand the characters perception of their family member(s) which is sometimes sad, disruptive and funny but in the end evolves towards a positive outcome....due to Keats going with the flow because they are "family". With the exception of the oldest sister Hopkins the family falls apart, the dynamics shift and they do come together. There is a tremendous awakening and growth in their relationships. The Sedlaks do learn that just because someone is a genius doesn't mean they have common sense, or that they should be held up on a pedestal. The truth is all families have their issues, not always perfect but when you decide to communicate and work things out it can be a blessing. I do recommend reading the book and it is a easy read. The story will definitely make you think about your own nonreturnable family...view them as a gift despite their shortcomings.

  • Cocktails and Books
    2019-04-23 15:13

    I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a bit of Running with Scissors--at least the "crazy family" part!This family has a redeeming member though and that is Keats--the middle child. She is bright, just not a super-genius like the rest of her family members. She, however, has social, organizational and other skills that help her navigate society more successfully.When her parents decide (rather, her mom decides) to divorce, Keats is the one who has to take care of the family, the house, etc. But then, she is always the one who get things done. Afterall, the other members of her family are too busy being brilliant to take care of mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning, and organizing a home. Although the Sedlaks are intimidatingly smart, they are witty and sarcastic. There is a dry sense of humor that permeates this book that will have readers laughing out loud. In fact, Keats says early on in the book, ""I had discovered about a year earlier that the things that most embarrassed me about my parents could be turned into amusing anecdotes if told with the right sort of dry detachment..."" So even though I felt sorry for Keats at times and cringed at some of her choices, I cracked up more often than not reading this book. I think like most families, the Sedlaks love each other they just have a way of living that is unique to them & I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. I know this review is fraught with errors that would have any Sedlak reading it with nothing short of disgust, but I loved this book and I highly recommend it! Reviewed by Joelle for Cocktails and Books

  • Shelley
    2019-05-16 10:40

    This book was such a pleasant surprise! I don't know that I have ever read quite an honest depiction of a dysfunctional family! (and aren't they all at some point?) I could not put this down. Keats is basically the child who everyone can count on because she is always there. She stayed close to home, and is not considered a genius, like her sister who is neurologist, or her brother that hasn't left the house in two years (but is oh so smart). Even though her family drives her crazy she is still there for them. She has had the same boyfriend since she was 15 and she basically has her life all mapped out without much extra ambition than to go with the flow. But when her mother starts dating again, and her father has a heart attack, her world starts to shift. And once the snowball starts rolling... well lets just say...the entertainment begins!This book is just the right amount of sibling differences, family issues, and real life emotions that will keep you turning the pages from start to finish. You will not want to stop until you are done! Humor keeps this family afloat, no matter how dry it might be, and they all find ways to get through their daily lives and learn from their experiences. You will too.

  • Danella Shea
    2019-04-24 11:38

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman of independent means and moderate disposition will, upon returning to her ancestral home for a visit of any length of time, suddenly come face-to-face with the realization that her family is totally bat-shit crazy."As the sane one in my family, I was immediately drawn to the character of Keats. Although she is the 'sane' one in the family, that certainly does not intimate that she isn't severely flawed. However those flaws served to make her a more real, well-rounded character to me. She is insecure and selfish and definitely not living up to her potential and doing everything in her power to NOT connect with her family. She is also incredibly judgmental and tends to be led by her boyfriend and his opinions. But not all the time. On occasion, the real Keats emerges in a move of wit, determination, guilt or because her desire to do the right thing wins over her subconscious. Thankfully, throughout the course of the book, she learns. She grows and matures and figures it out. Just because you are the 'sane' one doesn't mean you have it all figured out and I think LaZebnik illustrated this wonderfully.

  • Megan
    2019-05-12 08:14

    [DISCLAIMER - I WON A COPY OF THIS BOOK IN THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY.]Actually, I rather enjoyed this book. It was well-written, funny, sad, pretty much everything you could want in a contemporary-style book. I knew right from the start that Jacob had a crush on Keats, simply because of the way they interacted and the way she seemed oblivious to his adoration. Later on she admits she's known about it forever, but I never got that feeling. Oh well.Getting to know her sister Hopkins via phone and e-mail conversations was interesting, but then when she shows up in person at the end it was kind of surprising just what her character was actually like outside of a thirty-second window.I recognized a lot of stuff in this book as being similar to my own family and myself, and pretty much understood everything Keats was feeling (especially as she feels trapped and stagnant).Overall, a good light read. Not my normal type of book, but it was a nice trip down the sidewalk anyway.

  • Chuck Schwager
    2019-05-12 08:20

    I have noted that Claire's other novels echo, in a way, Jane Austin. With this novel she moves on to Anthony Trollope, at least to my inner eye. There is a lot of interior dialogue within Keats as she tried to sort out her life. We become privy to her inner thoughts as well as her actions and this what reminds me so much of Trollope.As with Trollope, Austen and other greats, it is not the plot that matters. The story is compelling, but what really works on the reader is the subtle psychological insights, the wit, and the social compact within the book. How we see our siblings and how we can finally change our approach to them.While I knew most of the plot points and where they would lead, I still read this compulsively and with great pleasure. Reminds me of the Victorian novel written in modern day prose, though much shorter, but just as comforting. I eagerly await the next work from Claire.

  • Tanya Merchant
    2019-05-12 15:16

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway--and the title alone made me eager to read it. I truly enjoyed the story, and found it to be a quick read. I cared about the main character, Keats, and rooted for her to dump her stifling boyfriend, Tom. I especially loved the interaction between Keats and the rest of her "crazy" family. (As a seriously geeky English teacher--British literature--I wholeheartedly appreciate the Sedlak children's names). My only complaint about the novel is that I think it would have benefited from being more in-depth. The characters are intriguing enough that I feel they all deserved more time to develop...

  • Felicia
    2019-04-25 09:14

    The first thing that caught my attentoin was the title. I laughed out loud and decided sure why not give it a shot. I ended up really liking this book. I was a quick read but good none the less. The lead character really is what does it for me, she's witty and very relatable. Trying to hold her own in a family of not so sympathetic people, she struggles to figure out herself. Thinking that she knows whats right, she has been at odds with her family for years. Life changing events happen and all is soon not what it seems. I think the term pulling the rug out fits nicely here. A great book with a sweet ending, if you want something to make you smile and feel good this is the book.

  • Emily
    2019-05-21 10:20

    This is a little scattered and somewhat cheesy. I wasn't looking for a serious read. It does question what is normal and sometimes the change we want in others is really a change we need to make in ourselves. However, there is some inconsistencies that get in the way which is funny because the main character is an editor. One of the "supportive" people in her life is more of a controlling jerk. What is up with these parents letting their 15 year old date a 20 year old? This age gap is marketed to be cute; but, it is just creepy.

  • Dee Toomey
    2019-05-17 08:27

    I was really enjoying this book and thinking I really have to read more of LaZebnik, when BAM!!! half-way or further in the book, sudden explicit sex. It would have sufficed for me to just read "they made out" or "they had sex" but no...the book has to get explicit with too much detail. But by this point, I was so into the actual storyline that I had to finish the book. The actual story I would have given 4 stars, but because of the "raunch", I lowered my rating to 2 stars.

  • Ameena
    2019-05-07 12:35

    Seeing as my family is entirely dysfunctional, I was thrilled to receive this book as a gift. (From a family member I might add!)In any case, author LaZebnik takes a while to get going in this book but once she does the subject matter is engrossing. I wouldn't say this is one of my favorites but it was entertaining, and thanks to quirky supporting characters and solid writing I would definitely recommend this book to others!

  • Lorri
    2019-04-30 09:24

    We all know that some members of your family you would never pick if it was your decision. Keats is always frustrated with her family and feels like an outcast since all the others are so smart. She has been with her boyfriend since she was fifteen and lives a 'comfortable' life. Eventually she realizes that isn't enough for her while helping her family sell their house. I enjoyed the characters and liked how they changed over the course of the story.