BOOK REVIEWS

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-16 
Review Score: 3 out of 5 star From 62 user ratings
ISBN:0375851275
LANGUAGE:English

"Originally Posted: http://a-librarians-library.blogspot....

Dear Ms. Schumacher, Please tell me that you stumbled upon the name Adrienne Haus because you just wanted to include the anagrams sentence in your book. Because that is pure genius. =)
Sincerely, Jennifer @ A Librarian's Library
The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls is a book that is really unexpected. What starts out as a cute story about four girls from completely different worlds being forced together through summer reading turns into something so much more.
This book is really more of a coming of age story focused on our narrator, Adrienne Haus. "A" is a girl who finds herself without her best (and only) friend for an entire summer because of a knee injury that prevents her from going on an outdoor excursion. As she mopes around the house and dreads this stupid book club her mother started, she finds herself identifying with the characters in her summer reading books, and these characters begin teaching her more and more about herself.

The other girls in this book club are very distinct (and somewhat cliche). CeeCee is your typical "A-List" girl who hides her problems behind her pretty face and outgoing personality. Jill is adopted from China and already has her life for the next 10 years planned out to the day. And Wallis is a mysterious new girl who skipped two grades. The four of them, who would not have interacted otherwise, find themselves thrown together for an interesting summer.

I am a firm believer in writers being intentional with every detail in their story. And somewhere I feel like Jill got lost in translation. I kind of feel like she was just thrown in the story because four is better than three. But in my opinion, Jill's presence in this novel doesn't add anything to the story. She was just someone who happened to be around.

I can tell you, I did enjoy this novel. But I can also tell you that if the summer club was centered around movies or cooking, I probably wouldn't have liked it all that much. I think the fact that this novel focuses so much on literature is the reason why the story developed into one that I liked. The five works of literature discussed in this novel (The Yellow Wallpaper, Frankenstein, The Left Hand of Darkness, The House on Mango Street, and The Awakening) really allowed for some dynamic MC development that would not have been able to be conveyed otherwise. I appreciate Ms. Schumacher's incorporation of these major works of literature into her characters lives. It really appealed to the booklover in me!

Surrounding the bookclub plot is the coming of age story, which mostly has to do with self-acceptance what the lack of a father means for Adrienne's place in the world. This becomes one of those subplots that seems more "thrown in for character development and growth" than anything else--if this were removed, it wouldn't affect the story at all. But Adrienne does find a way to define herself in her small town world, and she learns some valuable lessons about friendships and mother-daughter relationships along the way, and this is mostly because of Wallis. Out of the other three girls in this story, Wallis is the most dynamic and most crucial to the story, and she ended up being my favorite character. There is just something loveable about her to readers (and to A's mom) that the other girls don't quite understand.

I must say, the ending has a complete shock (which surprises me coming from a YA contemporary), but Ms. Schumacher sets up a beautiful open-ended Epilogue to her cute cute contemporary YA. Overall, I found this book to be enjoyable for lovers of literature like myself.
" said.

"I borrowed this from the library without knowing too much about it, but I figured I’ve been on a roll with my YA contemporary picks so far this year, so I’d take a chance on this book.

Here is the Goodreads summary:

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.


This was sort a quirky, funny read, told from Adrienne’s first-person point of view in the form of an essay about her summer. She has to spend her summer vacation at home after injuring her knee, while her one and only friend is off on some sort of camping trip. Her mother signs up for a mother-daughter book club with three other girls from school, none of whom are friends with each other.

CeeCee is the requisite popular but potentially troublesome girl; Jill is the academic overachiever; Wallis is the outcast; and Adrienne is…well, this is part of the story: Adrienne isn’t sure who she is or how she would describe herself. She wonders if she can attribute this, at least in part, to the fact that she doesn’t know her father, but she has a difficult time trying to get too much information about him from her mother.

The book club scenes were fun to read, partly because it seemed as though the mothers were more interested in it than the daughters (except for Wallis’s mother, who doesn’t show up). For some reason, CeeCee seems to take a liking to Adrienne and begins showing up at her house to hang out. Lily warns Adrienne about CeeCee, noting that once school starts up again, they won’t be friends. But Adrienne wants to hang out with CeeCee, and as expected, CeeCee and Adrienne (mostly Adrienne) get into some trouble when they’re together. This aspect annoyed me somewhat, because I could tell that something bad was going to happen and wanted Adrienne to stop what she was doing or tell CeeCee off, but she didn’t. I don’t think I was ever the kind of teenager to really stand up for myself, but I also wouldn’t have done some of the dumb things that Adrienne does (or lets CeeCee do, like piercing her ear in the back of a car).

The character I really felt drawn to, though, was Wallis, the strange, quiet, intelligent loner. Her mother never shows up to the book club meetings, so Adrienne, CeeCee, and Jill speculate about all the possible reasons for this. At one point, Adrienne’s mother has Wallis stay with them for a few days when it appears that her mother is away and that Wallis is at home all alone. Adrienne didn’t like really Wallis, at least not at first – she and the other girls thought she was weird – but I felt for her. I don’t know, I think I always feel sort of drawn to the outcast characters – not because I think I am or was one, maybe it’s just sympathy – and in this case, Wallis was such a mystery that I was hoping to learn more about her life.

This book was a really quick read (my library copy was around 230 pages) and while I didn’t totally love it, I liked the story and Adrienne’s voice. Recommended for those looking for a quick contemporary YA read.

(From www.pingwings.ca)" said.

"I spent most of the book thinking I would rate it a 3-star read, but as I got further into it, it grew on me and I finished up rating it 4 stars. I'm not particularly into YA books, but this one was clever and I really liked the format. The story is about a group of 4 girls whose moms decide to form a book club to get their daughters doing something useful during the summer, plus providing some supposed quality mother-daughter time. Unfortunately the girls are less-than-enthusiastic, although they do actually do what their moms want and read the books. They choose 4 books to read, and I would have liked this story much better if I had read any of the books involved because they were quite important to the story. As a matter of fact, the only book mentioned that I had read was A Wrinkle in Time and the reference to Aunt Beast. This book was set up in parts, with each chapter beginning with a literary definition (like hyperbole or plot or stream of consciousness), then the chapter's content built around that theme. In addition, each section of the book referenced the book they were reading for their club. And each section (and their discussions) centered around the lives of the girls and their actions and thoughts and how they compared to the characters in the book club books. There were a lot of amusing comments, particularly by Adrienne who is the main character. She has a mildly sarcastic way of looking at things, while being self-deprecating at the same time. Actually, some of the comments seemed more adult-like than young adult, but maybe that's just me and kids really are that clever. All the girls become unlikely friends because of their shared requirement to be part of the club. It was hilarious that the girls kept referring to the book club by many different unappealing names, such as the Unbearable Book Club for Irresponsible Girls or The Society of Feminine and Literary Despair or Involuntary Book Club for Intolerable Girls. Part of the significance of the group's different names are the difficulties that the girls get into during their boring summer, getting into trouble as they try new things, seemingly because of their bad influence on each other but also just because they're at a vulnerable stage of their lives. Adrienne is the daughter of a single mom and she is trying to find her way after being injured and having to drop out of a camping trip she had planned and saved for, CeeCee is the poor little rich girl who is totally irreverent, Jill is the high achiever who is stronger than her mother and takes care of her in some ways, while Wallis is the highly intelligent misfit. Interesting personalities and fascinating to see their interactions,

Favorite comment about Adrienne's crazy thoughts, "Where did that come from? Nowhere, I said, Or maybe from the backseat of my brain."

Quote about the book club, "I hadn't wanted to be a member of a book club. I hadn't wanted to meet once a week and discuss the books on our list--but now that I had they were taking up space inside me; they had staked out parcels of land in my brain."

Adrienne decides to dye her hair because, "...to make me feel more confident and less like a blank; closer to edgy and further from bland." When she was done she looked in the mirror: "Maybe it fades," I informed the mirror. The mirror suggested I immediately get into the shower and wash my hair several times.

And CeeCee tells us, "The problem with guys...is they kiss too forcefully. It's like they want to show you their lips have been pumping iron." And Jill and Adrienne have a conversation where they pretend to use an 8-ball to read the answers but really substitute things like, Maybe Adrienne has heard something about the thing that's missing but doesn't want to admit it. Very funny scene.
" said.

"TUBC4UG, for short
By: Julie Schumacher
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pub Date: May 8, 2012
Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5
Spoilers: Nope
Favorite Line: Oh, so many. See the section below. :)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review


Publisher's Summary:
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 held off doing this BR for a few reasons. One, I read this book pretty fast and I wanted to make sure I had enough time to let it sink in. Two, I was busy (any surprise?). And three, I wasn't sure if I was going to use this BR in a new project that's *hopefully* going to start in May (more details to come as they become available. But let me just say, I'm uber excited!).
So, without further ado, let's begin.
This book was a fun, fast read. Very entertaining and engaging. Very funny. The voice of our MC, Adrienne (I can't help but channel Rocky Balboa's voice every time I say her name, so, from now on, I'll refer to her as A like CeeCee does in the book), is sarcastic and witty.
The main thing I want to know is this, how the heck do I become friends with CeeCee? This character is G.R.E.A.T. Not even kidding. She's the "queen bee" from school and has decided to honor A with her friendship, even though A doesn't want it. Her personality is entitled, snooty, snarky, funny, and stuck-up without being a putt-off (hence my friendship request).
Julie did such a fun and wonderful job making each of the four girls real and complex and deep. Their interaction together over the summer because of the book club is 100% what I remember from my high school days. Even the way they disbanded when it was over natural.
Wallis is a bit of a creepy yet ambiguous character. I never quite got the feel for her, I thought one thing, but then that never played through. That happened a few times during the story.


Did I mention I really love CeeCee? Cuz if I didn't, I do.
Good descriptions. Funny lines all over the place. Fast-moving plot. Loved, loved, loved this book.
Great lines:
When I turned toward her she smiled a closed-lipped smile, making me think of an alligator sunning itself on a riverbank. (ebook pg 11)
If a bear could be trained to talk, I thought, it would sound like Wallis (ebook pg 42)
My mouth was a saliva-filled marsh, boggy with pockets of vomit and gin (ebook pg 123)
Listening to the noise of the pool in the background—the shouting, the whistling, the general commotion—I thought, I am a lonely person. That's why I read books. (ebook pg 189)
A is a great example of strong female character without being strong in the stereotypical sense. Even though she doesn't know who she is and she's experimenting, deep down she's consistent and the same reliable, unbending (constant) person.
One thing I was unsatisfied with, though, was the fact that Willis kind of felt like a throw away character to me. I mean, I know the mystery of her character was there to push A into discovering deep down who she was, but I also wanted to know about Willis, and we never got that far. I felt a bit cheated, I'll be honest. We were never given a picture at the end of the book about what actually was going on with Wallis, which, I guess, is okay, but really, I'm not okay with it.
Okay! What's my usual disclaimer? That's right! Pick it up and read it for yourself. :)
Happy reading, my friends!

http://RaeLynnFry.Blogspot.com

" said.

"3.5 stars

Originally posted here

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 herself 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.
" said.

" Melancholic. Good but somehow a moody book. " said.

" The teenage girl characters are funny, cruel, smart and naive. There's nothing sweet about this small-town gritty summer story, but plenty to enjoy. The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls is a good choice for teens, mothers of teens, or book club members. " said.

" Descent story, just a little too for teens/young adult readers! " said.

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