ARC Review: Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth (2020)

Review: 2.5 out of 5 ⭐️
Title: Grown Ups: A Novel
Author: Emma Jane Unsworth
Published: 2020 (Gallery/Scout Press, New York)
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Women’s Fiction, Humor
*Disclaimer: Highly recommended for ages 18+

My ARC copy of Grown Ups with a pin the publisher sent me (this was screenshot from my IG story… which explains the hearts)

~This book is available in the US on August 18th, 2020~

This is my first Advanced Readers Copy review! I got this book in a giveaway on Instagram, and was sent a copy (along with the pin pictured above) by the publisher, Gallery/Scout Press an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The pin is pretty cute, by the way. I received this book closer to the publication date than I thought I would, but I wanted to talk about this book before it came out anyways, especially since this is my first ARC review. I have no idea why I was asked to read this, because my blog is not that successful. But I figured I’m probably among their target audience too – female, millennial and I am a fan of Fleabag and Normal People.

I should clarify – this novel was already published in the UK titled as Adults in January 2020. Grown Ups will be published in the US and released on August 18th. So there was already a lot spoken and circulating about this book. I added this book to my Amazon wish list a long time ago, and then forget about it until I saw it pop up on my Instagram feed a couple months ago.

Emma Jane Unsworth’s newest and biting fiction novel is about a woman named Jenny McLaine, a 35-year-old Londoner who writes for a magazine, owns a house, is reluctantly going through a bad breakup with her longtime partner Art, and has a social media addiction. This novel is mostly a mix of internal, agonized thought, text/email conversations, and rough drafts by the main character. I really wanted to love her new release, I did. But I did not. The writing was not terrible, some of the jokes were well executed and hilarious, and I found some of the story and dialogue compelling. But the characters felt one-sided and vapid. The main character Jenny’s story was relatable, but it lacked a certain something, including organization. Maybe I had too high hopes for this book. I felt like I was reading a choppy script for a TV sitcom.

This book is specifically targeted for some millennial and mainly Gen-X women, who enjoy dark humor. She covers difficult and unspoken topics that women go through in their personal and professional lives. I think the reader will only understand, and even enjoy the book, if they’re in Unsworth’s target audience. It was like heterosexual chick-lit, but with more coke. At certain parts of this book, her writing made me feel something. It almost triggered some negative emotions in me from some difficult moments and reactions Jenny goes through. But that was just my experience.

Why should you read this book? If you enjoy women’s literature about relatable life experiences surrounding a sassy and self-sabotaging British woman, this is the book for you. But in the end, the book felt like it was trying too hard to be like some other work in pop culture, like Fleabag (some of the plot was set up similarly too). And I felt oddly uncertain at some moments.

I give this a 2.5 out of 5! (I was tempted to give it a 3, but I just couldn’t. I would not read this book again, ever)


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