All Adults Here by Emma Straub review

By Nathanial Fineston

I really wanted to like this book considering it had a really strong start but I just couldn’t quite get there as the story went on.

All Adults Here takes place in the fictional town of Clapham, New York which is located in the very real Hudson Valley, a section of New York state that’s close to the city and popular with cottagers and fall foliage seekers of all stripes. Straub does a good job of establishing the setting, making the town a part of the story right along side the Strick family among whom the story shifts perspective. All equally well realized we meet Astrid, Elliot, Porter, Nicky, Cecelia and Cecelia’s new friend August each having an existential crisis all their own. The author even throws in a couple tantalizing mysteries with several of the characters to whet our interest but sadly doesn’t really take them anywhere.

The fact of the matter is that not much happens, the aforementioned strong opening drew me in but that just made the later lack of plot development all the more disappointing. All the events of the story that actually do happen seem to have little or no consequences beyond the scene in which they are taking place. All the characters bad choices (usually the stuff of good drama) all just sort of fizzle out by the end with no real pay off.

Overall I’d say this book is competently told enough to be recommended if you’re looking for something low-stakes and not at all challenging but otherwise, there are more interesting books out there.