“If Love, Actually and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are your two favorite holiday movies, you’re going to love The Adults.”—Bustle
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE • “Sometimes a nasty family comedy is just what you need for the holidays.”—Entertainment Weekly
Meet The Adults.
Claire and Matt are no longer together but decide that it would be best for their daughter, Scarlett, to have a “normal” family Christmas. They can’t agree on whose idea it was to go to the Happy Forest holiday park, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did—and it’s too late to pull the plug. Claire brings her new boyfriend, Patrick (never Pat), a seemingly sensible, eligible from a distance Ironman in Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life, Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, who is seven, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He’s a giant rabbit. Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Forced Fun Activities, drink a little too much after Scarlett’s bedtime, overshare classified secrets about their pasts . . . and before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends where this novel begins—with a tearful, frightened call to the police.
What happened? They said they’d all be adults about this. . . .
Praise for The Adults
“A delectable premise . . . Hulse skewers her characters uproariously, zeroing in on every quirk, and she humanizes them, too.”—Entertainment Weekly
“The ending is worth every page turned in this funny, redeeming wade through the rough tide of blended family.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Caroline Hulse’s farcical debut is an ode to the big personalities and drama you find in families—unconventional and not.”—Real Simple
“This wry holiday novel will make you chuckle and remind you that nobody’s family is perfect. If you’ve ever sat through an awkward family dinner (who hasn’t?), you’ll relate so hard.”—HelloGiggles
“Brilliantly funny.”—Good Housekeeping (UK)
“Razor-sharp comedy.”—Sunday Mirror
|Publisher:||Gale, A Cengage Company|
|Edition description:||Large Print|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Caroline Hulse spends most of her days writing, having fulfilled her dream of having a job she could do in pajamas. She also works in human resources sometimes. She is openly competitive and loves playing board and card games. She can often be found in casino poker rooms. She lives with her husband in Manchester, England.
Read an Excerpt
Matt had known about the trip for months before he dropped it into conversation.
Matt didn’t deliberately keep things from Alex; he just dealt with complicated thoughts like he dealt with his post.
When letters landed in the hallway, Matt stepped over them or, when they could no longer be ignored, crammed them into any nook he could find. Next to the cooker, on the bookshelf; the letters went anywhere that was easy-reach and tucked away and—most important—had no established retrieval system.
Hence, Matt absolved himself from any sense of urgency and, if the sender tried to contact him again, Matt seemed (and, Alex came to realize, actually was) genuinely surprised the issue hadn’t just gone away.
Within weeks of Matt moving in, Alex had piles of envelopes in places in her house where there had never been piles before.
After the first few times she spent pulling envelopes out of what had once been—unappreciated at the time—empty nooks, Alex gathered the letters all together one afternoon. She laid them out in a Hansel-and-Gretel trail from the front door to the kitchen table.
Matt came to find her in the bedroom, cradling the letters in his arms. “All this post is mine, Al? Really?”
“I thought I’d put the letters in one place. Make it easy for you.”
Matt shrugged, the letters lifting with him. “I don’t get the point of post. Who do they expect to read post nowadays?”
Weeks later, the nooks had filled up again.
The night Matt told her about the trip, Alex had made a pie—everything from scratch. Except the pastry: Alex wasn’t made of time. At the age of thirty-seven, she still felt like whenever she cooked an actual meal, it was a notable event: that she deserved some kind of award for not just pouring milk onto cereal.
Alex was washing up after tea when Matt came to find her. He loitered in the doorway, like it had occurred to him to come downstairs on a whim and he hadn’t yet decided whether he was staying.
“So. You know what I said about Claire’s idea for Christmas?”
Alex glanced round. “No.”
He widened his eyes. “I definitely haven’t mentioned it?”
“You definitely haven’t.”
Matt blew his dark fringe out of his eyes, as he did twenty times each day. His hairline was impressively youthful for thirty-eight and Alex suspected he might have cultivated the habit to accentuate it. He might have, he might not. Alex meant to ask someone who’d known him longer. Not that it mattered—but Alex was a scientist. Once she’d developed a hypothesis, she wanted to test it. Alex liked her facts clean, boxed.
“God, I’m useless, Al.”
Alex peered at the glass in her hand, checking for soapsuds so she didn’t have to reply.
Matt stayed in the doorway behind her, but reached out to stroke her arm. “I suppose I didn’t know how to bring it up. I thought you might get mad.”
Noting the seamless change of approach from “I thought I’d mentioned it” to “I didn’t know how to bring it up,” Alex unpeeled her washing-up gloves and flopped them over the drainer. She turned to face Matt. “Am I about to get mad?”
Matt gestured for her to step toward him. He put his arms around her waist. “Understandably mad, of course.” He kissed her forehead. “Completely justifiably mad. Not crazy psycho mad.”
This did not bode well. “Go on.”
“So you know I haven’t spent Christmas with Scarlett since Claire and I split up.”
Alex nodded. “Have we got Scarlett this year? I’d like that.”
“No, it’s . . . Claire wants us to go on a weekend away together.”
Alex took a beat to process this. “Us?”
“Us. All of us. You and me. Her and Patrick. With Scarlett as the guest of honor.”
Alex stared at Matt. She gestured toward the kitchen table. This was not the kind of conversation Alex wanted to be having with someone who was standing in a doorway. She didn’t want to be having this conversation at all, but if she was going to have to do so, it would be with someone who was actually in the same room as her.
“At the Happy Forest holiday park in North Yorkshire.” Matt leaned on the back of a chair, palms down, like he was too excited to sit. “They pull out all the stops at Christmas, festive magic everywhere. Light-up reindeers and fake snow. Santa’s elves wander round the forest singing carols.”
Alex glanced at the wine rack but made herself look away. She refused to get annoyed. Annoyance led to irrationality, and irrationality was a personal—and professional—failure.
She lowered herself into a kitchen chair; it creaked. “This Christmas? You mean one month’s time Christmas?”
Matt sank into the chair next to Alex. He leaned forward and picked up one of her spotty-socked feet and placed it on his knee. “We’ve talked about it before, haven’t we?” He stroked her foot. “How magical it would be for Scarlett to spend Christmas with both me and Claire.”
“But we didn’t discuss it in that way. Not like we were really going to do it.”
Matt looked down at her foot. “But what other way is there?”
“We were just being smug about how grown-up and classy we are. It wasn’t a serious conversation.”
“It was to me.”
Alex felt a softening in her chest. Lovely Matt, who thought this kind of thing was a good idea. Who had accepted he would never be a superstar DJ, two years off his fortieth birthday. Who had recently bought a skateboard again, and who was planning to build a half-pipe in the garden—a prospect Alex hadn’t even objected to, knowing there was no chance he would ever get round to it.
Who thought stroking Alex’s socked foot would make this conversation easier.
Alex looked down at her lap. “Or maybe we meant go for a meal sometime. I’m sure no one meant a holiday.” She flicked one fingernail against another. “Claire can’t possibly think it’s a good idea. She’s a sensible woman.”
“She says we all get on fine. She likes you.”
“I like her too,” Alex said in a rush. She tried to get those words in first, when possible. “Did you tell her I’d agreed?”
Matt appeared to concentrate hard on Alex’s foot. He tipped his head forward; his fringe followed.
Curtains, Alex thought. That’s what they used to call that haircut in the early nineties. When it was worn by more age- and era-appropriate people.
“I thought I’d mentioned it, I’m sorry. But we can still make an excuse. Workload. Family clash.” Matt lifted his head in a question. “Dead grandparent?”
“I’m trying to understand if you’ve told her I’d agreed.”
Matt gave an oops smile.
“What does Patrick think about not getting to spend Christmas in Nottingham? Won’t he want to be near his own kids?”
“They’re teenagers. Claire said they never want to see him anyway.”
Alex took a deep breath. “So. Is the trip actually booked?”
“I’m sure we could get a refund. But you know Claire, she’s just so organized. Once she’s got an idea in her head, that’s it.” Matt shook his head tolerantly. “She’s probably packed her case already.”
Alex pressed her lips together. “Do other people do this? Go on holiday with their exes and their new partners?”
Matt shrugged. “Does it matter?”
“If we pull out now, I’ll be the bad guy.”
“I’m not going to drag you there by the hair, Al.” Matt lifted her foot up and placed it down on the floor with a pat, as if dismissing an eager pet. “If you really don’t want to go, we won’t go.” He paused. “I wouldn’t want to go without you—that would be weird.”
“But you always said if you’d met Claire in a different way you might be mates.”
I did, Alex reflected. I said that. But it wasn’t fair of Matt to quote her out of context. Mixing up real, solid conversations and fluffy-cloud, Vaseline-on-the-lens conversations.
Matt put his hands on the table. “I just don’t want to miss another Christmas with Scarlett. She’s seven, Al. She was four the last time I watched her open her stocking.”
“Scarlett comes first, of course. But can’t we just have her here one year?”
“Claire’s her mum. I can’t take Scarlett away from her at Christmas. It’s not right.”
Alex closed her eyes. That was Matt all over, in one illogical sentence. So irritatingly respectful and chivalrous.
She opened her eyes and saw the washing-up in the sink. Perhaps not always that chivalrous. But about this kind of thing, he was chivalrous. About what felt, tonight, like exactly the wrong kind of thing.
Alex watched Matt carefully. “Are you sure you’ve thought it through?”
He gave his mouth a side-twist of thought. “What’s to think through?”
“Oh, I don’t know. There’s nothing complicated? At all? Nothing that might be awkward?”
“Why would there be?”
Alex looked out of the window. In her garden, the security light flickered, flashing her garden into focus in strobelike images.
Flash. Grimy washing line. Flash. Rusty garden chair with the wonky leg. Flash. Tiger-in-a-cape hand puppet strewn across the gravel, the cloth sodden and aged with dirt, left over from a friend’s visit with her baby.
Alex turned back to Matt. She’d always been determined not to infantilize her boyfriend like so many of her friends did, treating their partners like the cack-handed get-nothing-right males who flailed through TV adverts for household products. But he didn’t make it easy for her sometimes. She hated it when he pushed her into this position: making her into the wife from TV adverts, her hands on her aproned hips, lecturing him about brands of paper towels.
Alex leaned forward in her chair, maintaining eye contact. “How do you feel—really feel—about spending Christmas with your ex?”
“These things are only complicated if you make them that way, Al. It’s all in the mind.”
“No lingering emotion or resentment?”
Matt put his head to one side. “I don’t think so.”
“Nothing, however small, left unsaid? Your history’s all empty and wipe-clean? The needle’s back on the start of the record and everything’s peachy?”
Matt sat back in his chair.
“I’m just thinking of you,” Alex added. “A lot of people would find the situation hard.”
Me, she thought. I’d find it hard.
Matt took a while, visibly giving it some thought. “I don’t dislike Claire. I don’t love her and I don’t hate her,” he said eventually. “She’s just . . . Scarlett’s mum now. And we have to find a way to make it work, because she’ll always be Scarlett’s mum.”
“Of course.” Alex jiggled her leg against the table. “And Patrick? You want to spend a weekend with him?”
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
Alex leaned forward. “He doesn’t have ‘a black hole of an anti-personality’?”
“I was being flippant. Claire likes him anyway, and she always had good taste in men.” Matt glanced at Alex’s face and held his palms up in response. “OK, not today. Sorry, Al. Not funny today.”
He stood up. “I’ll leave you to ponder. I know whatever you decide will be the right thing. Just give me a shout when you’re ready.”
He scurried upstairs, leaving Alex with the washing-up.
Alex emptied the lukewarm water out of the sink and refilled the bowl.
The water was too hot but she didn’t add any cold to the mix. The discomfort of her sweating hands was preferable to the more nebulous discomfort going on in her stomach.
Alex wished she was at work right now. It was easier to forget in the university lab, where there were readings to take and cells to study. In the lab, Alex could go hours before she raised her head and looked out of the window at the trees. Only then did she look down at her trainers on the scuffed floor, take in the sound of the tinny radio, and remember there was a world other than studying cells taken from diabetes patients.
But it was different at home. At home, it was just Alex and her thoughts.
She could refuse to go on the trip, of course. But that wasn’t satisfactory either.
She didn’t want to go—but she couldn’t not go either. She’d feel petty and churlish, which she definitely, actively—explicitly—wasn’t. Alex had always been very reasonable about the fact Matt got on with his ex, a fact that other people—people who were actually churlish—would have found difficult.
Alex had overcompensated, if anything. Kissed Claire on the cheek on the occasions they did the Scarlett drop-off swap. Always had something nice to say about Claire’s skirt, or her hair. Everyone had a past and nothing was personal. And Alex wasn’t a personal person.
Alex scrubbed at the burnt pastry on the rim of the pie tin.
Though it was only a month away, Alex hadn’t given much thought to the logistics of Christmas Day. She’d thought she’d see her parents, maybe, or see Matt’s—it didn’t matter. Alex didn’t care about Christmas. It was just a day when the lab was shut.
But this—this was different.
And Matt had known for ages and not told her.
Alex didn’t understand how he did it. Was he able to mentally compartmentalize awkward news? Or was he just putting off the inevitable?
Alex couldn’t test either hypothesis, which made the situation even more frustrating. Matt had an amazing ability to wrong-foot her, and she ended up agreeing to things she hadn’t meant to. Maybe this was why Matt did well in his job in sales, despite having what Alex considered a questionable work ethic.
Alex rinsed a plate; she stacked it on the drainer. She heard a scraping sound upstairs: a chair being dragged across the floor.
Matt was giving her some space. Ostensibly, busy upstairs. In reality, he was just staying out of her way.
After washing up, Alex looked through the online pictures of what she now thought of as the enchanted forest.
Not that it looked enchanted in the pictures. There might have been year-round fairy lights to go with the seasonal fake snow, but there were too many plastic barriers and warning signs for the place to look like a proper woodland wonderland.
Alex pushed her laptop away. She tried again not to look at the wine rack.
Don’t be silly, she’d said, when Matt suggested getting rid of all the alcohol at home. We can’t be the people everyone avoids because there’s no booze in the house. But some nights she felt more of a pull from the retained wine rack than others. Like tonight. The wine’s subtle pressure was multiplied by the jagged weight of a conversation unfinished.
Matt would be expecting her to talk about his suggestion tonight. Though he’d avoided the conversation for weeks, he would expect her to be decisive. They’d had an unspoken agreement in the two years they’d been together that bringing things to conclusion was Alex’s role in their relationship.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The bulk of this story is set over a 5 day period. The concept, ex-wife/ex-husband on a Christmas vacation getaway with their daughter and respective new boyfriend/girlfriend. The relationship of the child's parents is great. They get along, they joke with each other they don't fight. They are content to be apart from each other and in their new roles as "exes". I liked the way this book was split up into each day of the vacation, and I also like how the transcripts from the police interviews were placed. The transcripts told you what was going on, without revealing too much of the story. I actually didn't know who the "victim" was until pretty close to the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book.
This sounded like a fun Christmas story where a divorced couple decide to have Christmas vacation together for their daughter. And bring their new partners with them. A weekend where the four of them will make it great fun for their daughter, Scarlett. Well, things didn't quite turn out so magical and perfect! There were some funny moments but it didn't entertain me like I expected. Don't get me wrong, it was good and a light read at the holidays. I didn't really connect with any of the characters except maybe Scarlett's imaginary rabbit! He had some of the best lines to make me laugh. * I was provided an ARC to read from the publisher and NetGalley. It was my decision to read and review this book.
2.5 Stars This is touted as being a humourous book, sorry but I found little humour between these pages - maybe it slipped past me but I really couldn't find it. There were scenes which made you squirm uncomfortably in your seat, I wonder if these were supposed to be where the humour lay? I did enjoy the plot of the tale though - the idea behind a divorced couple spending Christmas together with their respective partners all for the sake of their young daughter was a good one. Unfortunately the author ruined it slightly by having them share a cabin in the holiday village they go to (any resemblance to a popular chain starting with Centre and ending in Parcs is entirely coincidental *coughs*). This stretched the bounds of believability uncomfortably for me. The main characters we see things from are the two women concerned - Claire and Alex with a goodly dollop of Patrick thrown in, Matt is pretty much an occasional character unless Alex is thinking about him. Unfortunately their voices aren't sufficiently different to really tell them apart on the page so it all becomes a bit of a mish mash on the page. The denouement is flagged early on with the insertion of transcripts of police interviews following "the incident". The only thing we don't really know is what happened in the field and when we do find out the story they concoct for the police is laughable and does not hold water at all. It definitely wouldn't wash in the real world but as this is a work of fiction they seemingly get away with it. The writing has a good pace to it and the author does seem to have a pretty good grasp of relationships and how people work on an internal level. Fortunately this was enough to keep me reading even though the story itself was not actually that good.
Perhaps the first mistake was in marketing this as a comedy because in that regard it definitely falls short of the mark, and once I realized I wasn't going to be amused, it was hard for me to get into this book. 4 adults (two of them ex-es) and the daughter they share travel to a holiday get-away to spend Christmas together. Nevermind the fact that none of the characters are terribly likable, the situation just isn't funny. I felt like an unwanted onlooker thrown into the most uncomfortable domestic dispute ever. Unfortunately, I think the mismarketing led me to have more negative feelings about this book than it probably warrants. The shifting prose is a nice technique that propels the story forward without getting bogged down in the narrative. Posey the imaginary bunny is sweet and clever, even if misguided on the job details of scientists, and may be my favorite character of the novel. The characters are well written, if predictably flawed and relatable even when they are unlikable. I suspect many will find more enjoyment of this book than I did. I went looking for a light holiday read, and that isn't what I found.
Matt finally tells his girlfriend, Alex, that there is a plan for the two of them, his daughter, Scarlett, and his ex-wife and her boyfriend to spend the Christmas holiday together. Alex discovers that the arrangements were made some time ago and she cannot refuse to go or she will look like the bad guy. Claire, her boyfriend, Patrick and Scarlett seem pleased to be spending the holiday together with Alex and Matt. Everyone decides to be adult about the whole thing for Scarlett’s sake. This is the first Christmas in a number of years that she will be with both of her parents. Scarlett and her imaginary friend, Posey, have already decided that they do not like Alex. A series of complications ensue that would be spoilers to outline here. Suffice to say that by the end of the weekend the only person acting close to adult is Scarlett. The dialogue is often comical but sometimes sad. The characters are rich and well developed. Each has serious flaws but their assets are so well written that in the end you will love them all. Details are so vivid that you can actually see the sign at Happy Forrest holiday park, Patrick’s too short shorts and other descriptions. I absolutely loved this book. I cannot say enough about it. Caroline Hulse is now on my list of favorite authors. I received an eBook ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or ratings of this book.
“The Adults” by Caroline Hulse centers around a Christmas vacation that no one will ever forget. A joyful sign welcomed guests to “The Happy Forest Holiday Park! Where relaxation is a force of nature.” The plan was for a nice quiet holiday vacation with extended family, all reasonable adults. What could possibly go wrong? Readers find out quickly that a lot can go wrong when the novel opens with the transcript of a call to emergency services. Operator: “Emergency, which service? Woman: We need an ambulance at the Happy Forest Holiday Park… We need an ambulance. He’s been shot. It was an accident.” This is not just any ordinary Christmas vacation; it is a holiday with one young child Scarlett Cutler, her now divorced parents Matt Cutler and Claire Petersen, their new partners Patrick Asher and Alex Mount, and Scarlett’s imaginary friend, Posey, the rabbit. Why would this group ever think they could spend a holiday together without tension and trauma? From very beginning, anticipation and dread hangs on every page. The chapters are written from alternating points of view to guide readers through events and to help shed light on how all these sensible adults got to that prologue. They all wanted Scarlett to have a memorable Christmas vacation, and in that, they certainly were successful. Their relationships with each other were certainly memorable as well, but those times were filled with insecurity, lies, and manipulation rather than holiday cheer. Fundamental inconsistencies, prevailing insecurities, mounting tension, and underlying conflict indicate the thunderstorm of events that are on the way. Even when there seems to be some semblance of civility among these adults, readers are reminded of the “incident” by chapters with transcripts of interviews by park employees and other quests who observed the growing strain and the aftermath of the “event.” “The Adults” works because of the diverse and realistic characters; readers get to know them very well. They are all likeable, familiar, and sympathetic despite their disturbed routines and unnecessary drama. In fact, every reader knows of someone like these people among their own families and acquaintances. However, behind all that familiar normal behavior, readers know there is still the shooting. Readers frantically turn pages because although “the event” has occurred, the details and specific participants are only disclosed a little piece at a time throughout the narrative. “The Adults” is compelling and entertaining book. I finished it shaking my head and asking, “How could people think this would be an appropriate vacation?” I of course knew the answer because I knew all these characters. I received a copy of “The Adults” from Caroline Hulse, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley. This is certainly not a run-of-the-mill “Christmas Book,” and I found it a painfully wonderful book. It reminds me that my own holiday vacations are not as bad as I thought.
Loved this book!! I never knew what was going to happen next. What could go wrong when exes decide to spend Christmas together with their seven year old daughter, their partners and an imaginary purple rabbit at the Happy Forest Holiday Park??? The answer to that is lots and lots and lots could go wrong!!! There's burlesque dancing for a seven year old, a pheasant who happens to be in the wrong place, staking of old high school classmates, and large amounts of alcohol consumed, just to name a few. What's a fun Christmas holiday without someone getting shot and ending up in the hospital? Scarlett had very little supervision in the lodge, even with four adults always around her. She was a very resourceful seven year old with the googling of Harvey and Watership Down. Her reaction to Posey after watching the bunny movie was heart breaking and funny at the same time, especially after she made Posey leave her bedroom. I loved the story, characters and writing style. The holiday just seemed doomed from the start. Who wants to go on a holiday with people you don't know and stay in a lodge with them for five days? What's worse two of them were previously married and one is a large purple bunny who hates scientists. I felt bad for Alex, although she did choose to be with Matt. What grown man hides mail throughout the house because he doesn't want to read it. Definitely recommend the book and I look forward to reading more by the author. It's a perfect book for the holidays, especially if you feel the need to spend it with you ex and current partner!! Just don't go to any type of shooting range!!! Thanks to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Random House and the author, Caroline Hulse, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
I loved the characters, especially Scarlet. I have a couple of step grandchildren whom I love dearly and can certainly relate to this story.
I really enjoyed this quirky read. I liked the characters, especially 7 year old Scarlett and her imaginary friend Posey (a rabbit). The unlikely scenerio, a blended family spending a 5 day holiday together, is a bit unorthodox for most families, I would venture to say......having said that, all the “so called”, ‘we are all adults and can handle this’ proves differently. All their insecurities are exposed, which makes them very “human” and how they work through everything, is very “adult” in the end. This book is amusing and sometimes uncomfortable when they all let “their hair down,” but that’s what makes it interesting and so much fun to read. Thank you Netgalley and the author, Caroline Hulse and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Matt has moved in with Alex, a laboratory scientist. Matt is divorced from Claire who is a solicitor and is living with Patrick, a barrister. Matt and Claire have a daughter, Scarlett, age 7, who has an imaginary rabbit friend named Posey. Matt and Claire decide for all five of them to spend Christmas at the Happy Forest holiday park where the Christmas festivities are great. While Alex thinks it’s a stupid idea, she agrees to go along with it. Patrick is an exercise freak preparing for an Ironman contest some months down the road. Matt is a laid-back kind of guy who can get on one’s nerves. Alex has had some drinking problems in the past but is doing better. Claire is the take-charge “adult” in the group. When Scarlett sees a man talking about scientists doing painful experiments on rabbits, she becomes concerned. She knows that Alex is a scientist and decides she must closely watch Alex while they are on the Christmas holiday so nothing happens to Posey. As the holiday commences, things get tense as everyone tries to be pleasant to one another and get along. But tension builds and relationships are questioned. But when things start to boil over, someone is shot. Who was shot and why? Who did it and why? There is a lot of dark humor in this story along with a bit of boredom. Everyone has come together to make a special Christmas for Scarlett who seems to take it all in her stride. She doesn’t really show enough excitement to make it worth four adults bending over backward to spend Christmas at a family holiday park for Heaven’s sake! At times Scarlett does seem to be 7 going on 45. An interesting tale and I’m sure that especially parents sharing custody of children will get some laughs from it. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Just ok for me. Thank you to Random House, NetGalley, and the author for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book gives voices to each of the characters all while you try to decide "whodunit" while reading. Claire and Matt are the parents of Scarlett; Claire and Matt both have moved on and have new significant others. The wild and crazy idea of spending Christmas together - yes all 5 of them - at a holiday park is the central theme of this story. Add in the awkwardness and personal issues, and you have a recipe for disaster! This book was just ok to me. I wanted to like it more, but I still feel that it is 3 star worthy.
This book starts with someone being shot with an arrow at The Happy Forest. Then the story goes back to the beginning to tell about Matt & Claire wanting to take their daughter Scarlett to spend Christmas at The Happy Forest, along with Matt's girlfriend and Claire's boyfriend. As you can well imagine, all those dynamics in one cabin for days during one of the most stressful times of the year is a recipe for disaster. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The drama between both of the couples was funny and written so well you could almost see it happening in front of you. The book kept you guessing until the end about who shot whom. I highly recommend this book!
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Claire and Matt are divorced and they have a young daughter, Scarlett. Matt is now partners with Alex and Claire is with Patrick but it has been suggested that for the benefit of Scarlett, they should all spend Christmas together at a cabin. While Matt springs this news to Alex as a “done deal” at the last minute I have to say that she takes the news much better than I would have. The book opens with a promotional brochure from Happy Forest Holiday Park, the site where the cabin has been rented for Christmas. Next is a transcript of a 999-call reporting that someone has been shot by an archery bow. At this point, we are not totally sure who has been shot or who the shooter is. The story then starts its backward rewinding so we see all the events leading up to the shooting. I will give this book credit for an unusual storyline but I was looking forward to reading this as a Christmas book but it just didn’t feel Christmassy. If you are looking for a book that puts you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t feel you will find it here but if you are looking for a book where the characters are heading for a train derailment and you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride, then it might be the book for you. I have to say that my favorite character in the book is Scarlett’s imaginary friend, Posey who is a about a 4’ rabbit that talks to her. He can be very sarcastic and funny (although mean sometimes too).
I have never read a book that was so funny but yet so sad at the same time, it truly is a book that is a must read before any family gathering!! You have this ex-couple who want to bring their new partners along with their 7 year old for a holiday trip, what could go wrong!! Also the 7 year old Scarlett has this imaginary friend that seems too real but also seems to influence Scarlett in the worst possible way ever. I don't want to give too much away but let's say just be prepared to be laughing your butt off while cringing at the things that everyone does that ends with someone getting hurt in an accident. Plus, the way that this book is written out that goes before the accident to after; just makes this book even better than before. It's done in a way that you can follow along and won't get confused at what is happening during certain points! If anything, this is the perfect read for anyone looking for something light-hearted that will make you want to stay up way later than you plan on just to see how everything plays out!! Thank You to Caroline Hulse for this awesome read that made me become a fan of yours from now on!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher!