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In trying times, a light read can become a wonderful distraction from the outside world. When a book goes a step further to combine a fun, juicy plot with meaningful themes, it turns into the perfect read.
That's exactly how Jenna Bush Hager describes her May Read With Jenna book, "All Adults Here" by Emma Straub.
"I loved it because I thought, on one hand, it was light and funny," she says, "On the other, Emma Straub has the capability of writing in a way that explores these themes that are important and interesting."
Book of the Month is a subscription-based book club that delivers hardcover books to your door at an affordable price. Each month, Book of the Month Club selects 5 hot, new titles – starting in January, one of these will always be the #ReadwithJenna pick. Subscribers then choose which book you want delivered — your first month is $9.99 with code READWITHJENNA and after that, it’s $14.99 a month. You can easily pause your subscription at any time or skip a month and roll your credit from one month to another.
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The book begins when family matriarch, Astrid Strick witnesses a longtime acquaintance getting hit by a bus, causing some of her long-held perspectives on life to suddenly shift. On the same day, Astrid's granddaughter, Cecelia, moves in with her grandmother following an incident at her school. Meanwhile, Astrid's three adult children, Elliot, Nikki and Porter, each have their own lives and problems they are handling with varying degrees of success.
"It is sort of, in my opinion, ironic because in many parts the adults in this novel are not acting very much like adults," Jenna says.
Each chapter of Straub's book is told from the perspective of a different member of the Strick family and a few extended friends.
Jenna continues, "It's about how families can be messy and complicated and at the same time, centered on love."
For Straub, the book came from a phase where she existed both as "a parent and a child at the same time."
"It’s not easy to feel like you are the person who is supposed to be a grown-up and supposed to be in charge and still feel like a kid," Straub told TODAY. "Then also, your parents are continuing to evolve in ways that you don’t feel like you are ready for.”
Straub, who lives in Brooklyn near her childhood home and has two young kids of her own, said there are parts of this book that are similar to her own life. Just like the Strick family, her family continues in the same "washing machine of experiences," but in these unprecedented times, that hasn't been her main focus. Instead, Straub said the thing that stands out most to her about her newest novel is the Strick family's "togetherness."
Straub said, "I feel like it’s a good book for this moment because it reminds us what life is like and what’s important, which is connection and community."
Jenna agrees, saying, "Even though there are these issues that seem heavy, it ends with hope. I think in a time when all we want is hope, it’s a beautiful book to reach for."
To stay involved all month long, be sure to follow us on Instagram (don't forget to tag your photos with #ReadWithJenna), join our Read With Jenna Facebook group and follow along on Goodreads to continue the conversation about "All Adults Here."