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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, August 6, 2018

ARC Review: Smothered by Autumn Chiklis

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
A humorous debut crossover young adult novel about what happens when entering the "real world" means moving back in with your mother, inspired by actress and celebrity Autumn Chiklis' real life.

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she's ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?

Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)


Review:
I am not familiar with Autumn Chiklis, but when I read the synopsis for Smothered, I was immediately interested.  I have adult offspring living at home right now, so I really wanted to read a humorous take on that situation.  This book certainly delivers on that front.  This is a fun, sometimes over the top, story of one college grad's return home (until she finds a job...).

What I Liked:
Setting:
I grew up in Southern California so I could totally relate to all the L.A. jokes.  What may seem ridiculous (doggie day spas, algae shots) is actually quite plausible in that city.

I especially loved the small part that happens in Santa Barbara (my hometown!).  Every weekend, people descend on SB from Los Angeles.  The author must have done the same because all the details are spot on (ah, McConnell's Ice Cream).

Characters:
As a person in the exact situation as this book (adult offspring coming back to live with us after college), I found it very engrossing to see the young adult's perspective.  Lou has all the right intentions to find a job, but is easily derailed by all the little details of life.  I also like that she acknowledges how she is falling back into childhood patterns ehen she is around her parents.

Mama Shell is an outrageous, fifty-something mom who can't stop being a helicopter parent, even if her daughter is twenty-two!  She has the best interests of her children at heart, but she also adores being the center of attention.  At times, Shell becomes a bit of an L.A. stereotype, with her spending, fashions, and constant diet and exercise schemes.  But I did rather identify with her desire to stay relevant with her kids.

Story:
This story was very funny, and was presented in imaginative ways.  There are lots of to do lists, text messages, Instagram pictures, and police reports!  While some of the scenes get beyond reality in order for outrageous things to happen, I found most of this book to be laugh out loud fun. 

What I Was Mixed About:
Characters:
While Lou and Shell were well developed characters, others were not very fleshed out or were stereotypes.  Lou's dad is simply a workaholic real estate broker who complains about his wife's spending.  Lou's sister seems to be a vapid teenager who has found minor fame on Instagram.  And Lou's "friend" Megan is a Mean Girl straight out of central casting.

Story:
While the story was very fun and amusing, at times it was so over the top that it didn't seem credible.  I have a hard time believing that Lou would have that much trouble telling her parents that she has a boyfriend.  She is twenty-two after all!  And several scenes with Shell are like episodes of I Love Lucy, with lots of slapstick and loud lamenting. 

Overall:
This really was a fun, quick read.  Deep, it was not.  But in the summer this would be a great beach read, especially if you visit SoCal!

Rating: 




Release Date:  August 7th, 2018

Author:  Autumn Chiklis

Publisher:  Wednesday Books

Genre:  Crossover YA

Page Length:  288 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A fun beach read.   
 
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