The Trouble with Family allows readers the glimpse of a blended family’s first summer together, told in first-person POV by 14-year-old Molly.
Molly and Ben, her brother, father marries Susan, a divorced mother of three, less than a year after his wife/Molly’s mother died. Not only that, Molly had only met Susan once or twice before the wedding, and her step-siblings are equally unhappy about the arrangement. Molly is forced to share a room with her kleptomaniac stepsister Clara. Susan’s character outraged me at times, especially when she insisted on Molly and Ben calling her “Mom” only a few weeks after the wedding, and when she confiscated Molly’s pen pal letters, insisting that Molly was unknowingly writing to sociopaths. Molly’s father basically sits back and does nothing to intervene, most likely because Susan is prone to tantrums.
As a teen, I might have enjoyed this book more. Had I been a child of a divorced family, I may have found this book more relatable. Overall, it was a good book, but the epilogue was a bit of a let-down. After the climatic last chapter, I had hoped for more of a follow up in the epilogue; however, it was just a few paragraphs about what happened immediately following the climactic scene.
There was some laugh-out-loud dialogue in this book, my favorite being: “I’ve never driven a car and Ben insists it’s harder than it looks. But if you almost run over an old man, you probably should call it a day.”
Genre: Young Adult
* I received a copy of this book from LibaryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for my honest review.