Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman
Published by Berkley on May 17, 2022
Genres: Life Fiction, Romantic Comedy
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When Laura Costello moves to Los Angeles, trying to escape an overprotective family and the haunting memories of a terrible accident, she doesn’t expect to be homeless after a week. (She’s pretty sure she didn’t start that fire — right?) She also doesn't expect to find herself adopted by a rogue bookseller, installed in a lovely but completely illegal boardinghouse, or challenged to save a losing trivia team from ignominy…but that’s what happens. Add a regretful landlady, a gorgeous housemate and an ex-boyfriend determined to put himself back in the running and you’ll see why Laura isn’t really sure she’s cut out for this adulting thing. Luckily for her, her new friends Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob aren't sure either, but maybe if they put their heads (and hearts) together they’ll be able to make it work for them.
A young woman faced down death and now wants to take her life by the reins. But, with her anxieties, forceful relations, and a house fire that left her homeless, perhaps she needs a little help from new friends and time to get that adulting thing sorted.
Adult Assembly Required is a standalone women’s fiction with a healthy dose of humor that has ties with two of the author’s previous books, The Garden of Beginnings and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.
Laura Costello wants to specialize in physical therapy, but her brilliant, driven scientist parents want more for her. After a car crash and breaking the engagement she had with a guy she’d known all her life, she determines to take her grad classes across the country in southern California and take some initiative of her own. Then, her apartment caught fire and she has to duck into a bookshop to get out of the pouring rain. She’s fighting PTSD and her anxieties since the crash. It’s there in Nina and Molly’s shop that her life takes a turn for the good, though it takes a while for Laura to realize this for herself.
Molly gets her a place to live in the place she rents that is lovely, but a little sketchy legal-wise. Her fellow renters, a rather fun and quirky lot, become close friends and there is a tingling of attraction for ‘Impossibly Handsome Bob’ a quiet gardener who is gorgeous, but very down to earth and has his own life issues to get straight. She insists they are just friends since she needs to get her life squared away before she wants to attempt another relationship. Laura also finds a place on Nina’s trivia quiz team and learns to cope with her anxieties that were crippling, figure out relationships with found family and friends in the making, and go for her career dreams and not her family’s.
I enjoyed Adult Assembly Required and I was cheering on Laura as well as the others in their side stories. I loved getting a peek in with Nina and Tom as well as the fun surprise of the folks from Garden of Beginnings when Bob took her on a date to the garden.
However, I got distracted a few times and wanted to like it more than I did because the author’s writing style and characterizations have delighted me so much in the past. Partly, this was the way the story zipped from character to character at times so that I got lost, like I can do in a real life crowd of people mingling and talking. And, I liked Laura, but just didn’t connect with her as much as previous book heroines.
All and all, though, the fun antics of this crowd of people and the sweet slow burn of Laura and Bob, and of course Laura coming into her own was an engaging and entertaining read. Those who enjoy the idea of women’s fic crossed with romcom should pick it up and give it a read.
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