THE ADULTS by Caroline Hulse


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A very bad idea for a holiday vacation turns out even worse than expected for a bunch of Brits.

Claire, a bouncy, put-together blonde, and Matt, a lovable slacker and committed pothead, haven't both gotten to spend Christmas with their daughter, Scarlett, since they divorced. (Funny how that happens.) Somehow they come up with the brilliant idea of dragging their new live-in partners to a ticky-tacky "holiday park" called Happy Forest—"Our carefully planned world is your oyster"—for a shared vacation. Claire is now with Patrick, an uptight, insecure, self-centered bore. Matt is now with Alex, a nerdy but rather sweet laboratory scientist. Scarlett, 7, the beloved offspring, also brings someone along—her giant, paranoid, imaginary rabbit friend, Posey. This recipe for disaster begins with the transcript of a 999 call, the British equivalent of 911: "Woman: Get them to hurry. There's so much blood. Operator: When you say he's been shot, what has he been shot by? What can you see? Woman: An arrow. An archery arrow." We then follow both the progress of the vacation from Day 1 and the transcripts of various police interviews conducted after the incident as we amble toward the revelation of who shot whom and what's going to happen after these poor people get out of Happy Forest. The best takeaway from this book is in the form of new entries for your British slang dictionary, particularly the evocative "bell end." Hulse, in her U.S. debut, manages to insert the full Google definition in the text, exactly the one we had just looked up on our phone.

A bit too heavily staged, but with good dialogue and some nice farcical moments.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-525-51174-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2018


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