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by Kathy Ebel

Pub Date: June 18th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-98557-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Some families tangle and unravel, while others knit together, hiding every flaw. Claudia Silver, unfortunately, has grown up in the unraveling kind.

Sometimes you really can’t go home again. At least Claudia can’t. With graduation days away, her mother, Edith, blithely announces that there is simply no room for her, now that Edith’s skanky boyfriend, Robbie, has moved in, of course. Being cast adrift is nothing new for Claudia. Once again, Claudia lands on her feet, as her best friend, Bronwyn, enlists the help of her father, Paul. Soon the two are roommates in Brooklyn. Subsidized with a monthly allowance from her parents, Bronwyn lives a fairly comfortable, slightly bohemian life working as an assistant talent booker. Claudia is scraping by. Her job as a production assistant and lunch-order architect for a small production company has two perks: free lunches and the beyond sexy (tattooed, pierced, leather-clad) doorman, Ruben Hyacinth. Entangling with Ruben leads to Claudia being unceremoniously fired—the same day that half sister Phoebe shows up, running from Robbie’s menacing advances. Determined to help Phoebe, Claudia turns to Paul for advice, but this time, Claudia doesn’t land on her feet. She lands in an affair with Paul, which could cost her everything. Ebel exploits her experience as a screenwriter and poet in this lively debut novel. Claudia’s dry wit and discerning eye turn what could be a rather mopey coming-of-age tale into a hilarious roller coaster of a ride. Quirks and vexations for each supporting character enrich every scene. Claudia sees quite clearly the price of her own actions, and her goal is survival. Well, with a little fun along the way. 

Family may be unstable and downright unbalanced, but in this witty, assured, surprising novel, family still has to accept you—mistakes and all.