There's lots of psychobabble laid on these (pretty normal, actually) kids, but the problems seem to lie mainly with the mothers whose friendships, nurtured since kindergarten roundup, might be reaching their expiration dates ... The solutions, with fresh starts all around, tie things up a little too neatly. But they do reinforce one of parenting's basic tenets: Don't sweat the small stuff — and it's all small stuff.
With situations familiar to parents anticipating, in the midst of, or just happy to be past their kids’ teenage years, Are We There Yet? brings grace, wit, and warmth to a challenging time. Fans of Emily Adrian and A. H. Kim will find this compelling and relatable.
First-world problems abound in this Midwestern family drama, but West makes the most of her material. For readers who enjoyed Bruce Holsinger’s The Gifted School, Lauren Weisberger’s When Life Gives You Lululemons, and Laura Zigman’s Separation Anxiety.
Each character is fully realized and perfectly flawed, and I have no doubt that every reader will find someone to root for. Rife with misunderstandings, back-stabbings and plenty of heated gossip, Are We There Yet? is both sharply observed and surprisingly heartfelt, not to mention hilarious at just the right times...West’s keen examinations of parenting, social media and teenage life are perfectly balanced by a warm wit that keeps her narrative sincere and oh so relatable ... For a novel as steeped in social media hazards as this one, I love that West never completely vilifies apps like Instagram and Snapchat, noting that it is just as important to protect your child as it is to make sure that they are not missing important friendship interactions. More to the point, West often pokes fun at the parents in her book, never completely mocking them, but reminding her readers that we all feel in over our heads at certain points, and that sometimes it means more to talk to a fellow mom than to read a book about what the 'perfect' parent might do. Her portrayal of the dangers of social media is sharp and clear-eyed, but also nuanced and forgiving ... Be warned that there are a lot of characters here. Rather than trying to keep them separate, I went all in and assumed that the book would take me where I needed to be. Though the drama moves fast, West is careful enough in her characterizations that you’ll have no trouble following along after a few chapters or so. You’ll come for the eye-rolling 'I can’t believe she did that' drama, but you’ll stay for the believably unbelievable dysfunction, the genuine characters, and the reminder that --- whether you are in middle school, middle-aged or middle of the road --- we’re all in this together ... progressive, engaging and downright fun.
... funny ... West has her hand on the pulse of adolescent angst fed by academic and social pressure, jealousies and raging hormones—all compounded by social media—but also the self-doubts experienced by parents (mothers in particular) who can be as lost as their children when it comes to handling the challenges of puberty. Soulful and entertaining, this offers plenty of insight on the space children need to make their own mistakes.