In the financial and social malaise of the early 2000s, recently graduated Mona walks a knife's edge as she faces down unemployment, underemployment, the complexities of adult relationships, and the downward spiral of her parents' shattering marriage.
[A] hilarious debut novel ... Gonzalez James is skilled at orchestrating hysterical scenes filled with distinctive character ... As readers may guess, the plot of Mona at Sea involves Mona getting her groove back, but getting there is all the fun.
Clean prose and dark wit keep things from becoming too grim ... James’ frustration with the way the world has neglected her generation is clear ... Thankfully, even somewhat surprisingly, the narrative ultimately tips toward the optimistic ... Mona at Sea is sharply written Millennial malaise that dares to be hopeful.
Episodes, like all the writing in Mona at Sea, are exhaustively detailed. There’s an anecdote for everything and a description of every minor exchange. Yet strangely, many interesting characters, such as Mona’s Orman-esque hero, are dropped along the way. Nothing really comes of them ... Mona at Sea remains on the level of wisecracks and snappy comebacks ... Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about this book quite a bit since finishing it.