Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Blog Blitz - Book Spotlight & Excerpt: Are We There Yet? by Kathleen West

I'm happy to be participating in the blog blitz for Are We There Yet by Kathleen West, which publishes today!!! Enjoy this spotlight and excerpt and let me know if you will be picking this one up!
 


Title: Are We There Yet?
Author: Kathleen West
Published: March 2021, Berkley Books
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Summary: 
Among fake Instagram pages, long-buried family secrets, and the horrors of middle school, one suburban mom searches to find herself.

Alice Sullivan feels like she's finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son's school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.

When it comes to light that the incident is part of a new behavior pattern for her son, one complete with fake social media profiles with a lot of questionable content, Alice's social standing is quickly eroded to one of "those moms" who can't control her kids. Soon she's facing the very judgement she was all too happy to dole out when she thought no one was looking (or when she thought her house wasn't made of glass).

Then her mother unloads a family secret she's kept for more than thirty years, and Alice's entire perception of herself is shattered.

As her son's new reputation polarizes her friendships and her family buzzes with the ramification of her mother's choices, Alice realizes that she's been too focused on measuring her success and happiness by everyone else's standards. Now, with all her shortcomings laid bare, she'll have to figure out to whom to turn for help and decide who she really wants to be.


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About the author: Kathleen West is a veteran middle and high-school teacher. She graduated with a degree in English from Macalester College and holds a Master's degree in literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her hilarious husband, two sporty sons, and very bad goldendoodle.

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Instagram


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Excerpt:
 
Sadie not liking her favorite movies anymore was just one more indicator of the capriciousness of junior high. At least Meredith had the portal to help her monitor the chaos. As the landing screen loaded in front of her, Meredith raised two fingers to the permanent wrinkle in the center of her forehead. She'd told Alice and Nadia she didn't believe in Botox, which was true. But lately, her eyebrow crease deepened by the day. 
 
This time, the worrying was because of Sadie's science grade. It had been a 93 the night before, and this morning it was an 84. Meredith clicked for a more detailed report just as Sadie arrived in the kitchen, her stockinged feet shuffling on the wood floor Meredith and Bill had installed the previous spring. Alice had overseen the refurbishment and sourced the reclaimed boards from barns in outstate Minnesota. Alice had also helped Meredith choose her dining room table, place mats, and napkins. Soon, Meredith hoped, her friend could advise on new countertops and cabinetry. Bill would have a bonus coming in December. 

"Can I have coffee?" Sadie asked, a smile fluttering. Her daughter had already combed her hair, a heart-shaped barrette holding her growing-out bangs near her right temple.

Meredith laughed. "If you want something hot, you could have herbal tea."

Sadie sat at the table and ran her fingers over the steel-blue place mat. "But Chloe and Mikaela both drink lattes."
 
Meredith put her phone on the counter and ladled a scoop of oatmeal into a bowl. "Maybe their parents don't know about the negative side effects of caffeine," Meredith said. "That's what you get for having a mom who's up to date on medical research." She winked at Sadie.
 
When Meredith herself had been a seventh grader, she'd poured gritty coffee into a perma-stained travel mug and taken the city bus to school most mornings. Her mom worked the earliest shifts at the nursing home, sometimes catching a double to cover groceries and gas. With the basics to worry about, she hadn't had time to think about what it meant to start drinking coffee at twelve, even though she'd been a nurse.
 
But Meredith did consider caffeine. Even though she worked thirty hours per week as a physical therapist, she also made time to think about both Sadie's protein consumption and her science grade. Meredith grabbed her phone again and felt her jaw drop as she looked at Sadie's most recent test score.
 
"Sadie!" she shouted before she could decide whether it would traumatize her daughter.
 
Sadie dropped her spoon, the metal clanking against the side of her bowl. "What?"
 
"What the hell happened on the unicellular and multicellular organism test?" Meredith felt her forehead again, stretching the wrinkle. "Fifty-six?" Probably, Meredith thought, Mr. Robinson had made an error in reporting. And also, why did I say "hell"?
 
Sadie picked up her spoon again. "Yeah," she said calmly. "I just totally bricked that." She pushed an overflowing spoonful of oatmeal in her mouth and chewed, her cheeks puffed.

"Sorry for saying 'hell'" Meredith and Bill had agreed ages ago to watch their language, but the shock of the 56 overwhelmed her. "Fifty-six?" she said again to Sadie. "That's the lowest grade you've ever gotten in your life. Is it a mistake?"

Once she'd swallowed, Sadie lifted her napkin to her face and dabbed her eyes, though Meredith couldn't see any tears. "Sorry, Mom," Sadie said. "I'm not quite sure what happened. I saw it last night before I went to bed."
 
Meredith blinked. So, Sadie had known about the failing grade and not mentioned it. "Why didn't you tell me?" Meredith said next to her at the table and put her hand over her daughter's wrist.
 
Sadie sniffled again, but her eyes were definitely dry. "I guess I was hoping it would just go away overnight. You wouldn't have to know."
 
Meredith squeezed. "Sadie, that's silly. It's right here." She waved her phone over the oatmeal bowl. "In this day and age, it's impossible to keep a secret."


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Are We There Yet  by Kathleen West
Berkley Books
March 16, 2021 
Hardcover ISBN: 9781542047951
Kindle E-book ASIN:  B08BKS36C5
 
 
 
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