Adults – Emma Jane Unsworth

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*I received a free ARC of this novel, with thanks to the author, The Borough PressHarper Collins UK and NetGalley.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*


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Jenny is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and whilst her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent.
Could things get any worse? Her mother is on her doorstep with a suitcase, and Jenny is about to find out…

Adults is a ‘hilarious and heartbreaking’ (Red magazine) novel about living online and trying to find yourself in real life; a hymn to the power of female friendship and an essential read for you and every woman you know.



Oh dear!  I wanted to love this book, I really did.

The problem for me was that the main character, Jenny, was just too unlikable, to the point that I struggled to summon up the slightest ounce of empathy for any of her woes.

From the very beginning she is self-absorbed, vacuous and a terrible friend / girlfriend / daughter.  She’s so very obsessed with how she is perceived in the online world, by aspirational influencers and other total strangers, that she neglects to take the slightest interest in anyone around her – unless she’s working out how she can use them to further her own ends.  It makes for pretty painful reading.

Luckily, Emma Jane Unsworth is a talented writer, so her witty touch in skewering the social media stratosphere helps to lighten the story and lift the reader.  And, of course, Jenny does learn and grow (a little bit) as the story progresses, although it seems it may take her hitting absolute rock bottom before she will even lift her gaze from her Insta feed, let alone reassess her priorities in life.

I did find, towards the end, as Jenny’s insecurities and deeper motivations slowly come to light, that I developed an better understanding of her behaviour and with that came a greater empathy for her need to distract, deny and detach herself from the real world.  Still, I would much rather be friends with a Kelly than a Jenny, I’m afraid!

Although this is an entertaining, spiky skewering of modern social media obsession, I felt too uncomfortable with Jenny’s selfishness and pettiness to be able to thoroughly enjoy it.  There just wasn’t the warmer, brighter side (that you’d get with characters from Helen Fielding, Marian Keyes etc) to draw me in to the story and make me care about her challenges.

I think I prefer my chick-lit with a little more heart and a lot less image-conscious posturing!



He rubbed his face.  ‘Okay,’ he said.  ‘We have a problem.’
I finished my comment, a simple, single red heart emoji – the classic choice; just enough – clicked the phone to sleep and looked at him.  Art said: ‘You are on that thing when we eat, you are on it when we watch TV, you are on it when we go for a walk, and now you are on it when we are having sex.’
‘It was a slow bit!’
‘It was sex, Jenny.  Not a film.’

– Emma Jane Unsworth, Adults


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Find more from Emma Jane Unsworth at her website here, or follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.

Adults is available on Amazon right now!


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