Book review and synopsis for All Adults Here by Emma Straub, a lighthearted beach read about inclusivity and acceptance.
All Adults Here is about all generations of the Strick family, focusing on the stories of the various family members. At its center, is the matriarch of the family, Astrid Strick, who sees a woman she's known for a long time get hit by a bus. Astrid decides that it's time to come out as a bisexual to her family and tell them about her romantic relationship with her hairdresser, Birdie.
In this lighthearted and well-meaning story, the Strick family each has secrets and personal challenges they need to face.
(The Detailed Plot Summary is also available, below)
Detailed Plot SummarySection-by-Section SummarySee the Section-by-Section Summary of All Adults HereQuick Plot Summary
In, Clapham, a small town, Barbara Baker is hit and killed by an speeding school bus. Astrid Strick is a 68-year-old widow with three children (Elliot, Porter, and Nicky) who has never liked Barbara. But the incident reminds her that life is fleeting, so she decides to come out as a bisexual to her family and tell them about her relationship with Birdie, her hairdresser.
Porter is single, owns a goat farm and is 20 weeks pregnant, via sperm donor. She plans on raising the baby alone. She's also secretly still sleeping with her married ex-boyfriend, Jeremy Fogelman. Elliot is married to Wendy, has twin 3-year-old boys and owns a construction company in Clapham. Nicky moved away after their father, Russell, passed away. Now, he lives in New York, but his daughter Cecelia has just been sent to stay with Asrid due to bullying over an incident at her school.
After Astrid reveals her secret, Elliot is upset. They are surprised because Astrid was very rigid as a parent, especially after Russell's death. Astrid feels guilty because when Elliot was in middle school, Barbara had told her about seeing him kiss another boy, Jack. It's the incident that made Astrid dislike Barbara, and Astrid had told him he needed to hide it. In present day, Elliot has recently purchased an empty building across from Birdie's salon that he plans to develop. He is considering a bid from Beauty Bar, a major salon chain, that would likely compete with Birdie's salon.
At the doctor's office, Porter reconnects with Rachel, an old friend and Cecelia's teacher. But Rachel gets angry when she hears that Porter is still sleeping with Jeremy. Porter also introduces Cecelia with August, a boy at her new school. They become fast friends and join the school's Parade Crew together, August confides in Cecelia that he(she) is trans and goes by Robin at camp. When Sidney, Jeremy's daughter and a mean girl at school, makes fun of August for being trans and of Astrid's coming out, Cecelia punches Sidney.
Nicky and his wife Juliette come to Clapham after the incident. They apologize to Cecelia for shipping her off, instead of fighting harder for her. We learn that back at her old school, Cecelia's (former) best friend Katherine had started messaging an older guy online. When they finally meet up, he locks Katherine in his apartment and jacks off next to her. Cecelia had told an adult, so the other girls had bullied her and called her a snitch. Meanwhile, with her brothers together again, Porter finds the strength to break things off with Jeremy. And Astrid finally apologizes to Elliot for the thing with Jack, but Elliot barely remembers it.
On the day of the Harvest Festival Parade, August decides to present himself as Robin and becomes the star of the show. Elliot tries to punch Jeremy, but Jeremy ducks. Finally, Elliot tells Astrid that the thing with Jack was more about Jack's sexuality than his, and what has always bothered him was a conversation he overheard where his parent had said they didn't think Elliot could cut it as a lawyer or in business. Astrid and Elliot make up.
In the Epilogue, Astrid and Birdie are celebrating their honeymoon by going on a lesbian cruise. Porter's daughter is 6 months old now. The book ends with the family FaceTime-ing together and Astrid feeling happy.
For more detail, see the full Section-by-Section Summary.