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Family Reunion [Hardcover]

Caroline B. Cooney


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Book Description

Feb 2004
When the invitation to the Preffyn family reunion arrives interrupting a perfectly decent summer vacation, 15-year-old Shelley Wollcott is anything but enthusiastic. It’s not that Shelley has anything against her relatives, she just can’t stand it when they give her that “what a pity” look. It’s not her fault that her real mother walked out on the family or that her father has remarried yet again. With Dad away on business and her older sister visiting their mother in Paris, Shelley must face the “perfect” Preffyns’ reunion with only her prankster younger brother and her insecure new stepmother at her side. It’s an opportunity to uncover the family’s secrets, but Shelley isn’t sure whether, when she discovers the truth, she’ll laugh or cry.

In this funny and poignant novel by Caroline B. Cooney, Shelley learns to appreciate all the members of her unusual family—including herself!—in ways she never anticipated. And she discovers things are often not as perfect as they seem.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385731361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385731362
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 14.2 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,247,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars substandard- caroline can do better 31 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book, although very funny, centres too much on the narrator's discovery of her "real" self- feelings are dealt with to the extent of boredom, and the character of Angus deserves the limelight given to Shelley- she thinks like no other teenager and never realises that the reason her siblings are idolised and admired is because they are more interesting. Her aunt Maggie's transformation from bossy determined arrogant mother to realising her faults after one sharp sentence from Shelley is idealistic and unrealistic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family Reunion 7 Oct 2005
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Fourteen year old Shelly's aunt, Maggie Preffyn, says her family is unstable. Her dad just married his third wife, Annette, her twelve year old brother, Angus, is selling shares for a bomb shelter behind their Vermont summer cottage and carrying around an old mannequin's leg instead of a backpack, and her sixteen year old sister, Joanna, is in Paris for the summer visiting their estranged mother and their new stepfather. In a few weeks, Shelly has to go with Annette and Angus to the Perfect Preffyn's family reunion, deal with her dad's side of the family and all the people in Barrington (her dad's hometown) making jokes about how may wives he's had, introduce Annette, while her dad is on a business trip. On top of all this, Shelly has to deal with family secrets, family fights, and confessions. This story was very exciting and comical. O didn't want to put it down.

This book had many real life situations, such as interpersonal relationships and family problems. Shelly has a crush on two boys, DeWitt and Toby. DeWitt is staying in the same little village in Vermont where Shelly's summer cottage is. Toby is visiting his grandparents in Barrington over the summer. Shelly first thought that Toby was her brother because he is the son of her dad's first wife, Celeste, but then finds out that his dad died when he was two.

The author's characters are very vivid. She describes them well and also lets you hear their voices. When Shelly talks about her different situations such as with her brother Angus, Miranda, a mean girl in Barrington, the Perfect Preffyns, Annette, and her cousin, Brett, who has run away from home and is living with a friend, become her.

The way the author depicts her settings makes them very lifelike. You can picture your self walking down the streets of both Vermont and Barrington. You can see all of the buildings and parks that are described. You can hear the lap of the water against the docks and the voices of the people and the kids playing in the street. The cars zooming by.

This book is good for sitting outside on a sunny day. It made me laugh a lot because of its hilarious situations. It's a wonderful story with great characters. It kept me interested the entire time and made me want to share it with my friends. There were some sad parts but they didn't last for long with Angus around. He always made everyone, including me, smile. Family Reunion was very enjoyable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise Surprise 5 Feb 2009
By Lil' Demon Angel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Definately surprising and nothing is what it seems Boys, love, broken families, divorce, annyoing families, Paris, siblings, cousing, rivalries. A big family story with a good ending that might make you cry.
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed, I cried, it was great, Bob! 4 Dec 2008
By T. Tillson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
(sorry if you don't get the Veggie Tales reference there.) This is one book that truly made me laugh but honestly, I cried at so many different points. Being a child of divorce helped me see just how true-to-life the main character's feelings are, how awful it is to be "in" a family's that's been torn apart, how difficult stepmothering can be, and how expectations are sometimes just too high to meet. These themes are all brought out in the book with a huge dose of humor and a satisfying, if not traditionally happy, ending. Other reviewers suggest the characters and/or plots are unbelievable. I say if your parents are divorced and you remember all the pain that went along with that divorce, this book will be extremely believable, but will still leave you smiling.
4.0 out of 5 stars Family Reunion 25 Feb 2007
By Anna M. Ligtenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
ISBN 0553285734 - An ALA Recommended Book for the Reluctant YA Reader, Family Reunion is surprisingly good. Shelley's family is spending the summer at their summer home in Vermont - bought by her father to provide stability to the family. Stability, as defined by Shelley's Aunt Maggie, her father's sister, is vital, as are backyards. Especially to Shelley's family, because her mother abandoned them to marry Jean-Paul and go live in France. Her family is broken, according to Aunt Maggie, whose family is Perfect, of course.

Shelley's father, Charlie, has been married to Annette, his third wife, for a year and a half. The kids haven't exactly welcomed her with open arms, and Charlie's commuting between their home in New York and the summer home, leaving Annette with Shelley and Angus most of the time, while their older sister Joanna visits their mother in Paris. Things get even more interesting when the Perfect side of the family invites them all to a family reunion.

Finding out that no one's actually perfect helps Shelley to connect to all of her family, from her overbearing aunt to her faraway mother, from her stepmother to the father she adores. There were a few details that bothered my - Cooney refers to "developing" videotape, not something anyone ever did or needed to do, since videotape can be played immediately in a VCR (even in 1990). On page 141, various people are entering the living room, and in the very next paragraph she says nobody ever used the living room. Little things, but they bother me.

This book's target audience is the young adult age group, (although inside it says RL 5, ages 5 and up) so language and sexual content shouldn't be an issue. Still, if you're the parent who's a little over-protective, you should know there's an "a**hole" and references to the sort of sex-ed stuff (no details, no sex scenes, just referenced) any teenager should have been introduced to in 7th grade. Overall, a nice book!

- AnnaLovesBooks
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