Sara's Reviews > The History of Us

The History of Us by Leah Stewart
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's review
Sep 11, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, 2012, adult-fiction
Read from September 08 to 10, 2012

When she's only 28, Eloise becomes guardian of her sister's three kids (Theo, Josh, and Claire) and moves back to her hometown of Cincinnati to raise them. Twenty years later, she's still living in the same house that she desperately wants to sell, if only her mom would sign over ownership the way she'd promised when she took in the kids, and the kids are still living there as well. After Claire moves away, Eloise believes that she's finally on track to get rid of the house, but her mom doesn't fulfill her promise and the kids all begin to bicker over what should happen with the house.

If that doesn't sound like much of a plot, it's because there really isn't one. The book's description mentions that Eloise's mom makes a competition to see who can inherit the house and that Claire reveals a big secret, but these events don't occur until a good way into the book and don't really increase or improve the pacing. The narration shifted around to focus on the separate lives of Eloise, Theo, and Josh, showing the issues they're dealing with individually; Claire's point of view isn't featured, although her actions and words affect others, and so she never becomes a sympathetic character - not that the others are all that likable either.

The main characters all struggled to deal with some issue: Josh is trying to come to terms with the fact that he quit a semi-famous band for an ex-girlfriend; Theo's dealing with a crush on a guy who already has a long-term, long-distance girlfriend, and she also desperately wants to inherit the house she grew up in; and Eloise is trying to finally live her own life instead of constantly putting the kids' needs ahead of her own. Although they all had moments in which they shone, there was just so much angst and drama that never felt real. Everyone was immature and generally unlikable, and I never truly cared about the characters or their superficial problems and complaints.

There were a few moments in this book that piqued my interest, seeming to delve a little deeper into motivations and character development. I liked the dynamic between Theo and a potential boyfriend, and I understood Eloise's hesitation about how she could possibly go on and finally live her life the way she wanted. But, with that said, the plot never really went anywhere and then ending seemed like more of the same without a real conclusion. It made me wonder about the point of this novel.

I've read a previous book by this author and really enjoyed it, so I know she is talented. This is not a book that displays her ability to craft a good story, and it's not something I'd recommend. It's not terrible, it's forgettable.

I received a free advanced copy of this book through the First Reads program.

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