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Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Perfect for fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Small Admissions, a wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High--the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle--and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.

Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia
...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Berkley
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
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Berit☀️✨
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Entertaining, engaging, relevant. Cathleen West’s debut was such a great read! Adults behaving badly... yes please! I really do enjoy these books about over the top helicopter parents. I was both a dance mom and a baseball mom and I know how easy it is to get caught up in all of it. I can always see a little piece of myself in these parents and I am so glad I never fell down that helicopter rabbit hole (it was close though). Julia is the ultimate helicopter mom, she just cannot wait to find out ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liston Heights High is a privileged place, except maybe for the teachers. The parents tend to hover around and add pressure as needed.

Isabel is a teacher students easily love, and for whatever reason, Julia Abbott, a parent of students at the school, resents that. Well, actually, she resents it because her teenagers are pulling away from her as they become closer to Isabel.

Things come to a head when Isabel receives a threatening voicemail, and she knows she can no longer lay low.

At the same
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Katie B
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though there are quite a few different subjects explored in this novel, it was actually a pretty light read. It was like I was reading something with substance and value but how it was written with the different character perspectives made it a very easy book to fly right thru. Really enjoyed this one.

High school teacher Isobel Johnson recognizes most of the privileged students she teaches pretty much live in a bubble and therefore she works hard in trying to get them to open their eyes to
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Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
Timely, relevant & compelling!

MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES by KATHLEEN WEST is a fascinating, artful, and captivating debut novel that immediately grabbed my attention and held strong right to the very end. There is a full cast of characters here but mainly revolves around Julia Abbott a stage mom who is your typical helicopter parent and a school teacher, Isobel Johnson who Julia is harassing. The soap opera antics of Julia Abbott made this quite entertaining, amusing and
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Brenda -Traveling Sister
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another winning from our “not our normal read” stack of books that Elisha from Berkley sends our way!!

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West was such a great surprise for me and I loved the different take she took on high school politics, the privileged bubble and those overbearing parents known as helicopter parents. She takes an interesting and sharp look through helicopter mother Julia who becomes the gossip of the school and teacher Isobel whose teaching methods come under
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emma
note to self: don't assume i'll like a book just because the title is a pun.

review to come / 2 (?) stars

---------

hehe..."minor dramas"...because this is a book about small emotional events and also about children's theater...drama performed by minors...ha ha ha

yay puns?

(thanks to the publisher for the ARC)
Darinda
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Contemporary drama revolving around a high school. Julia Abbott is a helicopter mom who does something dumb at the high school, and, of course, it's caught on video. She goes viral, causing problems for her and her kids. Meanwhile, the teachers are worried about their jobs since enrollment is down. Isobel Johnson is a teacher that tends to push issues in an attempt to broaden her students perspectives. This makes her a target for some of the parents, who wish she would simply stick with the ...more
Corina
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fiction
The story was slow going at the beginning until it got to a point when I couldn’t put it down anymore. I spent my Sunday finding excuses to listen to the audiobook, and thanks to the captivating story, I finished the biggest part of the audiobook in just a few days.

When it came to the two main characters, Julia was the one that was the least likable at the beginning. She made me roll my eyes so hard. That woman just couldn’t stop interfering in her kids school life. She was the epitome of every
...more
Theresa Alan
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed both Where’d You Go Bernadette and Small Admissions, which, in the marketing copy, this book is compared to. It shouldn’t be. It does feature those insufferable helicopter parents that I don’t know personally but have read about. Maybe it’s because I’m not a parent myself and I grew up in the days that preceded Law and Order being on TV twenty-four hours a day on multiple channels, so my parents let my sister and me play outside all day and simply figured we’d show up at dinner when we ...more
Patricia
MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES had me hooked when I started the book. This is a very timely book with a lot of relevance to what is happening in the world today. The story revolves around a parent harassing a teacher. I believe people will be enthralled by this book, which I highly recommend. I actually believe this novel is more of 4.5 stars!
Sarah Swann
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this! I loved getting the different perspectives from the characters and seeing how their actions and behaviors affected those around them. There was a lot to think about in the case of schools and how teachers are influencing children. There was a lot to think about with helicopter parents. There was a lot to think about unwarranted pressures from others. I really enjoyed this a lot.
Lorilin
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, fiction, arc
Julia Abbott is a parent of two Liston Heights high school students. Her son, Andrew, is trying out for the school’s latest theater production, and Julia is determined that he be given a speaking role this time around—after all, didn’t the Abbott family just donate enough money to fund the school’s entire costume department? On the day the cast list is posted, Julia can’t wait any longer to know if Andrew made the cut. She secretly enters the school to check the list but, in her rushed ...more
Tracy  C
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The drama llama was running amuck! There are quite a few POV's here, but I really enjoyed seeing things from different perspectives.
Maureen Fischer
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading along in Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, I came across so many wildly true aspects of school life, and found it fascinating to see them through a teacher's eyes, as well as a helicopter parent's. If you like social media, and the inside scoop on the harm as well drama, humor and havoc it can create at school, this book is for you. Loved it. Looking forward to West's next novel, which I hear is underway!
Julie
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
PICK IT UP IMMEDIATELY.

This novel is so nuanced and covers a variety of different social issues without being preachy. The character development in this books is fantastic as is the way it is told from many different POV which all intersect is superb.
Meg
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Kathleen West's upcoming novel, Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes, tells the story of teachers, admin, parents and students at privileged Liston Heights High. The characters start as stereotypes -- the crazed theater mom with a not-terribly-talented son, the liberal English teacher, the naive and overworked new teacher, the dully officious admin, the teenage girl following her Feminism 101 checklist -- but soon the interlocking stories pull you in.

The setting is great, and while the characters
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Donna Hines
Social media and the 'Marxist' theory of learning what could be better...? How about Helicopter Parents?
YES!!!!
Folks as a mom of three teens with one freshman in college, plus a junior in high school, and a 7th grade elementary student; I can surely relate to this whole drama field of emotions and teachings.
The entire premise of uncovering the characters inner feelings was quite the road trip as we have a mixed bag here from administration, teachers, students, parents, and the wanna be heroes.
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Lori
Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes should be required reading for all moms who have a child entering high school, to teach them how NOT to act. Kathleen West gives us a relatively accurate example of what a committed helicopter mom can accomplish when she embraces all things crazy and then immerses herself in her children's lives. However, what gave this book balance and made it work was the different perspectives from multiple characters. West provides us not only with the parents' and ...more
Genevieve Trono
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is a nuanced look at school politics at a prestigious school in an affluent Minnesota community. Written with humor and plenty of drama, West succeeds at sharing a look at high school life from the perspective of a well-meaning teacher who gets caught in the web of meeting the demands and expectations of parents/administrators and other teachers. We meet a slew of characters who set the scene and it is all too relatable to anyone who has ever been a part of ...more
Shannon (The Book Club Mom)
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes was everything I was hoping it would be and then some. I may or may not have locked myself in the bathroom to sneak a few chapters in over the past couple of days. I honestly couldn’t put this debut down. West creates an addictive and relevant story full of drama, crazy parents, admirable teenagers and caring teachers. Do you love reading the comments section in juicy social media posts? Well then, get the popcorn ready as you read the ...more
Cheryl
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I tried, really I tried to like this book but I just couldn't. In the beginning I was fine with all of the adults and their issues but after a while, it grew old. In fact; the issues kind of became petty and the adults whiny.

I might have been able to handle is to a point if I had liked most of the characters but there was not one that I particularly liked. It is sad when the children are more mature than the adults. I get that this was part of the factor for this book. Sadly, I could not finish
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Bradeigh Godfrey
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Secrets and drama and scandals, oh my! This one was a winner for me!

Set in a well-to-do suburb outside of Minneapolis, this story centers on the dramas and catastrophes in a high school. There’s an overeager helicopter mom, a passionate English teacher with a yearning to open her students’ minds, and a supporting cast of other teachers and parents, school administrators and, of course, the students themselves. A video of the helicopter mom behaving badly goes viral, the English teacher comes
...more
Natalie
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must start by saying, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! As a classroom teacher for many years, I felt West managed to capture the politics of teaching in today’s world. It is the story of the well-meaning, super teacher, Isobel Johnson who gets caught in the web of political manipulation of school administrators, parents and other teachers.

The main culprit is the parent of 2 of her students, a truly hideous helicopter parent. Julia Abbott managed to stir up a wasp’s nest of negative feelings toward
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Stephanie Wrobel
Such an engrossing read—on parenting, teaching, politics, and growing up. Do you all remember Great Books? While I 1000% do not miss high school, this one made me nostalgic for all those group discussions in English class.

Minor Dramas will make for an excellent book club conversation starter... if you're not afraid to stir up a little healthy debate!
Stacy
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So excited to read this one! I was fortunate to read an early draft and LOVED it. Can't wait to see how it "grew up"!
Susan
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novel about a posh high school and the MANY dramas that are simmering inside it. The flipped perspective of parents behaving badly, with their children being the ones to act reasonably and honorably, was interesting. Although I didn't find any of the adults (even Isobel) particularly likable, the characters were well-drawn, with complex personalities and hidden depths (good and bad). With short chapters, snappy prose, and plenty of tension to keep the plot moving, this is a fast, ...more
Milena
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
I picked up Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes with trepidation because it's not a genre I usually read and enjoy. I am not that interested in school dramas. I am happy to say I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It's a smart and funny social commentary on the American education system, helicopter parenting, and generational tensions. With short chapters and well-flowing prose, it's an easy and engaging read. I highly recommend this book, especially for book clubs.

*ARC provided
...more
Meagan Houle
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I chose this for the juicy, diverting read it would no doubt provide, and it did that well. What I wasn't expecting but appreciated immensely was the redemptive way in which even the most incorrigible characters grew throughout the narrative. It's always a treat when an author manages to make the bad guys good in a way that feels credible and satisfying. It's a fun little book with an ending that should make just about everyone happy.
Leah
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes was an absolute joy to read. Who's behind the secret facebook group? Did Julia seriously just hit a teacher with her car?? What's the big secret in Isobel's past? Though the ending does come together a bit too neatly for my liking, I had such a blast reading this one and can't wait to see what West writes next!

For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
Jill (chill_jilland_read)
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Need a little mix of Gossip Girl and Glee on your TBR? Then this novel is for you.

Minor Dramas and Other Catastropes begins with Julie, an overzealous helicopter parent punching a student in the gut while checking out the school play’s cast list. When the video goes viral, events start spiraling that end up revealing even more drama at a private school. Isobel is a teacher with a social justice mentality and her teaching has come into question as parents start berating each other on a social
...more
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