Pretty Little World by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino (Amazon link)
Description: On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can’t imagine life without one another—until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins.
Celia and Mark now have the space they need. But is this really what Celia’s increasingly distant husband wants? Stephanie embraces the idea of one big, happy family, but has she considered how it may exacerbate the stark differences between her and her husband, Chris? While Hope always wanted a larger family with Leo, will caring for all the children really satisfy that need?
Behind closed doors, they strive to preserve the closeness they treasure. But when boundaries are blurred, they are forced to question their choices…and reimagine the true meaning of family.
Why I Picked This Book: The premise is so different from anything that I'd want to do in real life that I just had to explore it fictionally.
My Impression: This book was definitely a step outside my comfort zone. I'm typically drawn to books that I relate to or that that I like the characters. The usual exception to this rule is thrillers and procedural type mysteries that are super plot driven. This was the exception to that exception. No one dies and it's definitely not a plot driven book. Yes, stuff happens but there aren't big huge events exactly or a set story arc. These are 3 couples who are living their life surrounded by friends who think things might just be better if they opened the walls and operated like one big family. That in itself is as faraway from something I would consider doing that it might as well be science fiction. This book made me realize just how much of an introvert I am as there is no way I could handle multi-family meals everyday and endless round of girls nights.
The characters are well-developed, seriously flawed, and interesting. At one point or another I disliked each of them for but that was continually fluctuating as something would change and relationships developed or decayed. But despite not always liking the characters I was always interested and I always wanted to find out what happened next. This wasn't the easiest read - not because the writing wasn't compelling because it very much was - but because it felt a bit too real. I felt like I was peering through windows and eavesdropping on conversations that weren't my business. The ending is a bit open ended but while that usually drives me crazy it worked for this book. Life is open ended and an ending tied with a bow would have just felt wrong on this book. If you're looking for a read that's different and not easy but not full of angst or grief this is a good pick. I'm definitely glad I read it even though it confirmed even more for me that I really need a house in the center of 100 acres!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would! This was definitely a book I wanted to find out what happened next!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! It was an interesting read that I think would appeal to a broad range of readers.