Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia Abbott–a stage mom whose world revolves around interfering in her children’s lives–come with the territory. Julia resents teachers like Isobel, who effortlessly bond with students, including Julia’s own teenagers, who have started pulling further away from her.
Isobel has spent her teaching career in Liston Heights side-stepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a “blatant liberal agenda,” she realizes she’s squarely in the fray. Rather than cowering, Isobel doubles down on her social-justice ideals. Meanwhile, Julia, obsessed with the casting of the high school’s winter musical, inadvertently shoves the female student lead after sneaking onto the school campus. The damning video footage goes viral and has far-reaching consequences for Julia and her entire family.
With nothing to unite them beyond the sting of humiliation from public meltdowns, Isobel and Julia will find common ground where they least expect it, confronting a secret Facebook gossip site that’s stirring up more trouble for this tumultuous, fractured school community.
The Bottom Line: Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes is one of those reads that I finished and after 24 hours of reflection find that I mostly just feel ambivalent towards this story and its characters. There are a lot of threads and plot lines in this book and while they are all connected to one another, they don’t always connect well. What’s more, outside of the teenagers (GASP!) there isn’t really a decent character in this book. The adults are simply pathetic, each looking for ways to better others or tear down those they perceive as having slighted them. The pettiness is next level with personal and professional attacks alike. The greatest level of maturity, proper behavior, and actions in the book come from the kids and that simply makes no sense given who their parents are. At the end of it all, I walked away from this book thankful there wasn’t anything left to read, no more drama and no more catastrophes.