Book Review: Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

Posted May 19, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 40 Comments

Adult Assembly Required
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Half a Flame

by Abbi Waxman
Publication Date May 18, 2022
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General
Pages: 400
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

A young woman arrives in Los Angeles determined to start over and discovers she doesn't need to leave everything behind after all, from Abbi Waxman, USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

When Laura Costello moves to Los Angeles, trying to escape an overprotective family and the haunting memories of a terrible accident, she doesn't expect to be homeless after a week. (She's pretty sure she didn't start that fire -- right?) She also doesn't expect to find herself adopted by a rogue bookseller, installed in a lovely but completely illegal boardinghouse, or challenged to save a losing trivia team from ignominy...but that's what happens. Add a regretful landlady, a gorgeous housemate and an ex-boyfriend determined to put himself back in the running and you'll see why Laura isn't really sure she's cut out for this adulting thing. Luckily for her, her new friends Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob aren't sure either, but maybe if they put their heads (and hearts) together they'll be able to make it work.

Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman is a bookish book that I enjoyed.  Although not part of a series, this book follows the author’s previous book, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and we get to see the continuation of some of the characters from that book. 

Laura Costello has moved to Los Angeles from New York City to start a Physical Therapy degree program, and also to escape her overprotective parents and an ex-fiance that isn’t sure he’s an ex.  After just a few days, her apartment building burns down and she finds herself homeless in a strange city.  After a soaking rainstorm, she stumbles into a bookstore and meets Nina and Polly.   They immediately take her in and find her a room at Polly’s boarding house, owned by a lovely woman that houses several quirky and interesting tenants including Impossibly Handsome Bob, who works in the boardinghouse garden in exchange for rent.  Laurs soon finds herself part of this unconventional group of friends as they help her navigate adulthood.  

I really enjoyed Adult Assembly Required and loved the friendships and all the quirky characters the most.  It’s really a story about friends and supporting each other with a side of romance.  The banter between these characters is fun and made the book easy to read.  The romance is a slow burn romance, that was perhaps a bit too slow burn for me. However, Bob and Lauren did make a cute couple and I enjoyed their friendship and later (much later) their romance.  Besides the side human characters, there are several dogs and cats at the boarding house and at the bookstore that have their own personalities and even had their own POV for short bits of the book.  The author knows her cats and dogs, and their POVs were hilarious.  

I recommend Adult Assembly Required to anyone who enjoys quirky bookish characters.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

UK Cover:

A very similar cover in a different color.

About Abbi Waxman

Abbi Waxman was born in England in 1970, the oldest child of two copywriters who never should have been together in the first place. Once her father ran off to buy cigarettes and never came back, her mother began a successful career writing crime fiction. Naturally lazy and disinclined to dress up, Abbi went into advertising, working as a copywriter and then a creative director at various advertising agencies in London and New York. Eventually she quit advertising, had three kids and started writing books, mostly in order to get a moment’s peace.

Abbi lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, three dogs, three cats, a gecko, a snake, five pigeons, four chickens, and two guinea pigs. Every one of these additions made sense at the time, it’s only in retrospect that it seems foolhardy.

40 responses to “Book Review: Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

  1. This is another book I was declined for, but will still read. I enjoyed the quirkiness of Nina Hill and am looking forward to that. Of course the insight of the animals will also add some interest and humor, I would guess. Great review, Wendy.

  2. This sounds like a great read Wendy. I really appreciate being able to read your thoughtful review. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sounds so cute, especially the lots of dogs and cats with their separate personalities. A bookshop setting is always a plus. Lovely review, Wendy, glad this was good despite the romance being too slow burn

  4. This novel sounds like my type of book! Fun, heartfelt, not too romantic based, and feel good.
    Thank you for sharing your review, I’ve never read any of her books and will be adding this one to the TBR list!

  5. The bookstore, the illegal boarding house, the quirky characters, the dogs…they all make me want to read this one. 🙂

  6. I like that the animals’ POV’s are included. That makes it so fun–especially from an author that has so many pets of her own.

    • Yes, and as an animal lover myself, she has some good insight as to how they probably would think about situations!

  7. Jenny+McClinton

    This sounds really good, I had added it to my list this morning 😊 great review 💕

  8. I think it’s delightful that this book focused so much on the friendships. It sounds like it would make a good film. 🙂

  9. I read Abbi Waxman’s The Garden of Small Beginnings which I enjoyed and this sounds like another good one.