I use Goodreads to track my reading list (current and future) and one of my favorite features of the app is that it updates me on what my friends are reading. For months, I kept seeing Kiley Reid's novel, Such a Fun Age, popping up on other people's lists. After reading the description, I decided to order it and see what all the buzz was about.
This book is Kiley Reid's debut novel and she wrote the majority of it at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, which is also where this story is set.
Such a Fun Age centers around Emira, a young, Black woman in her 20s who is working part-time as a babysitter for a wealthy white couple, Alix and Peter. Alix is a motivational speaker (major Glennon Doyle vibes) and Peter is a local new anchor.
In the very first chapter, Alix calls Emira late at night in a panic, and asks if she can come occupy their older daughter, Briar. Emira is out at a bar, so is nervous about showing up in her "going out" clothes. Alix insists it's fine and urges her to come right away. What follows is Emira whisking Briar outside and taking her to her favorite place to walk around, the grocery store.
In that grocery store, a woman suspects that Emira has kidnaped Briar, and sets into motion a chain of events that impacts the entire rest of the story. Reid is an incredible writer and describes this altercation in a way that will quicken your pulse. I was hooked after that very first chapter.
Post-grocery store incident, Alix tries desperately to befriend Emira and smooth things over. There were sections that felt very reminiscent of the dynamic between Elena Richardson and Mia Warren in Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
Things come to a head when its revealed that Emira's current boyfriend, Kelley, dated Alix in high school. Their volatile history creeps into the present day and things become explosive.
In many ways, this book was a nail biter. As you learned new truths, you'd find yourself wondering, "When is he or she going to find this out? How?" Reid makes you feel anxious. She's an expert at building anticipation.
The entire time I was reading I kept thinking, "This would make an incredible TV series." Well, it turns out that Lena Waithe and her production company acquired the TV and movie rights, so we may actually get to see this story on screen.
*Image courtesy of The Michigan Daily.