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Publisher's Summary

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.

When a devoted teacher comes under pressure for her progressive curriculum and a helicopter mom goes viral on social media, two women at odds with each other find themselves in similar predicaments, having to battle back from certain social ruin.

Isobel Johnson has spent her career in Liston Heights sidestepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of anti-Americanism and a liberal agenda, she’s in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Julia Abbott, obsessed with the casting of the school’s winter musical, makes an error in judgment that has far-reaching consequences for her entire family.

Brought together by the sting of public humiliation, Isobel and Julia learn firsthand how entitlement and competition can go too far, thanks to a secret Facebook page created as an outlet for parent grievances. The Liston Heights High student body will need more than a strong sense of school spirit to move past these campus dramas in an engrossing debut novel that addresses parents behaving badly and teenagers speaking up, even against their own families.

©2020 Kathleen West (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A smart and delightful story of entitlement, friendship, and overparenting, with page-turning twists galore. West writes across lines of class and generation with grace and ease. A big-hearted debut." (Bruce Holsinger, author of The Gifted School)
 

“As intriguing as it is timely. West provides a funny and shocking glimpse into American parenting through the lens of an out-of-control stage mother who has lost all sense of boundaries.” (Amy Poeppel, author of Limelight)
 

"West offers a sharp, unflinching look at her characters: teachers and administrators trying to do - and keep - their jobs; busy, high-powered parents who buy the best they can for their families; helicopter mothers who see themselves as the omniscient beings who control their children's lives; and the high school students themselves, who sometimes have to learn about kindness and mentoring, bullying and inappropriate behavior by judging their parents' and teachers' actions rather than those of their peers. An excellent, nuanced exploration of the world of high school and the students and adults who live within it." [Kirkus (starred review)]
 

What listeners say about Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Julia Whelan makes all books great!

I never would have bought this book on its own. However, I search for new Julia Whelan-narrated books monthly and found it. For the first hour or so, the book seemed like a YA (Young Adult) piece. Soon, however, it became much more. The story is an excellent example of how easily lives can be damaged - or repaired - through irresponsible (negative or positive) comments online. Reputations can be ruined. Negative (or positive) actions can be incited. And consequences, even if unintended, can be far-reaching and deep.

As always, Whelan brings the characters alive and multi-dimensional. Like a fine wine, the story goes down easily!

9 people found this helpful

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I love Julia Whalen

Best narration paired with a fantastic story. Cautionary tale about helicopter parents, and how easily a teacher’s career can be threatened by rumors.

5 people found this helpful

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Loved this so much!

I consume many books via audible. I rate them all but rarely am I compelled to write a review. I loved this book! The story and characters hooked me right away. Although disguised as a "fun, light read," it was such a spot-on (and sometimes shockingly disturbing!) commentary on the realities of life in an affluent school. Educators will find themselves and their colleagues in the characters. Parents will be forced to reflect on their own parenting practices. Others will develop an appreciation of what it really takes to be a great teacher. Minneapolis locals will have fun trying to figure out the "real" school setting (the school colors confirm the suspicions!) My only (tiny) complaint is the narrator's mis-pronunciation of the name Annika, which is a common norwegian name in our area, pronounced in a way to confirm the narrator has no upper midwestern roots. Highly recommend this book to all!

4 people found this helpful

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Moms Behaving Badly

With multi layers, entertaining characters, insightful social commentary and sharp-witted dialogue this was a really SOLID satisfying read. The narration was perfect, Julia Whelan is always on point!! If you’re looking for a “smart”ish escape, this one is such FUN!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyable

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 because it really is full of little nuggets of humor and very relatable characters. I felt it on-par with Liane Moriarty in the way that the story is told from perspective of many different characters with many events and happenstances to keep it interesting - you get invested in the characters and need to know more. It shared some similar themes with "Little Fires Everywhere" (which i loved) providing a tasteful and entertaining commentary on education, society/status and parent/child relationships. Nice character growth through the story and it was tied up nicely at the end. 5 stars for narration (Julia Whelan is my favorite)!

2 people found this helpful

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Definitely enjoyed it

Light read. This performer is my favorite....she could read me some economics book and I'd love it. Its a good story.

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t put it down!

Burned through this in under a week. Love d it! The narration and story together were wonderful

2 people found this helpful

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Perfectly Cliche Take on Helicopter Parenting

I tried to disconnect and just be entertained but everything was so cliche I couldn’t enjoy the story. Also, no spoiler but I found the ending to be very hurried, almost 11 hours of buildup followed by complete resolution in 30 minutes.

2 people found this helpful

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Don’t miss this!

This is an amazing story - hilarious and timely - and the narration is superb. Author Kathleen West and narrator Julia Whelan make a great pair!

2 people found this helpful

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School politics

Entertaining and provacative story about the infighting and backstabbing between teachers and the politics of preferential treatment for privalaged students. There is also a subtle message about the damage done by social media. Great characters, interesting narrative, and great narration by Julia Whelan.

1 person found this helpful