Seigel, A. (2010). The kid table. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.
Plot Summary: This story is told through the events that take place when Ingrid’s family get together. She is one of five teenage cousins who are still forced to sit at the kid table and the book details the various problems they are having with growing up. It begins when her uncle throws himself a bar mitzvah and she meets her cousin Brianne’s boyfriend, Trevor whom she has an instant connection with. She also realizes her cousin Cricket has an eating disorder and tries to get her help. At Thanksgiving Cricket is absent because she is in treatment for her eating disorder. They next get together for Christmas and New Years where Trevor kisses Ingrid. At the Fourth of July it it announced that Brianne is engaged. The book ends at Brianne and Trevor’s Wedding. Ingrid’s cousin Dom saw Trevor kiss Ingrid and doesn’t want them to get married. He objects to the marriage but doesn’t want to tell Ingrid’s secret so he claims to be in love with Brianne. The adults all argue that this is impossible because he is gay. He has been trying to force this conversation throughout the whole book so he is surprised to discover everyone already knows. This interruption provides enough time for the other man Brianne had been dating prior to getting engaged to come forward and declare his love. Brianne’s parents stop the wedding and Trevor reveals he had also been seeing someone else but doesn’t say it was Ingrid. The book ends with Ingrid’s Aunt and Uncle getting remarried instead and no kid table at the reception.
Critical Evaluation: The format of this book makes some of the character development a little choppy. The reader misses out on parts of the character’s life so we see for example, Cricketing being very sick, shortly being absent due to being in a treatment facility, being back and looking a lot better but still having some food anxiety, and then Cricket still being a little uncomfortable around food but clearly in recovery mode and doing better. Readers instinctively know that Cricket must be doing something to further her progress in the gaps and that her time in the treatment facility worked well but because readers only get glimpses of her illness it can come across as being less of a struggle. I do think that the author actually portrayed Crickets struggle very well and that her stress in the various family situations is well portrayed but it does lose something in the gaps. The carry over problems her various family members are dealing with lack some of the impact when you do not see the full story. While the character development may get a little mixed up due to the gaps in the storytelling the characters themselves are all very well written with each family member having a full personality and distinct story. The older relatives and the youngest cousin Katie whose only four may not have as much of a story but they still each have a distinct personality.
Reader’s Annotation: Ingrid and her teenage cousins try to figure out what will get them promoted from the kid table as they face the challenges of growing up.
Author Information: Andrea Seigel has previously written two books for adults The Kid Table is her first book for young adults.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Booktalk Ideas: 1) What are some of the various milestones that make someone an adult?
2) Does your family have a kid table and if so when do kids graduate to the adult table?
Reading Level & Interest Level: This book is listed as ages 14-17 which seems appropriate for both the material and interest level.
Challenge Issues: This book has a little swearing and mentions sex and an eating disorder. There are however no depictions of any sexual acts other than kissing. The character who has an eating disorder is primarily shown getting better and has a realistic and positive experience that may be inspiring to teens facing their own eating issues. The book is also well reviewed.
Why is it included?: When I read the description I thought this would be a book would be one that many teens would relate to as different families all have different markers of what qualifies youth to become adults and for many teens this classification does not come soon enough in their opinion. I also love how supportive the cousins are of each other they fought some and weren’t always that nice to each other but they clearly all loved and supported their cousins.