More power to you if you can pass this by and not pick it up. That color! That type treatment! We’re perfectly fine telling you to go on, judge this particular book by its cover. There’s lots of levity and graciousness in these pages.

Emma Straub deploys a light touch when she could verbally (and probably rightfully) take her Brooklyn characters—a trio of college friends and their teenage kids—to task. Instead, she doesn’t chide them but writes humorous and loving circles around their stagnant ambitions and familial arguments. The Oberlin grads (once in the coolest band on campus) are just starting to muddle through midlife crises, when a) a biopic about their former bandmate, who left to become a bit of a star before ODing in her 20s, gets underway, and b) their kids start dating. Sprinkle in a missing cat and illegal kombucha brewing, and you’ve got yourself all the makings of a mess. It’s delightful.

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