Premise: cousins share a “kid table” at every family occasion (Fourth of July, New Year’s, an adult relative’s bar mitzvah). They enjoy each other’s company – for the most part – but resent the table, scheming of ways to join the adults. This is where we meet our narrator, Ingrid, as she shares the indignity of sitting at the kid table while also resenting the fact that her slightly older cousin – Brianne – somehow managed to make it out.
Ingrid’s relationship with Brianne wasn’t the best to begin with. But when Brianne uses her burgeoning knowledge of Psychology to diagnose Ingrid as psychopath, things go from bad to worse. Now the rest of the family is watching her every move out of the corner of their eyes for confirmation of this diagnosis. Great. And her favorite, Cricket, is looking suspiciously skinny and gets panicky around food. Fantastic. And that really attractive guy (Trevor) who was flirting with her a little earlier? Yea, he’s Brianne’s new college boyfriend. Could get things get any better? Why, of course. Dom is still calling everything “gay” as a way of hinting to his nuclear and extended family that he is same-sex oriented. And Micah can’t seem to keep his clothes on! What is happening?
In The Kid Table, Seigel jumps from one family occasion to the next to see the developments these characters make in their respective problems. This makes for fast-paced narration. The story never seems to drag. But it also means that sometimes plot shifts seem to come out of nowhere. How is it that Ingrid and Trevor all of a sudden know so much about each other after meeting only twice? Why does Ingrid suddenly think she knows more about him that Brianne does? And *spoiler* how is it that Cricket is suddenly over her eating disorder? And SERIOUSLY, why is Micah getting naked at a family pool party?!
Though the premise, story, and characters are interesting and worth reading about, the lack of character and plot development make things hard to believe and irritatingly simple. Granted this is YA fiction. But so are The Hunger Games and Pathfinder. And those books have wonderfully-wrought characters, a well-developed plot, and some depth. So, no excuses!
Two coffees out of five. But that’s just me. Check out this second opinion.