Cover Image: We Are the Brennans

We Are the Brennans

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Member Reviews

LOVED this family saga! The characters and the writing style complemented each other well. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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It was an interesting story, with good characters, a few plot twists, and slow pacing. The story revolves around Sunday, the only girl in a family of 3 brothers, who comes home after an accident and how her arrival affects her the family and friends
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This book was filled with Irish family drama and old secrets.  This book was quick paced and kept my interest.  I enjoyed the ending even though parts of it didn’t pan out how I hoped they would.  I was surprised to find that this was the authors debut book, it was very well written and I enjoyed the writing style.  The last sentence of each chapter was the first sentence of the next chapter and I thought that was so unique and cool.
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Thanks to Netgalley for an electronic ARC of this book.

We Are the Brennans was just ok to me. A predictable family drama, I kept picturing it as a Lifetime movie. Those who enjoy that type of thing will probably love the book. It's not me. The Brennans are a dysfunctional family in predictable and stereotypical ways. Sunday, the only sister, returns east from LA after living across the country for 5 years with little interaction with her family. She left a mess (personal issues, drinking, an incident in her past) and returns a mess. Her homecoming is what is needed for her to address her issues. Her brothers aren't doing much better, and then there's her ex-boyfriend...the unresolved problems know no end,  Unfortunately, this was just not my cup of tea.
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I really really enjoyed this one. I was super excited to get approved because I had been dying to read it. The blurb and the cover really screamed to me that it was a book I should read. I enjoyed the family and the characters.
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This is a love hate kinda book. The beginning will suck you in and make you not want to stop reading. The first half is entertaining and engaging but then it slows down entirely too much which is terrible because its a good story and i loved the characters. Then the ending was great but so rushed. There was no balance in the pacing of the story which made it just an ok book for me.
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"We are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange is the kind of assured debut novel that marks its author as one to watch. When Sunday Brennan, the beloved only daughter of a tight-knit Irish-American clan in upstate New York, suddenly leaves her family and her long-term boyfriend, Kale, to move to California, they are all are left to wonder what could possibly have happened to take her away from them. But when trouble in California years later brings Sunday back home almost as precipitiously as she left, the Brennans and Kale will be forced to grapple with their own secrets and complicated lives if they want to be a united family once again. "We are the Brennans" reminded me of my own Irish-American family--it's big-hearted and messy and even a bit frustrating at times, but I loved it nonetheless. Perfect for fans of Mary Beth Keane's "Ask Again, Yes" and of Alice McDermott.

Thank you to NetGalley and Celadon Books for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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I really enjoyed this layered story of a tight knit family…. and their secrets.  It was a sweet and nostalgic book at the same time it was a rollercoaster ride of bad decisions,  bad guys and bad situations that could be devastating to everyone.
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Unfortunately this book just didnt do anything for me and i started over multiple times because i found myself bored to tears. I couldnt connect to the characters or plot and the story seemed a tad bit predicatable to me.
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Thank you so much to the author, publisher, NG for a copy of this book. I also received a physical copy from a raffle win from BookishFirst. I loved this book. The domestic suspense aspect is marked by the amount of secrets and flipping between POVs amplified the strength of this book's plot. The POVs help switch throughout so the pace is sustained. I think this would be a cool adapatation to media.
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initial thoughts: just okay.

I really wanted to like this book + story, but it just fell extremely flat. the plot plodded on & on, with not a lot happening. When something “big” happened towards the end of the story, it was pretty guessable right from the start. 

While normally I can handle unlikable characters, I really didn’t care what happened to any of the Brennans, with the exception of Shane, who isn’t a major player in the story. 

big thanks to Celadon Books + NetGalley for the ARC.
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This is a rich, complex family drama that pulls you in, then stays with you after it’s finished. I enjoyed getting to know all of the different characters, and was sorry to come to the end of the book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this quick family saga. The characters were well developed without being overly drawn out.
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Debut author Tracey Lange explores generations of a tight-knit Irish Catholic family in WE ARE THE BRENNANS, a profound novel about the power of loyalty and the burden of shame.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan has not seen her family in five years, ever since she abruptly left her childhood home in New York, along with her beloved brothers, ailing father and supportive boyfriend for a chance at writing in Los Angeles. But when Sunday wakes up in a hospital, bruised and battered following a drunk driving incident, and sees her oldest brother, Denny, at her side, she knows that it is time to come home. Contrary to popular belief, Sunday has not been living an L.A. dream life of money and men, but instead is slumming it in a small studio apartment and working at a diner to make ends meet. Denny is shocked to see that Sunday would choose this life over the bustling home the Brennans share in New York, but no one is more surprised than Sunday to see just how far the Brennans have fallen.

Back home in West Manor, an upper middle-class suburb 30 miles north of Manhattan, the Brennans have done their best to stay together and afloat, despite weathering many of life’s setbacks. The matriarch of the family, Maura, passed away years ago, leaving a grieving husband, Mickey, to keep an eye on their children. Denny runs a popular and highly rated pub with his best friend --- and Sunday’s high school sweetheart --- Kale Collins; Jackie helps out with pub shifts and paints; and sweet Shane, the intellectually disabled youngest brother, works at a grocery store and follows the Yankees with a near-religious fervor.

But the careful balance of the Brennan household has started to slip in the years since Sunday left. Mickey is starting to show signs of dementia; Jackie has been arrested for possession, necessitating a costly lawyer; Denny’s wife, Theresa, has left him and taken their four-year-old daughter, Molly, with her; and although Denny and Kale are branching out with a new location, numerous setbacks have put them firmly in the red with their bills.

While the Brennans are ecstatic to see Sunday again, it is clear that she left a million questions in her wake when she fled west. But more than that, she has discovered a quiet, simmering anger and need for independence within herself. For years she acted as a second mother to her brothers, nurturing Shane when their proud mother couldn’t, settling disputes between Denny and Jackie, and even caring for their mother when cancer reared its ugly head. Now that she is back and her brothers have nurtured their own resentments, she is not interested in quietly bowing her head and begging for forgiveness. Even though she has not been around to help the family deal with Mickey’s forgetfulness and Shane’s tightly coordinated schedule, the Brennans do not know that she once paid the ultimate price for their family, and that her journey to California was not just a bratty girl running away, but a broken woman running from.

Alternating between Sunday, Denny, Kale, Jackie, Mickey and even Kale’s wife, Vivienne, Lange examines what really happened to the Brennan family five years ago and decades before, uncovering a slew of family secrets, concealed tragedies and hidden pain. We find out that Denny and Kale’s pub is in very real danger of going under, and that Denny has made terrible mistakes when it comes to handling his money, the pub’s money and even the Brennan family money. At the same time, we learn about the intense bond between Irish twins Jackie and Sunday and the ways that they covered for one another when the world came for them. Simmering in the background is the mysterious history of their patriarch, Mickey, a proud, family-oriented man with a dark past in Ireland during the Troubles, when the IRA held sway over the lives and futures of too many young men and women.

WE ARE THE BRENNANS is a classic story of family dysfunction and secrecy. It would have been much shorter if only the Brennan children and their father could talk to one another and not assume, protect or mislead. But far from being a predictable tale of miscommunication, it is a tautly plotted and keenly emotional novel that reads as naturally as attending one’s own family dinner. Although Sunday is our entry point into the Brennan home, Lange does a remarkable job of settling us right into the family dynamic and all the checks and balances that come with it. She has a unique ability to distill complicated family situations into brief but poignant phrases. On Maura’s inability to praise Sunday, Lange writes, “[H]e believed she was jealous of Sunday…. Why else would a parent steal one child’s moment and hand it to another”; and on Shane’s increasingly frequent outbursts as the family crumbles, “Shane had always been the family barometer.”

But the true power of this terrific novel comes when the Brennans finally begin to unpack years of secrecy and do what they were brought into creation to do: love one another, have the “come-to-Jesus” hard conversations and save one another from ruin. At once an incisive takedown of shame and a testament to the powers of loyalty and redemption, WE ARE THE BRENNANS is a deeply satisfying and perfectly layered novel for fans of Mary Beth Keane's ASK AGAIN, YES and Cara Wall's THE DEARLY BELOVED.
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We are the Brennans mini review 💚

rating: 5⭐️
genre: contemporary fiction
read this if you liked: The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

mini review: Like any family, the Brennans have secrets. Some are bubbling to the top, while others are fighting to stay hidden. They’re a tight-knit Irish family who are loyal to a fault - and that doesn’t sit well with everyone. Although the Brennan children are all adults with their own lives, they’re all deeply intertwined and when the youngest daughter, Sunday, ends up back in town after an accident the past and present start to collide again. But it’s not *all* bad. The longer she stays the more she realizes that they need her just as much as she needs them.

One of my favorite books of 2021 was We are the Brennans by Tracey Lange. Ever since reading The Most Fun We Ever Had a few years back, I’ve been drawn to family dramas. This one was a quick, compelling read and I was so surprised it was a debut novel. I really enjoyed that we got to know this family from multiple points of view. I feel like in the short 288 pages that I really knew the family well. The different perspectives made it a well-rounded story. The family dynamics between the siblings, the parents & the partners felt complicated but authentic and honest. I really appreciated that the “big secret” was actually a big secret and it was delivered well, as that’s not always the case in books that deal with family drama (looking at you Truly Madly Guilty 🙄)
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I love a good family drama. This has enough to make you keep turning the pages. Very character driven, and a little dark.
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This was a fantastic story of a troubled family who overcomes trauma and all work together.  Although I never like glorifIcation if affairs, this was tastefully done and there was no infidelity until after separation.
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An enjoyable book in parts. Other parts are just aggravating. Overall you may really like this one. I personally had a hard time with it. I picked it up then put it back down several times. Took way to long to read.

This book has a lot of drama that kept me turning the pages. It will pull you in and hold your interest for the most part. Though I did get very annoyed at some of the characters. Most I liked though. There are lots of ups and downs in this family. Lots of partying a drinking too in places. It was a well written story. A family drama.

Thank you #NetGalley, #TraceyLange #CeladonBooks for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts.

3/5 stars and I say read it for yourself. You may or may not love it. I had a hard time with it.
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Loved this family saga a story I was immediately drawn into.I immediately connected with the Brennans as their lives and secrets unfold.I was sad when I read the last page and could no longer visit with them.#netgalley #celadonbooks
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I finished and reviewed this ages ago but it appears my review never posted. 🥺  Darn it. 

I don't remember exactly what I said, so I'll keep it somewhat short: I loved this book way more than I thought I would! It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. Lange writes such rich, complex, believable characters. The reader can't help but become invested in their stories. I absolutely loved and became immersed in the drama, dysfunction and complexities of this flawed but lovable Irish Catholic family. I was telling a friend about this book and she asked what genre it is. I couldn't even tell her. A Little bit literary, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance? Whatever it is, it's perfection! 👌 This is one of those books that you give a nice warm hug upon finishing!  ❤️ 5/5 stars. Highly recommend this one!! I can't wait for Lange's next one! 

I apologize for the delayed review. 🥺 I swear I pressed "post" 😭 Thank you Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for the honest review.
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