#ReadWithMC Reviews 'Adelaide'

"This book just busted my heart OPEN and I am now in a million pieces. Wow wow wow."

Adelaide by Geneieve Wheeler book cover and author headshot
(Image credit: St. Martin's Press)

For May's #ReadWithMC pick, readers dove into Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler, a story that took readers on an emotional journey. It follows twenty-something Adelaide, an American living in London who thinks she's found The One when she meets a charming Brit named Rory. However, things between the two aren't all peaches and cream—when Rory experiences an unexpected tragedy, Adelaide gives everything she can to support him, even if it means reaching her breaking point. 

If you think Adelaide is a happy-go-lucky love story, you'd be dead wrong. Adelaide's story is more of a heartbreaking testament to self-love, friendship, and personal growth, themes of which our #ReadWithMC readers deeply connected to. "I have never—NEVER—seen so much of myself in a character," writes @alltheradreads. "So many scenes from this book could have been straight from my own life." @lynzeeleereads also related to Adelaide, writing, "You know a book is great when it can take you to an exact moment in time and makes you think about all the things you felt in those memories..." 

Adelaide's journey also dives deep into topics such as depression, mental illness, and grief, but readers appreciated how Wheeler approached such serious themes. One reviewer says, "Whether or not readers relate to everything Adelaide goes through, there are themes that this book gracefully touches on that are experienced by nearly every human being." Meanwhile, @laurensreading spot adds, "The mental illness representation is well-developed, and I love how the story works to fill in the gaps so we get a fuller picture of who Adelaide is." All-in-all, Adelaide is a gut-wrenching novel that #ReadWithMC readers ate up. 

Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about Adelaide

"💐 Adelaide Book Review 💐

'Just remember, you run yourself ragged for other people, Adelaide. You deserve someone who’s going to show up for you, too.'

I had a feeling that Adelaide would be an emotional read for me, but I did not anticipate how much I would viscerally connect with Adelaide’s feelings and experiences. That’s a testament to Genevieve Wheeler’s writing—Adelaide is a character that you feel and sympathize for almost immediately. She’s chaotic in a way that I think everyone in their twenties can relate to, but her love of serving others yet losing herself is a feeling that I wish I saw more authors wrote about because it’s so relatable. I listened to this on audiobook and it was incredible.

'It’s interesting, isn’t it? How easy it is to care for something once it’s no longer ours.'

Adelaide’s story begins in the future: she ends up in the hospital for a suicide attempt and the story works in alternating timelines to show how Adelaide got to that point. There are trigger warnings for suicidal thoughts, death, and depression, but Genevieve Wheeler handles the topics with such care and a high level of sensitivity that I really appreciated. The mental illness representation is well-developed, and I love how the story works to fill in the gaps so we get a fuller picture of who Adelaide is.

Seeing Adelaide’s inevitable crash after meeting and being with Rory was not easy to read especially when you first meet Rory and he’s so effortlessly charming. Initially, the framing and alternating timelines was confusing, but I appreciated seeing Rory’s point of view. It doesn’t excuse his behavior or make him redeemable, but it does show how we all go through our own silent battles.

All of the details and nuances in Genevieve Wheeler’s writing connect in such a beautiful, tragic way. I’m still emotionally gutted after the epilogue, but the ending and Adelaide’s growth were the best parts of the story for me. Somehow Genevieve Wheeler tapped into a universal feeling of finding hope while being at the lowest points in your life, and because of that, Adelaide is easily going to be a book that stays with me for a very long time.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)"


"Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler

When Adelaide meets Rory Hughes, it feels like she’s finally fallen head first into the fairy tale love she’s longed for. Rory is everything Adelaide wants but not enough of what she needs. But who’s to say that’s not just dating in your twenties? When Rory is shocked by a tragic event, Adelaide gives everything in her to support him. As she inches closer and closer to her breaking point, she feels Rory slipping away. How far can she reach before she falls? At what point is she no longer supporting, but sacrificing herself?

This book was so heartbreakingly good. Like, so. good. If you’re hoping for a light little spring romance, this is not that. This is a story of self love, heartbreak and healing, of female friendships, of grief, and most importantly personal growth (as the cover perfectly depicts). Whether or not readers relate to everything Adelaide goes through, there are themes that this book gracefully touches on that are experienced by nearly every human being. This is one of those books you put down when you’re done and you realize that you have learned more about yourself.

This book reminds readers that there is love out there that is far more important than romantic love. That friendships are everything and that humans are capable of great healing. Most importantly, it reminds us that people are put in our lives for a reason, and sometimes those people will break you down before you can build yourself up again— but not without learning who you are along the way. This is a very powerful and beautiful story, I highly recommend. #ReadWithMC"


By: Genevieve Wheeler 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

'There are parts of our hearts we give away. Not lend, but sacrifice entirely. And there are some people to whom we give these pieces, knowing we’ll never really get them back.'

'Pain is pain is pain.. no matter how large or small your problems , your losses, your wounds —they are yours. And you’re allowed to feel them. The hardest loss will always be your own.'

WOW - this one was just brilliant. You know a book is great when it can take you to an exact moment in time and makes you think about all the things you felt in those memories.. the messy and most difficult moments of your past. This book did that for me.

It was raw and real — I connected so deeply with Adelaide. With her desire to please others at the sake of her own happiness. Goodness for me it was 2010 all over again reading this story 😭

What I loved:
Honestly I loved it ALL. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that I felt could really happen.. romance is my jam but a lot of it leans towards the fantastical. My heart broke for Adelaide. She gave all the bits of herself to love and it wasn’t reciprocated equally. I felt that to my core.

SYNOPSIS: For twenty-six-year-old Adelaide Williams, an American living in dreamy London, meeting Rory Hughes was like a lightening bolt out of the blue: this charming Englishman was The One she wasn’t even looking for. Is it enough? Does he respond to texts? Honor his commitments? Make advanced plans? Sometimes, rarely, and no, not at all. But when he shines his light on her, the world makes sense. Then when Rory is rocked by an unexpected tragedy, Adelaide does everything in her power to hold him together —even if it means losing herself in the process. When love asks too much of us, how do we find the strength to put ourselves first? With unflinching honesty and heart, this relatable debut from a fresh new voice explores grief and mental health while capturing the timeless nature of what it’s like to be young and in love —with your friends, your city and a person who cannot, will not, love you back.

Basically this book was FABULOUS and I think you should read it ASAP. Bravo @geewheeler 🤍🤍🤍"


"🌸𝐀𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰🌸

Woah. This book. 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌. I’ve never related to a story in the same way I have to this one. It’s absolutely heartbreaking in the best way possible.

I’ll admit, at first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the writing style (it’s different than anything I have read before), but after a few chapters, I began to really enjoy the combination of external dialogue and internal thoughts.

The story follows Adelaide as she falls in love with the wrong person. It’s beautiful and sad and relevant to every person out there who has given themselves up to someone incapable of reciprocating their love with the same intensity.

This is 𝘯𝘰𝘵 a happy love story. But more a story about the importance of having people in your life that lift you instead of drag you down.

Please look up the trigger warnings (or ask), if you have any concerns, but with that, I wholeheartedly recommend this book 💗

What an amazing debut novel @geewheeler


"this book just busted my heart OPEN and i am now in a million pieces. wow wow wow.

first of all— adelaide has been my #1 future baby girl name since i was a kid, so i instantly loved this one purely for the title.

secondly— i have never— NEVER— seen so much of myself in a character. so many scenes from this book could have been straight from my own life. and i say that with heaviness, because they are the things of pain and abuse, deep depression and grief, mental illness, wrestling with shame and just wanting to be done with it all.

half of my tabs as i read flagged things that broke my heart, made me cry, made me remember, brought back the anger and grief and remnants of my own abuse. and half were things that gave me hope, felt like love, were glimmers of goodness and joy and light and beauty. this book felt like such a twist of both.

i don’t know if i can find adequate words for what this book meant to me. for how beautifully adelaide’s story unfolded, even alongside (and because of, and in response to) the total bullshit thrown at her from other people who claimed to but didn’t love her. for how it feels to find a character so like yourself, and to see her not only survive, but heal, and come to find love for herself. for how it feels to be reminded that the same can be true for you, too.

what a gift. what a story. what a character.

thank you, @geewheeler, thank you.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (and beyond). #radfivestarfaves #readwithmc


"This book. I don’t think I could ever capture its brilliance in a review. The book follows Adelaide, a twenty-something American living in the UK. We learn about her upbringing and some experiences in her teenage years that led to her move across the globe.

Her story is told with such openness and is so raw, whether you relate to Adelaide in a small or large way, you will relate to her. I thought this book was so well done. Adelaide is a character that will stick with me forever.

Wheeler does such a good job of discussing heavy themes like mental health, death at a young age, toxic relationships and more, while portraying how hard it can be to navigate and communicate the emotions that come with these things. I really appreciated the ending, it did a great job of closing the chapter on this era of Adelaide’s life.

I’m kind of lost for words as I write this review. Adelaide is a book that instantly became a favourite for me and as such I find so hard to review. I know that anything I say about it won’t do it justice. Please pick up this book, it is simply a work of art!!!!!

Thank you @stmartinspress for my finished copy, I will cherish it forever!!

TW: mental health struggles, suicidal ideation, miscarriage, toxic relationships, manipulation, emotional and sexual abuse, untimely death"


Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she specializes in crafting shopping stories—from sales content to buying guides that span every vertical on the site. She also oversees holiday coverage with an emphasis on gifting guides as well as Power Pick, our monthly column on the items that power the lives of MC’s editors. She also tackled shopping content as Marie Claire's Editorial Fellow prior to her role as Associate Commerce Editor.

She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.