Author: Hilary Weisman Graham
Release date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 336 pages
Synopsis: 1 Concert
3 Ex-Best Friends
Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.
But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books. Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.
Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over? (Goodreads)
Why You Should Read It: Every single one of us has experienced the loss a close friendship. Perhaps it was a relationship that didn’t survive the transition to middle or high school, or maybe it was the abrupt change from high school to college, or that single pal who couldn’t deal with your marriage or baby. I don’t know anyone who had the exact same friends at 17 that they did at 11 or even 14. “Reunited” explores the nuances of how and why even the best of friendships dissolve.
Alice, Summer and Tiernan think they drifted apart because of one inciting incident, but they come to realize they probably would’ve gone their own way (at least a little) regardless. As the newly graduated trio gets reacquainted, they rediscover each other and find out that they each envied the other two, even if it wasn’t obvious at the time. The music of L3 (which I’m sure readers will substitute with any boyband from Menudo to Backstreet Boys to New Kids on the Block to ‘N Sync to One Direction) reminds them of a happy, less complicated time.
The alternating point of view is essential, because this isn’t the story of just one of the girls; they each have their own journey to take on the crazy roadtrip. Summer, in particular, was a fascinating character, because she looks like the vapid teen queen, but she’s a poet at heart who doesn’t want to continue following the herd. I identified most (big shock!) with goody two shoes Alice, but my heart went out to Tiernan, who was overcome with child-of-divorce issues and crippling guilt.
Weisman Graham is a screenwriter, and the book reads like a movie; you can picture everything — from the Pea Pod VW Bus to the various unexpected pitstops along the way. I hope the book gets optioned, because it would make for a lovely indie teen drama.
Why It’s Great for Summer: I have a soft spot for roadtrip books (two of my current favorites are “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” and “In Honor”), so I knew I just had to read this tale. Summer being the time for roadtrips, I can’t think of a better book to take on a trip and read in two or three sittings. It’s a fun and fast read that will not only remind you of your own BFFs from middle school but will tug at the heartstrings of anyone who ever affixed a band poster on their wall or had a massive crush on a particular singer.
Swoon Factor: This book is about the relationship between three former best friends who rediscover what they loved about each other. It’s not about swoon-worthy boys, although there is one who connects with Alice and makes her heart skip a beat for the first time. Summer’s boyfriend is a jerk and proves that no matter how handsome and popular a guy is, that doesn’t make up for basic decency like — not dumping you girlfriend on graduation day and then trying to get her back the next day!