A reunion of old friends reveals the cracks in their perfect facades in this promising debut novel.
Becca, Jordana, Lex, Seth, and Holly are all about 40 years of age. They’ve been friends since childhood, and they all banded together when Becca was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager, and they stayed connected through her treatment and into adulthood. As the 25th anniversary of Becca’s cancer remission approaches, Jordana decides to get the gang back together and throw a reunion party. What’s supposed to be a lighthearted weekend of reconnection, however, quickly goes off the rails. Becca’s marriage is on the rocks, as an unexpected health crisis destabilizes her world. Holly, who’s preparing to have her first child, is beginning to question her strict religious lifestyle. Jordana struggles with unresolved emotions regarding Adam, her high school ex-boyfriend and Holly’s current husband. Lex is coming to terms with her own unhappy marriage just as she begins to have feelings for Seth. In the end, the members of the group must decide if their friendship is still strong enough to keep them together. Although the majority of the plot takes place over the course of a single weekend, Blumenfeld manages to instill real depth into her characters, making them instantly relatable and sympathetic. The plotline involving Lex and Seth could have been more fully developed; as it is, these characters are outshined by the novel’s true stars: Becca, Jordana, and Holly. The latter women are engagingly complex, and every step of their personal journeys feels real and raw. The author rejects nice, neat endings for her characters, and an eleventh-hour tragedy cuts deep. Overall, though, the plot is less important than the author’s love and attention to her cast, which really makes the novel shine.
A deceptively simple tale that packs an emotional punch.