HOPE IN A JAR by Beth Harbison


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Harbison (Secrets of a Shoe Addict, 2008, etc.) offers her heroine not one but two life-altering makeovers. Oh, what eye shadow and concealer can do.

Allie comes home to find boyfriend Kevin in bed with another woman, but she’s not particularly bothered by the dissolution of their tepid relationship. What bothers her is that she settled for someone as not-quite-right as Kevin, and that he cheated. So Allie does what any girly-girl (if that term still applies at 38) would do to cheer herself up; she heads to Sephora to buy some hope in a jar. Since her 20th high-school reunion is coming up fast, it’s money well spent. There she can catch up with Noah, her best friend since junior high, who has mysteriously failed to reply to her recent phone messages. But the reunion offers several unpleasant surprises. Sweet Noah, her Noah, arrives with Vickie, absolutely the meanest girl in high school. Also there is Olivia, Allie’s best girlhood chum until a teenage falling-out ended their friendship. Olivia left town 20 years ago, and their meeting now is awkward and sad. Nevertheless, the two slowly rebuild the closeness of their past. And what brings teenage girls together? The reader gets a taste in the Allie/Olivia flashbacks, filled with nostalgic references to Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, Steak-Umms and the hot factor of Leif Garrett verses Parker Stevenson. While Allie is complaining to Olivia about Noah and Vickie (now engaged), the truth comes out: Noah has been secretly pining for Allie all these years, and the feelings are mutual; she just didn’t want to risk their friendship. Now Olivia and Allie, working as the team they once were, have to convince Noah that Vickie is truly evil.

It’s all entirely predictable, although Olivia’s troubled relationship with her mother is nicely wrought.

Pub Date: July 7th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-38196-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2009


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