Jenna Bush Hager selected Steven Rowley’s The Celebrants as the latest pick for her Today show book club.

Rowley’s novel, his follow-up to his Thurber Prize–winning bestseller, The Guncle, tells the story of a group of college friends who meet at a series of reunions over the years. A critic for Kirkus called the book “a touch wiseacre but more wise.”

“I loved this book so much,” Hager said on the show. “Steven is known for his hilarious humor, so it’s so, so funny. It’s an ode to the power of friendship and our shared history.”

Hager also called the novel “the perfect summer book” and said it will “make you cry on one page and laugh hysterically on the other.”

Rowley told the Today show that the novel was inspired by the death of one of his college friends from breast cancer.

“That’s what writers do—we take some kernel of what we’re wrestling with and we’re able to build characters around it,” he said. “I don’t know if complete resolution is possible, but I’m at peace with the situation and what loss was.…We’ve lost so much over the last few years. If it’s not losing a person, we’ve lost time. We’ve lost togetherness. My way of dealing with it is wanting to tell people that they’re important to me.”

The Celebrants is scheduled for publication next Tuesday by Putnam.

Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.