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?
OPINION: 4 STARS
I love road trip books, and I love books about trying to rekindle past friendships, even if they ended for a specific reason rather than simply drifting apart, so when I first hard about this one, I was all in. Shifting between the perspectives of all three girls, readers get an all access past to who they are and who they used to be. Though the voices didn't always sound too distinctly different, and the pacing lagged in a few places, Graham does a great job blending the whole overcoming the wrongs we've done to each other thing with an awkward yet fun road trip.
Looking at the three girls at the start of the book, it's hard to picture them friends, even if it was several years ago. They are all so drastically different, from straight and narrow, almost boring Alice to popular yet somewhat depressed Summer, to Tiernan, the girl who just goes with it and doesn't seem to mind what people think of her. They've each settled into their own lives, yet it's clear that at least in some way, each of them holds on to their past friendship. While it was kind of annoying to know that something big happened between them, and have to wait most of the book to find out what it was, something that felt partly out of convenience rather than purely because the characters just couldn't say it yet, the actual reason their friendship fell apart is so simple, so... trivial, almost, that it adds a great realistic note to the book. By itself, it doesn't seem enough, but set into the changes already happening to the girls, and it's sort of like the final straw. Still, each of them goes their own sort of change and development, and Graham does a fantastic job of portraying each girl, yet bridging them together as well.
Reunited is a mix of serious and funny, of laying things out there and keeping other things close to your heart. Though sometimes the funny parts were a little too forced for me, there was also a basic realism to them, and an overall feel good kind of thing going on, that it worked out in the end. Graham throws in some great scenes to set this apart from other road trip books, and keeps a strong character and emotional tie the entire time. Though the voices didn't always come across as different, the writing itself has an easy flow to it and a nice flair of humor and feeling added in. Overall, Reunited is an engaging, amusing and enjoyable read, and perfect for the summertime.
Source: ARC received from publisher/author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: June 12, 2012