Reunion A novel

Elise Juska

Book - 2024

"A novel about three friends' midlife reckonings at a college reunion in coastal Maine"--

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FICTION/Juska Elise
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Juska Elise (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 6, 2024
New York, NY : Harper [2024]
Main Author
Elise Juska (author)
First edition
Physical Description
296 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Hope, Adam, and Polly had been thick as thieves in college, crashing on each other's couches and easing the pain of finals week with cheap beers. Though they'd stayed in touch after graduation, difficult jobs, marriages, and kids had gotten in the way. With the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind them, their twenty-fifth college reunion offers a chance to reconnect in the place that started it all. But when an unexpected disappearance injects a note of panic into the idyllic weekend, Hope, Adam, and Polly realize how much they've been holding back from sharing with each other--or admitting to themselves. Juska (If We Had Known, 2018) lets each of the trio narrate, filling in historical gaps or long-held presumptions with their individual truths. Fans of J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine, Hannah McKinnon's The View from Here, and Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You will enjoy Juska's blend of introspection and intrigue. Warm and witty, Reunion makes a delightful case for reconnecting with the people who knew you when you barely knew yourself.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In the appealing latest from Juska (after If We Had Known), three friends attend their 25th college reunion in Maine during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hope Richardson, now an overwhelmed stay-at-home mom with two children and a husband who is "deeply around, yet deeply absent," can't wait for a weekend away from her Philadelphia suburb. Her friends Adam Dalton and Polly Gesauldi are less convinced. Adam, late to marriage and now a father to five-year-old twin boys in New Hampshire, is concerned about leaving them with his wife, whose anxiety has worsened during quarantine. Single mother Polly is a cash-strapped and "exploited" adjunct professor in New York City and only agrees to attend the reunion when her 18-year-old son, Jacob, who's had trouble dealing with the social isolation of lockdown, asks to tag along to spend the weekend with a friend whose family has a summer house near the campus. Hijinks ensue as the Natty Light flows freely, and long-held secrets work their way to the surface. When Jacob goes missing from his friend's house and leaves behind a cryptic Instagram message, Hope, Adam, and Polly band together to find him. While some of the plot turns are predictable, the characters are well drawn, and Juska does an especially good job of portraying how her cast navigates a new normal. It's a diverting twist on the Big Chill formula. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown Ltd. (May)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Heightened emotional tensions caused by Covid-19 add an interesting twist to Juska's story of friends gathering for a college reunion in 2021. The framework is familiar: Adults with unsatisfactory lives attend a reunion where they interact with people they once loved, hated, admired, or were mean to; recognizing the dissonance between themselves then and now leads to inner growth. But Covid has forced members of Walthrop's class of 1995 to return to the Maine liberal arts college one year late for their 25th reunion. Between drinking beer and making jokey banter about youthful antics, the gathered characters evoke Americans' post-lockdown mood of exhaustion and general unease. Hope, Polly, and Adam, the three friends who take turns narrating, were famously close in college. Although they've stayed in touch, their lives have diverged. Hope, once a self-confident student, has become an anxious stay-at-home suburban mom who pretends tense undercurrents in her family life don't exist. (Her charmingly snarky teenage daughter is the book's most entertaining character.) Fellow students had considered Polly intimidatingly cool, but as a working-class Brooklyn girl she "often felt like an outlier" at preppy Walthrop; now an adjunct college instructor, she lives back in Brooklyn with her teenage son, Jonah, and has never told Hope, her supposed best friend, the truth about Jonah's conception or his father's identity. Dangerously wild in college, environmental lawyer Adam has evolved into a devoted family man in rural New Hampshire, but the deepening depression and agoraphobia his wife has exhibited since Covid are growing burdens. As the weekend progresses, the three friends mostly avoid delving below the surface of things until events bring each to a point of crisis and they begin reconnecting. The problem is that, given their undiscussed, long-standing resentments, the two women's friendship is never convincing, and maintaining their relationships never seems a high priority to Adam. What works in this novel is how Juska keeps the Covid cloud hovering in readers' minds without overkill. A pleasant but predictable read. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.