Hilary Weisman Graham’s Reunited takes a look at what really makes people friends and whether the past can be set aside in order to re-spark a previous friendship.
The story begins with disappointments and the high school graduation of three ex-best friends. After finding out that her summer abroad has been cancelled, Alice is hoping for a new laptop as a grad gift, but gets a refurbished 1976 VW camper van called the Pea Pod instead. While she’s breaking in her new wheels, Alice hears her ex-favorite boy band, Level3, on the radio and reminisces about the good times she had with her fellow groupies and ex-best friends, Summer and Tiernan. When a Level3 reunion concert is announced that night, Alice knows that is more than just coincidence and buys a ticket for herself, Summer, and Tiernan.
Summer has problems of her own, however. Her boyfriend broke up with her at the graduation ceremony, breaking her heart and ruining their summer vacation plans. Taking up Alice’s Level3 road trip offer gives her an excuse to get out of town. And rebel, Tiernan is stuck at home because she’s grounded, so a 10-day break from her mother is very welcome. She jumps at the chance to see Level3 again–though she’s not telling her mom about the trip until she’s well on the way and can’t be stopped.
Their trip starts off with a lot of bickering and a funeral, and the girls have trouble letting go of old resentments, but there are also a lot of funny moments to balance out the bad. Of course, various boys are involved in the trouble in one way or another and you will smile at some of the situations.
The Tiernan, Alice, and Summer are a nice change from the general female stereotypes of the sexy one, the smart one, and innocent/naive one. While the three girls are very different and it is easy to see why they grew apart, they all have well-developed personalities that keep them from being one dimensional–even Summer has more going on than just being the pretty, popular girl–and they continue to develop throughout Reunited.
The way Graham made up Level3 song lyrics and placed them between each chapter was a fun touch that reminded me of the lame boy band songs I used to run around singing (I was a major New Kids fan).
Reunited is an excellent girl power story about old friends helping each other find themselves before they go off to college. It’s rated for ages 12 and older, but adults will also enjoy this fun coming-of-age story and its message.
ARC provided by Around the World ARC Tours.