Lindy, Bea, Colin, Owen, Annie, and Catherine went from being fast friends to more like a family during their college years. They all came from vastly different backgrounds and were all very different from each other, but as they say: “Friends are the family you get to choose.” They looked out for each other, were always there when a member of the crew needed them, and vowed to remain friends for the rest of their lives.
Twenty years later, they’re all living their own lives, far away from the house and life they once shared at Penn State. Catherine and Owen, who were the couple of the group, are married. Owen is a stay at home dad and Catherine runs her own Martha Stewart-esque empire, which leaves her very little time for her home life. Lindy is a famous singer, and has achieved her dreams of becoming a famous musician, although she’s fighting to stay relevant in an industry obsessed with youth. Annie is a stay at home mom and wife with a rocky marriage, desperate to have the picture of a perfect life like the ones she carefully cultivates on social media. Colin is a plastic surgeon to the stars, and is enjoying all the perks that come with being the go-to guy if you want a new set of boobs in Los Angeles, but is starting to grow weary of that lifestyle. Then there’s Bea, whose tragic death at 27 left them all devastated and left their friendship barely holding on. Bea was the free spirit who brought out the best in her friends, and after losing her, they all lost a little bit of themselves and the bond that had made them a family.
While the remaining five of them are going about their lives that have little to nothing to do with each other anymore, they each receive a package. When they open it, they find a letter from Bea’s lawyer, informing them that Bea had bought their old house that they had all once shared and requests that they all come back to Penn and gather together there on the Fourth of July: what would have been Bea’s 4oth birthday.
They are all reluctant at first, not sure if they want to go back there and encounter the ghosts of their former selves and their former life, but because it’s for Bea they all decide to go.
As they all arrive, the tension and awkwardness that has kept them out of touch is palpable. They try to remain cordial to one another, but being back in the house that holds so many memories and with all the old wounds bubbling beneath the surface it becomes increasingly difficult for the weekend to be the happy, peaceful reunion it was meant to be.
Inevitably, old wounds are re-opened and the truth of what has kept them apart all these years becomes impossible to ignore. It turns out that even though twenty years separate them from the people they were when they lived in the house, not much has changed between them. Despite their efforts, this weekend could either be the catalyst that brings them back together or the final fracture that shatters whatever bond they have left.
I enjoyed this book immensely! It’s an incredibly realistic view of how bonds and people change throughout the years, and no matter how much you want to recapture the past, change is inevitable no matter how hard you fight it. I loved how Allison Winn Scotch portrayed the way we all feel about adulthood, like we’re all just imposters pretending to know what we’re doing. These characters are so relatable and fully developed that they feel like people you could know, or could even be yourself. It’s a beautiful story of friendship, finding yourself, dealing with the turmoil of adulthood, and the lengths to which people will go to hold onto their youth. As I mentioned earlier, friends are the family you get to choose, and this book is the epitome of that belief.
Hope you read the book and enjoy it as much as I did!