This novel was an unexpected pleasure. I randomly picked it up off of a library shelf and read the back and thought it sounded interesting so I gave it a go. It also fit into the friendship category on Fall Bookish Bingo, so that was an added bonus. It follows Nora, a thirty-two year old woman who is unexpectedly reunited with her closest friends from high school. The four girls, now women, became close when they were all living in a group home for girls in a small town in Pennsylvania. As they moved out of the house, something happened to change their friendship forever. They lost touch, but now, in their thirties, are unexpectedly reunited when Grace, one of the four, attempts suicide and desires a reunion with her friends. As they reconnect, they all attempt to show how little they’ve changed, and as the weekend goes on, their secrets slowly come out…and the truth about that last night together is slowly re-examined.
This book is not narrated by Nora, but we do see the weekend mainly through her point of view. I personally found her very relatable, though I could not relate to a lot of her life experiences. She highlights the brokenness of the women, and the way that their friendship can help make them feel whole again. The book flits back and forth from the present to the girls’ shared past at Turning Winds, the group home they lived in together. As pieces of their past are slowly revealed, their present starts to make more sense. As the book goes on, you see how the women have changed since their time at Turning Winds, but you also see the parts of their personalities that have remained constant, bringing up questions about how much our past dictates our future and when you have to start taking responsibility for your present. While all of them come from tragic backgrounds, the ways they have responded and coped are varied and feel realistic.
Each woman felt like a real person, and like someone I could be friends with. One thing I truly loved about this novel was its focus on friendship and how it can heal things. I appreciated that the few men in the story were on the periphery, and romance didn’t save anyone. Instead, as the women reconnected, I thought of all of my own friendships and how helpful and beneficial they’ve been in my own life. This book was sad at times, but ultimately ended in a way that was satisfying and made the future feel a little brighter. If you are looking for a book that celebrates female friendship and will make you laugh and cry, this is the one to pick up and read. As a bonus, it’s also a pretty quick read (I was able to finish it in a weekend).
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars