Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 336
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?
I got my first taste of boyband love when I was in Grade 5, when I first saw the Backstreet Boys perform Get Down on a noontime show when they stopped by the country. I had no idea who they were, but I thought the song was catchy, so I asked for a cassette tape (!!!) of their first album. I fell in love with them (specifically, Nick Carter!) ever since then. I had several friends who were also fans, but I think I was the biggest fan among them. By high school, some of them have moved on from the boyband phase to other pop stars, while I stayed happy in my teenybopper bubblegum pop world a little while longer.
In Reunited, we meet Alice, Summer and Tiernan, best friends who share the love for the rock band Level3. That is, until high school, anyway — when Level3 disbanded and their friendship dissolved for reasons that they didn’t really want to remember. Alice is the good girl, the one who held them together and would want to remain friends with them if things didn’t fall apart. There’s Summer, the budding poet who eventually became Miss Popular. Then there’s Tiernan, who’s the school’s resident rebel, and this rebellion reaches even in her home life. When Level3 announced that they will have a reunion concert, Alice buys tickets without thinking and convinces Summer and Tiernan to go on a road trip with her to watch this one-time reunion concert. So here we have three (ex) friends, a band, and a road trip — oh, I am definitely sold.
The story switches from the point of view of each of the girls, which gives us a pretty equal glimpse of how they feel about each other. There’s this big mystery of sorts about why they fell apart from the first place — things were alluded to, but I couldn’t really guess what happened that made them swear off each other like that. The voices of the three girls were pretty distinct, and I liked being in Summer’s head the most because it felt like she had the most to lose and the first to let the trip go. That almost came true, and in the end, I was happy how she pulled through for the two other girls, and I felt sympathetic with what really happened between the three of them.
As with every road trip, there’s craziness: from an ex-convict to having no gas to falling in love/in crush, to dance contests and parties. There was this one part that felt a little too hard to believe, and I felt like it was used to make that one thing happened, and I wasn’t really completely sold. It set a lot of things in motion, that made the ending a little bit more hilarious than I expected.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It was cute, but it felt like it was a little bit on the wish-fulfillment side. It’s the stuff my high school fan girl dreams were made of, actually, which is probably why I feel like I can’t really believe it. But maybe that’s just me. It’s not like some of my fangirl dreams never came true, anyway.
Oh and as much as I like reading books that has bands and music on it (Audrey, Wait! and Five Flavors of Dumb, for example), it feels a bit hard to really get into the music when I don’t know how the songs sound like. The lyrics were a nice touch, but I wish books like these come up with a soundtrack of sorts. Although it might be a little bit difficult for this one because Level3 has a pretty big discography in the story. ^^
Reunited is okay — quick and fun and interesting. While I didn’t really feel like it’s totally awesome and groundbreaking, I enjoyed reading it. It’s the type of book I would recommend to anyone who has ever been a big fan of any kind of band at some point of their teenage life. Better if you share it with friends who love the same band, too. :)