THE MOST LIKELY CLUB by Elyssa Friedland

From the publisher:

At their milestone high school reunion, a group of friends make a pact to finally achieve their high school superlatives one way or another, in the lively new novel from the acclaimed author of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel.

In 1997, grunge is king, Titanic is a blockbuster (and Blockbuster still exists), and Thursday nights are for Friends. In Bellport, Connecticut, four best friends and high school seniors are ready to light the world on fire. Melissa Levin, Priya Chowdhury, Tara Taylor, and Suki Hammer are going places. Their yearbook superlatives confirm it: Most Likely to Win the White House, Cure Cancer, Open a Michelin-Starred Restaurant, and Join the Forbes 400.

Fast forward twenty-five years and nothing has gone according to plan as the women regroup at their dreaded high school reunion. When a forgotten classmate emerges at the reunion with a surprising announcement, the friends dig out the yearbook and rethink their younger selves. Is it too late to make their dreams come true? Fueled by nostalgia and one too many drinks, they form a pact to push through their middle-aged angst to bring their teenage aspirations to fruition, dubbing themselves the “Most Likely Girls.”

Through the ensuing highs and lows, they are reminded of the enduring bonds of friendship, the ways our childhood dreams both sustain and surprise us — and why it’s deeply uncool to peak in high school.

“In the delightful latest from Friedland (Last Summer at the Golden Hotel), four women celebrate their 25th high school reunion…Friedland keeps up a steady stream of clever lines to convey the women’s mix of excitement and dread over the big event…Overall, this strikes a fine balance between lighthearted and serious.”—Publishers Weekly

“A high school reunion sparks new life for a group of best friends in Elyssa Friedland’s winning novel The Most Likely Club.… Through their triumphs and failures, the group cherishes the bond of their friendship, and honor their childhood selves in this hilarious and heartwarming tale.”—Popsugar

“We love this book about a group of girls who graduated in the ’90s and are coming up on a milestone high school reunion. Full of nostalgia and surprises, the “Most Likely Girls” will discover that it’s never too late to make their dreams come true.”–Medium.com

Good Morning America Buzz Pick

https://amzn.to/3UrFPLR

This book has been getting a lot of love, and I always worry that books that are hyped that much won’t live up to expectations – but I’m happy to report, this one does. It was a fun read for sure, light and entertaining but also had some depth to it. It deals with all that high school angst, then and now. Some things never change, but I have to say that social media has brought bullying and “mean girls” stuff to a new and terrifying level. I am so thankful my kids are long past that age because I don’t know how I would have handled seeing my child bullied online. It’s a minor plot point here, but enough to bring awareness.

These four women became best friends and are still in touch. One of them, Suki, has become a megastar with her app and makeup lines. Priya has become a doctor and is married to a surgeon. They have three kids and Priya is scheduled within an inch of her life, while her husband completely relies on her to do everything for the kids, and for him.

Melissa is president of the P.T.A. at the high school she and her kids attend, for eight years running. It is no surprise that the principal asks her to chair her class’s 25th reunion. She inveigles her friends to attend, and the invitations go out. Melissa is divorced, and her daughter goes between her house and her dad’s with his new, pregnant wife. They all get along, on the surface at least, but Melissa was really devastated by the divorce.

Tara was supposed to be a fancy chef, but instead she opened a cooking school for children. Now that there is a competitor in town, she knows her business is on the edge of collapse. One of the kids in her class has a mom who keeps saying she has this amazing opportunity for Tara, and when things start looking bad for her school, she goes for it. Turns out to be a TikTok restaurant, based on social media rather than food, but at least it’s a real chef’s job.

As these women gather for their reunion, they are disappointed that Suki can’t join them, she’s overseas promoting her business. But then Suki gets cancelled, big time, and she needs her friends more than ever. She’s holed up at one of Elon Musk’s houses (he’s a friend) and is trying to figure a way out of the mess she’s in. Melissa decides she’s had enough of the P.T.A. and she throws her hat in the ring and decides to run for Mayor. They form the “Most Likely Club” so they can follow those high school dreams and help support one another. There’s a touch of romance with a billionaire donor who was in their class but always felt bullied. Turns out he had a crush on one of these women and gets to follow up on it now.

This was a very engrossing story and the characters really propel it forward, making this a fast as well as a very enjoyable read. This would make a fun book discussion!

9/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE MOST LIKELY CLUB by Elyssa Friedland. Berkley (September 6, 2022). ISBN:‎ 978-0593199749. 368p.

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