Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Title: Reunited
Author: Hilary Weisman Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: June 12th 2012
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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1 Concert, 2000 Miles, 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?

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. The whole idea sounded like so much fun - I love road trip books, especially ones set in the summer after high school. And three ex-best friends reuniting to see their ex-favorite band perform is such a cool idea. Reunited sounded like a book I could love, but unfortunately, it didn't happen.

The unique concept caused for a fun plot, but I believe the characters suffered from it. To me, they fell flat. Alice is the brainy, control-freak-ish one; Tiernan is the troubled, rebellious one; and Summer is the misunderstood popular girl. Sadly, the character development doesn't go much deeper than that - the three girls pretty much just embody those cliches. I never really felt like I got to know them, aside from those cliches. The only times they showed some real personality were the scenes where they got whiny and annoying. The character growth was disappointing to me - I felt like they didn't change much over the course of the novel, except that they don't hate each other anymore at the end. I didn't love the characters, and for me, it's hard to love a book without loving the characters.

Surprisingly, the book felt too immature for me. I generally don't mind books that are for people a little younger for me, but because Alice, Summer and Tiernan are my age, I was expecting some more maturity. The attitudes of all three characters seemed more freshman-year than just-graduated-high-school. Maybe it's because they're being nostalgic and going back to middle school, back when they fangirled for their favorite band, and their attitude matches the way they were back then. Either way, the unnecessary drama and unwillingness to communicate felt more like younger YA to me. The reason I love older YA and new adult books is the uncertainty about life - I don't want younger YA, where the character doesn't need to think about what they'll do with their life, and I don't want adult books, where everything is already settled. I want books where the characters are trying to figure out their place in this world, characters that have some idea of what they'll do with their lives but aren't completely sure yet. And I didn't get any of that from Reunited - it's mentioned where each of the girls is going to college, but I have no idea what their plans are, what they're thinking of doing with their lives. The future isn't really mentioned all that much, which surprised me, since right now, for me and the people in my graduating class (as in, people the same age as Alice, Summer, and Tiernan), the future is what we're all about. That just added to the immature feel of the book. 

Then there's the predictability and the cliched-ness of the plot. I'm sorry, but there's only so much unrealistic cheesy-ness I can take, and Reunited crossed the line. The unrealistic ending and all the too-good-to-be-true situations in the book bugged me. I was also annoyed by the constant mentions of the Winter Wonderland Dance - that frustrated me so much! Not a chapter goes by without a character hinting at the fallout the three best friends had at the dance their freshman year, but what really happened isn't revealed until the end. Sure, that's supposed to hook the reader and whatnot, but I didn't think that was necessary at all. The constant mentions and the underwhelming revelation at the end did nothing but annoy me.

But despite all of this, this book does cause for some fun, entertaining scenes. I did very much enjoy the road trip and all the crazy stuff they encounter along the way. A lot of the ridiculous stuff these girls get themselves into had me laughing out loud. I did enjoy Reunited, but I was disappointed by the lack of character development and the immature feel to the book. It's a fun, quick read, but don't go in expecting too much, like I did, or you'll end up disappointed.


  1. I think I avoided this book because it seemed like it might be a but young for me and it looks like I was right. Sometimes it's fun to read a light book, though.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. That's too bad! This sounds like a great friends book - it would've been better if they were all more mature, maybe if they all accepted they had mistreated each other.

    What I like about this book is the band they're following. The author has a playlist and all this great stuff about the band. I like that there was a companion site for this one.

    What New Adult books have you read and liked? I think I'd like them too. The one book I'd love to read is Keary Taylor's What I Didn't Say. It's about a boy who's in an accident, he gets impaled through his throat and then he can't talk. And that's when he starts to tell everyone what he hasn't had the courage to say before. There's a good romance too:)

    1. I've seen that the author has all sorts of stuff about Level 3 up on her site, but I haven't checked it out yet - I'll have to, soon, though :)

      A few new adult books I've read and liked are Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, Bunheads by Sophie Flack, the last book in the Summer series by Jenny Han, and Love Story by Jennifer Echols (I didn't love everything about that one, but I did like the new-adult-ishness of it :p). And then there's some that are set the summer after high school, where I'm not sure whether they count as new adult... anyways, some of those are Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, and Stay by Deb Caletti :)

    2. Oh, and about What I Didn't Say - it's on my wishlist! It sounds great :)

    3. I really liked Love Story! I like how both of them were really flawed with their own issues. I still love Going Too Far much more - and in a way isn't that kinda New Adult? I mean, he graduated and was working, she was about to graduate.

      All the other New Adults you mention have gotten awesome reviews - I read a bit of Stay by Deb Caletti and the writing is so touching, from page 1.

      You know what other book I loved? Grave Mercy. It's historical YA with a bit of paranormal, but it's more New Adult. The main character is 17, but at that time in the 1400s or 1500s I think, she wasn't considered a teen at all. And it was so well written and so well plotted - the characters were amazing. And although it's a series, each book is about a different character, which I really like. The romance in this one was a slow-burn, which I really liked:)

    4. You know what I find frustrating? Apparently although lots of people like New Adult, bookstores don't sell many because they don't know how to shelf it or market it. I don't understand? Just label the shelf New Adult!!

      Flat-Out Love is New Adult (I had to tell you!! Sorry! Totally no pressure!! But read it;)

    5. Another New Adult you MUST read is Callum and Harper by Fisher Amelie and then the companion novel Thomas and January.

      Callum and Harper is about two teens in high school who turn 18, but because they're in foster care they're basically homeless because the families who fostered them didn't get government checks anymore so they're on their own. I think you'll really like it because of the characters and plot.

    6. I liked Love Story, too, but I didn't love it as much as Going Too Far, which is why I ended up disappointed. Going Too Far is kind of new-adult-ish, but I don't think it'd count, technically, because the MC is still in high school.

      Yeah, most of the big publishers don't want to publish new adult, sadly. The YA acquiring editors won't buy it because they think it won't sell well as YA, since it's too "old," and the adult acquiring editors won't buy lots of it because it's too "young" for regular adult. Well, that's what I've heard, at least. It sucks.

      Callum and Harper sounds awesome! Adding it to my wishlist :)

      Yeah, yeah, Flat-Out Love... Someday...

      Why are you tempting me to read all these non-contemporaries!? :p I might read Grave Mercy and Anna Dressed in Blood at some point, but I can't promise anything, since I know I don't often like non-contemps.

    7. There are some awesome contemporaries out - and I think there's a wave of New Adult coming out, which is great!

      Trish Doller's like you said and a lot of self-published ones which are excellent quality but not picked up by publishers as you say.

      Abbi Glines also writes New Adult - have you read anything by her? Lots of people love her work:)

    8. I have not read any of Abbi Glines's books, but they're on my wishlist! I haven't really read any of those new adult self-published books, cause they're hard to buy here. Most self-pubbing authors use Amazon's program to self-publish, so I can't buy them from anywhere but Amazon, and the German Amazon rarely has them. I'll buy and read a lot of them once I move to the US, though :)

  3. This sounds disappointing:( When I read the synopsis, my first thought was "Um, clichéd characters much?" and it's too bad that was the case. This seems like a really fun book, but I doubt I would like it very much. It's great that you were able to find some elements to enjoy, though. This might be great as a MG novel, if the author could have somehow gotten around the fact that 11-year-olds can't drive. Haha.

    1. Haha, yes! I think the tone would have worked really well with 11-year-olds. But the not-driving thing would have been problematic :p And I don't think 11-year-olds could have a past of fangirling, since they'd just be getting in the fangirly stage :p

  4. Arr. I hate when book has amazing potential but author just.... Screwed it up. Anyway we feel pretty similar about young adult/new adult books! :D

  5. I was looking forward to reading REUNITED, but now maybe not. I hate it when I have such expectations then.............

  6. Ahhh, what a shame that you didn't like it so much! The concept sounds like a nice fluffy read indeed, but I hate it when characters don't develop.. So I think I'll leave this one. Thanks for your honesty!


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