- Paperback: 332 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2016)
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.
But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.
Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.
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Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of five novels, including THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES, TIME OF MY LIFE, and THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST AND FOUND. Her sixth novel, IN TWENTY YEARS, will be released in June of 2016. In addition to fiction, she pens celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines, which justifies her pop culture obsession and occasionally lends to awesome Facebook status updates. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Connect with Allison
I have a ‘thing’ for reunion stories, and I really enjoyed the complex characters, and interwoven relationships in this particular reunion story, In Twenty Years.
Opening twenty years ago, at Penn, a group of friends are sharing a house and wondering what the future will bring. Twenty years later, the woman who was always the cohesive force of the group – Bea – is dead, and on what would have been her fortieth birthday, the rest of the group returns to the same house.
Secrets and lies abound. Relationships past and present are deconstructed and reconfigured, and at the center of it all is Bea’s driving force. She may be dead, but her presence is felt as the once-friends, now essentially strangers begin the truth-telling that must occur before forgiveness and forward movement can occur.
It’s interesting seeing what each of these people were, and what they each become – how life isn’t completely sweet for the college sweethearts Catherine and Owen, and how Lindy (a musician) and Colin (plastic surgeon) both have to daily confront both youth-culture and their own youthful wishes, wants, and indiscretions, and how Annie portrays a life online that is really nothing like the truth.
These people, depending on your age, could be your parents, your cousins, your younger/older siblings, or your contemporaries, but each of them feels supremely real, perfect in their imperfections, and relevant both to the story as a whole, and the world beyond the pages of any novel. We may not know these characters, but I’m betting everyone of us knows someone like them, or is someone like them.
Allison Winn Scotch does a great job of making twenty-somethings sound young but not stupid, and making forty-somethings sound age appropriate as well. The voices of the characters mature but remain identifiable. I appreciated that nuance.
This is a novel that entertains, yes, but it also makes you think – about who you were, and who you are, about regret and forgiveness, and, ultimately, about the choices each of us makes every time we must face a hard truth. Brilliant writing. Great characters. Read this book.
Goes well with a watermelon, arugula and feta salad, with iced tea – or Mexican take-out and cheap local beer… depending on your age.
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