In Twenty Years (★★★★☆)

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Allison Winn Scotch   *   July 1, 2016   *   Lake Union Publishing   *   332 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided by Lake Union Publishing through Net Galley.

Twenty years ago, there were six of them:  Annie, Lindy, Catherine, Owen, Colin, and Bea. When they graduated from Penn State, they were hopeful about their futures and determined to remain connected. But after several disastrous get togethers, and then especially after Bea’s shocking death seven years after graduation, the remaining five have grown apart.

Flash forward 20 years, just weeks before what would have been Bea’s 40th birthday, and the five friends receive a cryptic message from Bea’s former lawyer, asking them to gather at their old house near campus to receive one last package from Bea. Though none of them is particularly looking forward to seeing the others, they all meet at the house and spend the next several days confronting past hurts, confessing long-buried feelings, and making amends for, well, a whole lot of crazy drama.

This book is longer than it needs to be, but it is still so very readable. I liked the story and enjoyed the characters. I was actually pleasantly surprised at many of the relationship dynamics in here (for example, between Lindy and Annie, and even between Annie and Colin). I couldn’t predict exactly where certain storylines were going, and I always appreciate when an author can surprise me.

My only real complaint is that the characters were sometimes cliche. Lindy is such the chaotic rock star. Catherine is the anal retentive Martha Stewart. Annie is the unhappy and fragile housewife (very Charlotte from Sex in the City). And worst of all is Bea who comes across like The Oracle in The Matrix. She’s the all-knowing Oprah of the group who is ever patient, ever kind, and always wise beyond her years. Bleh. Luckily, the men–well, at least Colin and Owen–are portrayed more realistically, but they still don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.

So yeah. I liked this book. It’s mostly light, sometimes funny, and even offers a bit of insight every once in a while. It could have been edited down, but I didn’t mind giving it some extra time.

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