Reunion: A Novel (Hardcover)

Reunion: A Novel By Elise Juska Cover Image
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“Masterful storytelling and memorable characters. . . . Elise Juska's best book yet.”Liz Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Long Bright River and The God of the Woods

“I loved this story about the importance of long friendships. . . . A perfectly crafted page-turner.” -Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes and The Half Moon

From the beloved author of the “uniquely poignant” (Entertainment Weekly) novel The Blessings comes a gripping story about three friends in their forties forced to reckon with their lives during a college reunion in coastal Maine.

It’s June 2021, and three old college friends are heading to New England and the twenty-fifth reunion that was delayed the year before. Hope, a stay-at-home mom, is desperate for a return to her beloved campus, a reprieve from her tense marriage, and the stresses of pandemic parenting. Adam is hesitant to leave his bucolic but secluded life with his wife and their young sons. Single mother Polly hasn’t been back to campus in more than twenty years and has no interest in returning—but changes her mind when her struggling teenage son suggests a road trip.

But the reunion isn’t what any of them had envisioned. Hope, always upbeat, is no longer able to downplay the pressures of life at home or the cracks in her longstanding friendships. Adam finds himself energized by the memory of his carefree, reckless younger self—which only reminds him how much has changed since those halcyon days. Polly cannot ignore the ghosts of her college years, including a closely guarded secret. When the weekend takes a startling turn, all three find themselves reckoning with the past—and how it will bear on the future.

Beautifully observed and insightful, Reunion is a page-turning novel about the highs and lows of friendship from a writer at the height of her powers.

About the Author

Elise Juska’s previous novels include If We Had Known and The Blessings. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, the Hudson Review, Electric Literature, and other outlets. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares, and her work has been cited by the Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She lives with her family outside Philadelphia, where she is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Arts.

Praise For…

"A pitch-perfect depiction of New England campus culture, COVID-era child-rearing and how the complexities of adulthood accumulate." — People, "The Best Books to Read in May"

“An engaging story. . . . as cozy as a rainy summer weekend in midcoast Maine. . . . so true to life.”
New York Times Book Review

"A beautiful excavation of a liminal time period that united the world in collective vulnerability. . . . Juska has a talent for deeply immersive details and rich character development. Reunion pulls the reader in, as if we too were returning to Walthrop and assessing the state of our life.” — Chicago Review of Books

“Three former classmates, one 25th college reunion and a lingering pandemic later, Juska’s third novel makes its own contribution—a solid, thoughtful and wryly funny one—to the annals of friendship literature . . . . This nostalgic, realistic novel squarely hits the mark.” — New York Times, Editors' Choice

“A master of the whip-smart character-driven drama.” — Philadelphia Magazine

“[Juska] totally captured what it feels like to go to your twenty-fifth. . . . I’m emotional about this book. . . . it got me.” — News Center Maine

"Masterful and surprising." — The Philadelphia Citizen

"If a novel is about people approaching fifty, can it still be called a coming-of-age story? After reading Elise Juska’s Reunion, I would argue that it can. I loved this story about the importance of long friendships, especially when life gets difficult in ways we can't imagine when we are young. This is a perfectly crafted page-turner of a novel, full of warmth and wisdom." — Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes and The Half Moon

"REUNION had me hooked from its perfectly tense opening, and kept me enthralled throughout with its masterful storytelling and memorable characters. This is Elise Juska's best book yet." — Liz Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Long Bright River

“In this elegantly rendered novel about a long-awaited reunion that doesn’t go as planned, Elise Juska deftly and grippingly explores the richness and complexities of longtime friendships, the anxiety of living in a world that feels perpetually on edge, and the possibilities of community and connection that still somehow remain.” — Lynn Steger Strong, author of Flight and Want

“REUNION is a masterful portrayal of the experience of being a parent and human being in a world that seems to be tipping toward the end times. Relatable and riveting.” — Chip Cheek, author of Cape May

“In the appealing latest from Juska (after If We Had Known), three friends attend their 25th college reunion in Maine. . . . Hijinks ensue as the Natty Light flows freely, and long-held secrets work their way to the surface. . . . the characters are well drawn, and Juska does an especially good job of portraying how her cast navigates a new normal. It’s a diverting twist on the Big Chill.”  — Publishers Weekly

"Fans of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine, Hannah McKinnon's The View From Here, and Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You will enjoy Juska's blend of introspection and intrigue. Warm and witty, Reunion makes a delightful case for reconnecting with the people who knew you when you barely knew yourself." — Booklist

“REUNION begins with three deftly drawn protagonists reckoning with the past and present in early midlife, and opens out into an interrogation of the future and what it means to be young now. Juska's masterful ending is as startling as it is moving and true.” — Kate Christensen, author of Welcome Home, Stranger

"In Elise Juska’s insightful and elegant new novel, three college friends return to the campus they left decades before and are forced to face the hard truth of how their lives have turned out. A beautifully written and skillfully woven tale of what-ifs and what-might-have-beens–I loved it.” — Daisy Alpert Florin, author of My Last Innocent Year

“Elise Juska’s Reunion is such a wildly vivid snapshot of midlife that you may feel like you're reading your own diary. How wise and deeply humane and tender is this beautifully written story of three old friends who reconnect at a college reunion on the coast of Maine, how laser sharp the dialogue. The subtle knowingness and crystallized moments of connection and longing between mothers and sons, and husbands and wives, and women friends will stop you in your tracks.” — Susan Conley, author of Landslide

“Poignant and humane, Reunion is a campus novel alive to the ways that personality and privilege intertwine to shape an education and a life. Suspenseful, surprising, and moving all the way through." — Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back

“A deftly written page-turner that kept me up way beyond my bedtime for several days to find out what would happen to Juska's characters. So relatably human and touching, this novel had me riveted until the very last sentence.”  — Caitlin Shetterly, author of Pete and Alice in Maine

“A vivid, engrossing read. . . . The idyllic beauty of a Maine college campus is the perfect backdrop for Juska’s characters to reconnect with each other and with who they were in another era, to attempt to distance themselves from the secrets and struggles of the lives they’ve left behind, and to feel both the comfort and the pain of nostalgia.” — Katie Runde, author of The Shore

"Elise Juska is so good at describing people, places, and moments that you not only picture them, you feel them."
Curtis Sittenfeld

Praise for The Blessings: "There's no shortage of novels about the quirks and tragedies of large families, but The Blessings is a uniquely poignant, prismatic look at an Irish-Catholic clan as it rallies after losing one of its own." — Entertainment Weekly

"A bighearted novel. . . . Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family gleams like a jewel." — The Philadelphia Inquirer

"In the tradition of Elizabeth Berg's and Alice McDermott's work, The Blessings is a knowing portrait of a sprawling Irish-American family in Philly across the last thirty years, in all their shared strength and separate weaknesses. Elise Juska is deft and tender, letting us get close to her characters in their most vulnerable moments. The ties that bind are never simple, and often painful, but as one daughter acknowledges, 'these are the hidden intimacies, the private exchanges, on which she builds her life.'" — Stewart O'Nan

"Several generations of the Blessings, a Philadelphia-based, Irish-American family, come beautifully to life in a deceptively simple tale that examines the foibles, disappointments and passions that tie family members together. . . The author brings a depth of understanding to the human condition. . . . the reader leaves feeling lucky to have spent some time in their presence."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Juska's compelling narrative tackles complex issues about society's judgment of and responsibility for others."
Shelf Awareness

Praise for If We Had Known: "A tender, whip-smart meditation on the origins and aftermath of tragedy. Here Juska asks us an important and quietly devastating question: In what ways are we responsible to and for each other?"
Carmen Maria Machado, author of the National Book Award Finalist Her Body and Other Parties

"What a gripping and wise book this is."
Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063346765
ISBN-10: 0063346761
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English