cover image The Most Likely Club

The Most Likely Club

Elyssa Friedland. Berkley, $17 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-19974-9

In the delightful latest from Friedland (Last Summer at the Golden Hotel), four women celebrate their 25th high school reunion. Of the four, only Suki Hammer, whose school superlative was “Most Likely to Join the Forbes 400,” feels fulfilled. Melissa Levin, meanwhile, divorced her high school sweetheart and worries about her weight; Tara Taylor aspired to be a chef before she was sexually assaulted by a culinary celebrity; and Priya Chowdhury, a doctor, second-guesses her successes after overhearing her colleagues’ racist and sexist comments about her. A lot of the details are delivered in exposition, such as a magazine article that outlines how Suki manages to keep up a successful and happy life. Furthermore, a glut of 1990s references—Tara’s “Courtney Love” look, coveted Oakley sunglasses—eventually slips into overkill. Still, Friedland keeps up a steady supply of clever lines to convey the women’s mix of excitement and dread over the big event (“Like a migraine, the weekend of the reunion arrived without warning”). The author also does a good job with the heavier themes—in addition to the racism and sexism, there are nuanced accounts of Tara’s sexual assault and Melissa’s eating disorder. Overall, this strikes a fine balance between lighthearted and serious. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Sept.)