In your yearbook, this novel would be nominated for Most Likely to Warm Your Heart and Give You Major Nostalgia.
Good to know
In 1997, grunge is king, Titanic is a blockbuster (and Blockbuster still exists), and Thursday nights are for Friends. In Bellport, Connecticut, four best friends and high school seniors are ready to light the world on fire. Melissa Levin, Priya Chowdury, Tara Taylor, and Suki Hammer are going places. Their yearbook superlatives confirm it: Most Likely to Win the White House, Cure Cancer, Open a Michelin-Starred Restaurant, and Join the Forbes 400.
Fast forward twenty-five years and nothing has gone according to plan as the women regroup at their dreaded high school reunion. When a forgotten classmate emerges at the reunion with a surprising announcement, the friends dig out the yearbook and rethink their younger selves. Is it too late to make their dreams come true? Fueled by nostalgia and one too many drinks, they form a pact to push through their middle-aged angst to bring their teenage aspirations to fruition, dubbing themselves the “Most Likely Girls.”
Through the ensuing highs and lows, they are reminded of the enduring bonds of friendship, the ways our childhood dreams both sustain and surprise us—and why it’s deeply uncool to peak in high school.
The Most Likely Club
The smart-but-social table in the lunchroom was in the back corner, underneath a row of wall-mounted pennants boasting victories in swimming, wrestling, and football, and kitty-corner from the hot-and-popular table, which was next to the cafeteria line. This ensured the jocks, and those lucky enough to orbit them, got first dibs on the sloppy joes and hash browns. Scattered in between were the artsy types, the nerds, the Phishheads, the goths, and the milquetoasts who defied classification.
Melissa Levin, Suki Hammer, Priya Chowdhury, and Tara Taylor had taken over the smart-but-social table during their sophomore year, inheriting it from students who’d graduated the year before. Bellport Academy, the tiny private school in their posh hamlet in Connecticut, had the usual Anytown, USA, teenage groupings. If the social cliques were any more stratified, it would be a pyramid scheme. Melissa, Suki, Priya, and Tara had been best friends since the eighth grade—a convenient time to fortify a social circle, or square, as in their case. They had agreed that upon entering high school they wouldn’t attempt to penetrate the popular crowd, but they wouldn’t fall in with the geeks, either. They’d occupy the precious space of honor roll students who still get invited to parties.
Their plan worked. The four of them stuck together, earning high marks—Priya always on top—and carrying enough social currency that the jocks and cheerleaders knew their names and the nerds knew better than to ask them to study. And now they were seniors. Graduation was only a month away. Today was the day they’d been dreading, anticipating, imagining, and stressing over all at once.
It was yearbook day.
Why I love it
Author, The Woman with the Blue Star
Elyssa Friedland has a unique ability to get inside women’s lives and minds and bring us with her so that we can vividly experience their friendships, career aspirations, romantic relationships, family dynamics, and parenting journeys. This is why I have been a longtime fan of her work.
In her latest book, The Most Likely Club, all of her authorial gifts are on display. Here we meet four old high school friends, Melissa, Priya, Tara, and Suki, who face their upcoming class reunion and the yearbook superlatives that captured their hopes and wishes. The women find themselves reflecting on aspirations not realized. They ask themselves whether those are still their dreams as they navigate the modern-day demands of being a spouse, parent, daughter, sister, and friend. And they must do so as secrets of the past emerge and risk upending their lives.
The Most Likely Club is an entertaining and thought-provoking book, with themes of second chances and the road not taken. You will laugh and root for these women while reflecting on your own challenges, choices, and aspirations not-yet-realized. You will see yourself in one (or more!) of these women and their stories will inspire you in your own journey. This is a book for you, your mom, your best friend, and your book club to savor.
Member ratings (4,170)
Great characters! Resonated since I’m about the same age & have 3 close friends from hs. Fun to think about it not being too late to change things in your life! Love the positivity & friendships ❤️
Mountain Ranch , CA
I could not put this book down. As someone who just passed the 20 year HS reunion mark, this book felt so relatable. What happens to all those big dreams and why not go after them? Perfect summer read
A sweet book about friendship and growing up. I really enjoyed it, though I truly disliked the character of Suki and wish she wouldn’t have turned. The other 3 were adorable, real, and fun to read.
Mount Rainier, MD
Super fun and lighthearted, while shining a light on the societal inconsistencies that remain for women in basically every area of life. It also will quench your thirst for all things 90s nostalgia.
I really enjoyed this book! I liked reading the perspectives of the different friends. Life now definitely isn’t what we thought it would be as high schoolers, but that isn’t always a bad thing!