It had been a while since I had read and enjoyed a new (new to me) chick-lit author. I had tried a few different ones, but none of them seemed to stack up. Then, I was introduced to Sarah Pekkanen’s writing, and subsequently purchased all of her books. One down, three more to read! I’m excited!
In her fourth book, The Best of Us, Pekkanen explores the friendships of four college friends (three women and one man) who travel to Jamaica with their spouses on an all-expenses paid vacation to celebrate the birthday of one of their own.
Tina is married and struggling a bit with the task of raising four young children. Allie has just found out about a life-threatening illness that she may potentially end up with. Savannah’s husband moved out, leaving her for a nurse who works in his hospital – information that she has not shared with anyone. And then there’s Pauline, the wife of Dwight, who, in trying to make him happy, sets up the whole vacation for his birthday with his college friends. Pauline is cold and uninviting, but as we get deeper into the story, we learn that there is much more depth to Pauline, and a secret that she has been hiding for all of her life with Dwight.
Among the reunion of old college friends, the hours spent both on the beach and in the villa, and the non-stop partying, there are darker forces working as well. Secrets emerge (old and new) and each relationship (friendship and romantic) is tested. There is jealousy, betrayal, love and everything in between that you could think of that would emerge when old friends get together.
I had previously read her e-short stories and was really looking forward to seeing how she handled the task of writing something bigger. Given the number of main characters, I was a bit unsure if there would be enough depth to each of them to make them believable, but I was happy to find out that there was. I really enjoyed this book. It is a must read for anyone who likes chick lit, also for people who are fans of Emily Giffin, which I am as well (Pekkanen’s style has been compared to Giffin). The Best of Us is a tale of old friends and what happens to those friendships when you grow up and live separate lives.