by Kayla Olson
Released on January 17th, 2023
Published by Atria Books
Adult Fiction—Contemporary, Romance
When two former teen stars reconnect at the reunion for their hit TV show, they discover their feelings for one another were not merely scripted in this charming and heartwarming novel perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.
Liv Latimer grew up on TV.
As the star of the popular teen drama Girl on the Verge, Liv spent her adolescence on the screen trying to be as picture perfect as her character in real life. But after the death of her father and the betrayal of her on-screen love interest and off-screen best friend Ransom Joel, Liv wanted nothing more than to retreat, living a mostly normal life aside from a few indie film roles. But now, twenty years after the show’s premiere, the cast is invited back for a reunion special, financed by a major streaming service.
Liv is happy to be back on set, especially once she discovers Ransom has only improved with age. And their chemistry is certainly still intact. They quickly fall into their old rhythms, rediscovering what had drawn them together decades before. But with new rivalries among the cast emerging and the specter of a reboot shadowing their shoot, Liv questions whether returning to the past is what she needs to finally get her own happy ending.
Content Warning(s): Death of a parent, Infidelity (Minor), Recounting of Car Accident
Disclaimer: I was provided a physical galley by the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. This does not affect my opinion.
The Reunion is a heart-tugging, contemporary romance complete with characters that will have you feeling an array of different emotions throughout reading.
I hold a lot of mixed feelings with The Reunion. One one hand, I adored the story, the characters, the plot direction, etc.! On the other, I did find some pet peeves that I, unfortunately, could not look past and that did make my reading experience a bit difficult.
Kayla Olson crafted a great story. An easy-going romcom with not much steam, more so on the sweet side, you cannot help but find yourself enjoying it for the direction of the plot! If you are not a fan of the miscommunication trope, I would not recommend this specific title for you, as this book depends greatly on it. But even with the miscommunication, it was fun to read and watch as everything took place. There were several twists to the story that were hard to predict, which was all the more exciting.
Though with the praise for the plot direction, does come the criticism for the pacing. As most know, I tend to be more unfavored to slower-paced books, and unfortunately, this was one of them. About three chapters in, it was fairly obvious to tell that this story would be incredibly slow-burn. That is not to say that it is a bad thing, but in this case, I do feel that the story would have been better off with a faster tempo. It dragged in certain parts and made it hard to read in others. What I enjoyed in the plot was slowly being seeped away because of the pacing, and that overshadowing of that signified my opinion on it.
Moving forward, I did enjoy the characters a lot. Liv Latimer is our main protagonist, and she is a seemingly quiet one at that. Her dialogue and decisions came across low-toned, which is an unexpected but not unwelcome change from other books and characters. Where Liv started at the beginning of the story was a trickier predicament. She was unsure of returning, unsure of going forward; but by the end of the book, she had become a bit more confident and more assured in herself and her direction of decisions, something I really enjoyed seeing take place and welcomed wholeheartedly.
When it came to the side characters, I felt the same. Ransom was a cinammon roll of a love interest, and I thoroughly liked seeing as he also delved into past and present decisions he made and the way he felt either unheard, unseen, or ignored in the sense of his life, wants and needs. As for Bre, Ford, Sasha-Kate, and Millie, I wish we had gotten a bit more out of them! There is a lot of potential there, with all of their characters, to create spin-offs centering them, in this universe, and I do hope that that option will be explored in the future (though, I will obviously not hold my breath for that because it is up to solely Olson to make that decision).
All in all, while I had my lip-pinches at certain parts, I did really like the story and found it as a comfort-read of sorts. For that, I give it a starred rating. I am happy to see more from Kayla Olson, and I look forward to whatever she might bring us in the future!
Kayla Olson is the author of two books for young adults and The Reunion. Whether writing at her desk or curled up with a good book, she can most often be found with a fresh cup of coffee and at least one cat. Find out more at KaylaOlson.com.