Saturday, February 13, 2010

Reunion, (PS Publishing), by Rick Hautala

“Reunion” is a bittersweet coming of age tale that strikes just the right notes. Though it vibrates with the melancholic truth that childhood eventually ends and that everyone changes – even beloved friends – it still holds out the hope that we can change our lives for the better...if we really want to.

It's the end of August and thirteen year old Jackie and his best friend Chris have embarked upon one last camping trip. Summer is ending, and also – the coming Fall brings Jackie and Chris to junior high, a strange new world full of different rules and expectations. Though Chris is fully alive in the moment, focused on this last night of freedom, the future weighs heavily on Jackie. He can't shake the feeling that things are changing, that he and Chris are growing apart. He wonders if perhaps tonight, of all nights, they should stay in their tent and away from mischief.

Chris is determined, however. An old high school class is celebrating their fortieth reunion at a local country club in town. The plan: sneak into town, haunt the party and see what goods are left unattended for the picking. Jackie's feeling of foreboding swells, however. Something waits for them across the bridge into town, a turn of destiny that will bring into full effect this change he fears so desperately. Is this shadowy warning enough for Jackie to save both him and Chris? Or are they destined to be victims of fate, caught in the uncaring, grinding wheels of time?

It's hard to find the right balance between too depressing and too contrived, but Hautala does it well here. His rich narrative voice gives substance to the very adult fear of leaving the best days behind us, but he doesn't inspire hopelessness, rather a determination – however resigned – to push forward. Also, the plotting of “Reunion” is neat and tight, clever also. As a side note, like all PS Publishing titles, “Reunion” is a thing of beauty, featuring jacket art by Tomislav Tikulin.

Visit and Buy it today.

No comments: