1 concert. 2,000 miles. 3 ex-best friends. Can a road trip restore harmony?
Alice, Summer, and Tiernan used to be best friends—as well as the self-proclaimed biggest fans of the band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship.
Now, four years later, they’ve just graduated from high school. When Level3 announces a one-time reunion show in Texas, Alice impulsively buys tickets and invites her two former friends along for the trip. Reluctant at first, both girls agree to go, each with her own ulterior motive. But old resentments and other roadblocks—from unintended detours to lost concert tickets—keep getting in the girls’ way. Will their friendship get an encore, or is the show really over?
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||12 Years|
About the Author
Hilary Weisman Graham is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter. Reunited is her first novel. She lives in rural New Hampshire with her husband and son, roughly thirty minutes away from the nearest grocery store. Visit her at HilaryGraham.com.
Read an Excerpt
“IS THE BLINDFOLD REALLY NECESSARY?” ALICE ASKED HER PARENTS.
“Yes!” they replied, in stereo.
Her mom tightened the bandanna around her head while her dad squeezed her shoulders. “March!” he commanded, steering her down the hall.
Alice tried not to get her hopes up about this mysterious graduation present—the Chia Pet they’d given her for her eighteenth birthday was still too fresh in her mind—but with all this hype, it was hard not to get a little excited. Especially if her parents remembered to consult the list of gift ideas she’d given them, typed up and organized by price. For a one-time event like high school graduation, Alice was hoping they’d spring for something from Category Two (iPad, camera, golden retriever) or maybe even Category One (laptop). After what happened yesterday, she could really use a good surprise.
“No peeking!” said her dad, guiding her through the living room and out the front door. Her mom made a drumroll sound with her lips, just in case the neighbors weren’t already staring. The Miller family had a reputation as the neighborhood oddballs. Nothing too crazy, if you didn’t count the garden gnome incident. But Alice was pretty sure that in all of white-bread Walford, Massachusetts, hers was the only house with a pea-green 1976 VW camper van up on blocks in the backyard.
“Okay,” said her dad, “you may remove the blindfold.”
It wasn’t in the backyard anymore. The Pea Pod, as the van was affectionately known, was right there in her driveway. It looked shinier than she remembered, as if a clear coat of nail polish had been painted over a craggy old toenail.
“We fixed it up for you!” her mom announced, waving her arms like one of those ladies from The Price Is Right. “Completely restored, good as new.”
“It’s got new brakes, a new muffler, and a new paint job!” her dad said proudly. “We wouldn’t let you and MJ drive crosscountry if this baby wasn’t safe.”
Alice blinked a few times, adjusting to the bright summer sun and the shock of her disappointment. She still hadn’t told her parents the bombshell that MJ had dropped on her yesterday. She was afraid if she said it out loud, she might have to accept it herself.
“My road trip with MJ,” Alice began, tears welling in her eyes, “got canceled.”
“Why?” asked her dad.
“Because Mrs. Ling is making her go to China all summer long,” Alice stammered. She hated to cry in front of them. She hated anything that threatened her image as the Confident Girl Who Had It All Together.
“But you girls have been planning this trip for two years,” said her mom.
“Exactly,” Alice whined. She caught her reflection in the van’s windshield, confirming that she looked as pathetic as she felt. Mascara—the only makeup she ever wore—was running down her cheeks, her long brown curls a frizzy fiasco, thanks to the blindfold.
Her dad wrapped her up in his arms. “Poor kid, you’re not having much luck these days, are you?” Understatement of the year. Her best friend was on a plane over the Pacific instead of getting ready for their last big precollege hurrah. Not that Alice actually knew which college she’d be going to. She’d applied to Brown early decision and they’d put her on the wait list. Hello, admissions people, it’s the end of June . . .
Her dad finally released her from the hug. “Well, like the great John Lennon once said, ‘Life’s what happens while you’re making other plans.’”
“And that’s supposed to be a good thing?” Alice asked. She wanted to believe that everything happened for a reason, that her canceled road trip and being wait listed by Brown were all part of the universe’s grand scheme. But sometimes she wondered if destiny was just something people believed in to make themselves feel better when they didn’t get their way.
“You know,” said her mom, “there was a time when we couldn’t get you out of the Pea Pod.”
Yeah, thought Alice, when I was twelve. Back in middle school, when Summer Dalton and Tiernan O’Leary were still her best friends, the Pea Pod had been their clubhouse. “Three peas in a Pea Pod,” her mom used to say. Alice always acted like the nickname embarrassed her, but secretly she’d liked it.
“Why don’t we go give her a whirl?” asked her dad. “It might take your mind off things.”
“That’s a great idea!” said her mom. “It’s a beautiful day for a drive.”
Can’t I just wallow in self-pity for one minute? Alice wondered. Then she looked at her parents. Her dad was buffing the van with his T-shirt. Her mom held the digital camera in her hand.
“Fine,” she said, tugging on the van’s sliding door. After avoiding the Pea Pod for the last four years, she had to admit, she was a little curious. Had they reupholstered the orange-and-green plaid seat cushions? Ripped down the limited edition Level3 poster signed by all three members of the band?
They hadn’t. The inside of the Pea Pod looked exactly the same as she remembered it. Level3 memorabilia was still plastered on the walls—song lyrics written on heart-shaped pieces of paper, faded pinups of the boys ripped from the pages of Rolling Stone, glossy eight-by-tens covered with sloppy Magic Marker signatures. It was just like the sign taped to the dashboard said: LEVEL3 SUPER-FAN HEADQUARTERS.
“We didn’t want to mess with your stuff,” said her dad.
Of course, he was living in the past, as usual. Level3 wasn’t even a band anymore. They broke up the beginning of her freshman year, right before Alice, Summer, and Tiernan did. But back when they were together—when everything was still together—Alice and her friends had been diehard fans. Two all-ages shows at the Middle East, six at Boston Garden, three at the Orpheum, four at the Worcester DCU Center, and one at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, which resulted in their parents making a collective rule about not driving the girls to a concert more than fifty miles from home.
Alice couldn’t help but smile as she took in the display of old collages. When they were young, Alice, Summer, and Tiernan were practically as obsessed with making Level3 collages as they had been with the band. These weren’t ordinary collages, like the kind they used to make in their seventh-grade health class on the dangers of cigarettes. The Level3 collages were art (or at least they aspired toward it). Their final masterpiece consisted of hundreds of tiny cutouts of the boys in Level3, assembled into the shape of an eye. At the center—the pupil—was a photo of Alice, Summer, and Tiernan, age twelve, arms slung around each other, smiling.
“Why don’t I start her up, and you can watch how I drive her for a while? The gear shift takes a little practice so—”
“I know how to drive, Dad.”
“Not so fast. There’s an art to driving the Pea Pod.”
Alice rolled her eyes and flopped down on the bench seat in back, buckling herself in for the trip down memory lane. She’d been sitting right here the first time she’d listened to Level3. They were just eleven when Tiernan showed up with the CD her older brother burned for her—“Level3” scrawled in black marker across the front. It took Alice a few songs to get into it; the music was so different than the sugary Disney pop she was used to. Then something clicked and she started to really listen—not just with her ears, but with her whole body. It was an intense feeling, like she was hearing music for the first time. Like Level3’s songs expressed all the things she felt but didn’t have the words for. By the end of the album, she was hooked. They all were.
And that was before they found out that the boys in the band were cute. Alice liked Ryan because he played the bass with his back to the audience, and she had a thing for shy guys. Tiernan had a crush on Luke, poster child for crazy drummers everywhere. And Summer liked Travis, the lead singer-slash-guitarist-slash-total hottie.
Quickly, the Pea Pod morphed into a Level3 shrine. And like all worshippers, the girls had their rituals.
Step One: Crank up a Level3 tune and dance like crazed animals.
Step Two: Snack break in Alice’s kitchen; check fan blogs, official band website.
Step Three: Back to the Pea Pod to discuss fantasies of meeting Level3 boys in real life, possible planning session about triple wedding in Vegas.
Step Four: Put on a sad song, light some candles, lie down on the floor with eyes shut.
“Honey, are you coming?” her dad asked, snapping her out of her reverie.
“Sure, Dad, sure,” Alice said, noticing that he’d actually pulled over and moved himself into the passenger’s seat. It was funny: Alice thought she’d never step foot inside the Pea Pod again after the three little peas turned into split-pea soup, and now here she was, about to drive it.
“Now the clutch is finicky, so you have to push it all the way to the floor . . .”
Alice nodded patiently as her dad shouted commands all the way around the neighborhood loop. Twice. But by the third pass, even he had to admit she was Pea Pod proficient. So, she figured it was time for some tunes.
“What’s the deal with this thing?” Alice asked, turning on the radio. “You and mom couldn’t shell out for a new sound system?” She punched the preset buttons one by one. Nothing but static.
“Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road!” her dad yelled, noticing one of Alice’s hands was missing from his mandatory nine-and-three o’clock arrangement.
“Dad, calm down.” Alice kept her hand on the tuner. She scrolled past a Spanish talk radio show, then up through a long, staticky no-man’s-land. She was about to lose all hope when she finally stumbled on a signal. The familiar song rang out loud and clear.
THE THINGS WE WISHED WE DIDN’T SAY
WE WENT AND SAID THEM ANYWAY
NO SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY
THAT’S THE WAY IT WAS
Of course, it was Level3. Who else could it be? Being in the Pea Pod had somehow channeled their music into existence.
“Hang a right,” her dad said, pointing to the street up ahead.
Alice might have laughed out loud at the coincidence if it wasn’t the one Level3 song that always made her cringe. Back before that disastrous night at the freshman winter dance, “Heyday” used to be one of her favorites. Now it just brought back ugly memories.
IT’S A ROAD I CAN’T GO DOWN AGAIN
A STREET CALLED I REMEMBER WHEN
IF WE COULD DO IT ALL AGAIN, WE WOULD
WE WOULD . . .
Alice took the turn a little too fast. At the same exact moment, the song changed into its thumping chorus.
IT WAS OUR HEYDAY, HEY DAY, HEY!
OUR HEYDAY, HEY DAY, HEY!
“Slow down!” her dad yelled as Alice jerked the wheel seconds before hitting a mailbox. She stomped on the brakes as the Pea Pod lurched forward with a loud grinding noise, then immediately stalled out.
WHY DID WE REFUSE TO STAY, ANYWAY?
Her dad drove the rest of the way home. By the time he pulled into the driveway, Alice practically leaped out of the van while it was still in motion. Clearly the universe was trying to send her a message. First, there was the canceled road trip, then her “gift” of the Pea Pod, and now “Heyday.”
She hurried inside to the den, desperate to soothe herself with some junk food and mindless TV. That’s when she saw it: the photo of Level3, right there on the TV screen. And unless the van had somehow transported her back in time—which she was pretty sure it hadn’t—she had no choice but to believe that the image was real. It had to be real; the old guy from MTV News was talking about it. She hit the TiVo rewind button three times just to make sure she’d heard Kurt Loder (that was his name!) correctly.
“Level3, the pop-rock trio that broke up at the height of their success nearly four years ago, has announced they will be getting back together for a one-night-only benefit concert next Friday in their hometown of Austin, Texas. Tickets go on sale at noon and are expected to sell out within minutes. According to lead singer Travis Wyland, ‘A reunion show is the fastest and most effective way to raise money for a cause we all firmly believe in and which has affected my family personally: finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.’ The band has denied rumors they will be permanently getting back together.”
Alice shoved a handful of Doritos in her mouth and crunched them up without even tasting them. How could one day be this crazy? And yet, it was how everything had always been with her old favorite band—meant to be. Tiernan used to have a Yiddish word for all the coincidences between Level3 and the girls. Beshert. And when something was beshert, you didn’t tune it out. When something was beshert, you went with it. It was all you could do.
It was 11:56 a.m. Four minutes from now, the ticket website would be a feeding frenzy. Alice ran to her bedroom and turned on her computer, the thrill of a new plan formulating as the screen tingled to life. So what if Austin, Texas, was two thousand miles away from Walford, Massachusetts? Or that tickets started at two hundred dollars apiece? Alice was going. They were going. How could they not? Especially now that they had the Pea Pod to get them there. But how could she justify spending six hundred dollars on tickets without even knowing if her old friends would agree to go along with her?
She and Tiernan were at least civil to each other. But Summer would pass by in the halls and barely make eye contact. Still, this was Level3, and however Summer and Tiernan felt about her now could never take away the fact that they’d once considered themselves the band’s biggest fans. And what was the worst-case scenario? If Summer and Tiernan said no, she’d just sell the tickets on eBay.
Alice rifled through her desk drawer for the credit card she’d borrowed from her mom two months ago and “accidentally” forgotten to give back. Whoops. After a few clicks of the mouse, she was on the ticket site. A photo of the band appeared above the words, “Reunited—for one night only!”
She carefully typed in the numbers on her mom’s Visa. At the bottom of the screen, an ominous line of text read: “By clicking continue, you agree that your credit card will be charged and your nonrefundable ticket(s) will be processed.” If she didn’t buy the tickets now, there’d be no other chance.
Well, Alice thought to herself as she clicked the button, if you guys can get back together for a one-time reunion, why can’t we?
Now she just needed to convince her ex–best friends to join her.
What People are Saying About This
"Like most road trips, nothing goes as planned and, mixing it with three ex-best friends, it turns into an adventure worth reading."SLJ
“Filmmaker Graham writes a road-trip tale that will entertain readers with its ridiculous circumstances and charismatic leading ladies. By turns silly, funny, a little moving, and unpredictable, this showcases Graham’s ability to capture an audience…Graham never drifts from the light, laughable wackiness of this wild trip. The trio offer a brilliant spectrum of experiences and differences, and teen readers will enjoy seeing this concoction of people and events head across the country.”
Reading Group Guide
Chapter Discussion Questions for
By Hilary Weisman Graham
1. Alice says she buys the concert tickets because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime reunion concert, but what do you think her real reasons are? Describe.
1. Summer thinks that she “never understood what made her and her friends so ‘popular’ anyway, considering half the school hated them”. Is this true in your school? Why or why not?
2. Summer also wonders why her parents "could barely wrap their heads around the fact that she wasn’t going to school with all her friends at UMass Walford. But Summer couldn’t wait to go to Boston College in the fall”. Do you find something like this hard to believe? Why or why not?
1. You’ve now met the three main characters. Each has his or her own unique personality. Describe each character and how they differ. Then describe how they are alike.
1. Tiernan just leaves a note for her mom before leaving. What does this say about Tiernan? Share your views.
2. Tiernan looks at the trip as running away. Do you think that’s what she’s doing? Why or why not? What about the other girls? What could they be running from? Explain.
3. If you were running away, where would you go? Who or what would you take with you?
1. Alice worries about showing her emotions. “Try as she might to be guarded and apathetic, she was (and probably always would be) the type of girl who walked around with her heart on her sleeve”. Do you think this is a negative or positive trait to have? Explain your view.
2. Alice reflects on the squirrel at the end of the chapter: “When the squirrel was dead, the world was a place Alice was familiar with—a place of unwavering certainties, where what was buried stayed buried, and what was done (like she’d said in her mantra) was most definitely done. But if a squirrel could rise from the dead, maybe the past had more power than Alice had previously given it credit for. Maybe the past was only the past until it decided to claw its way back to the present”. What could this be a metaphor for? Explain.
1. Look over Summer’s thoughts after she talks to Jace. Do you think they are justifiable? Should she give him another chance? Why or why not? Use specific examples to support your view.
2. What do you think is the answer to Summer’s question at the end: “Part of her couldn’t help but wonder—as she read Jace's fifth sappy apology—if the only reason he wanted her back was because she'd actually gone away"?
1. It seems as if everyone but Summer knows Jace has cheated on her. How do you feel about having knowledge like that? Should Tiernan or Alice tell Summer? If you knew something like this, should you tell a friend or keep quiet? Explain your view.
2. Tiernan reflects that Summer takes things too seriously while she herself “never took anything seriously at all”. What are the benefits and downfalls to each way of living? Which girl’s philosophy do you follow most? Why?
3. Tiernan believes that even if the girls are together on this trip, “There were certain unwritten rules for the three of them being together again: invisible DO NOT ENTER signs; topics they dared not mention”. What are some of these topics? List them. How might this way of thinking foreshadow future events in the book? Explain.
1. Discuss the girl dancing in front of the fire. What does she symbolize to Summer?
2. Describe Summer’s fantasy about Level3 member Travis. What does this say about the way she views love?
1. Analyze the map the girls decide to create. Why is it symbolic? Look at the different parts of it and what it might represent to the girls’ journey at the moment. Also, how is the girls’ decision to follow the map symbolic? Describe.
2. Alice still believes she’s made a mistake by going on the trip with the girls. Why do you think this is? Explain. Do you believe she’s made a mistake? Why or why not?
3. Alice wonders, “If ‘no strangers in the van’ was meant only for outsiders, or if it also applied to the people inside”. What do you think? Are the girls in the van strangers to one another? Why or why not?
1. The girls work together multiple times in this chapter. Discuss each time and how it might impact their journey to being friends again.
1. Talk about how the decision Summer makes to ask for another Sno-Kone is symbolic of a change in her. What things did we see her doing in the past that would be the opposite of this action?
2. “Most of the time Summer went through life not knowing what she wanted. But every time she actually did manage to make a decision, there was always someone there to question it, or make her feel like she was wrong”. Where do we see this happening to her in the book? Can you describe some examples?
1. Alice respects how Summer was careful about who she let in, “A lot of girls seemed to just spill their guts to whoever happened to be in earshot. But when Summer opened up, it actually meant something”. Is this an admirable trait to have? Discuss both the positives and negatives.
1. Alice starts to change in this chapter. Where do we see this? How is she changing?
2. Quentin says he doesn’t live life with expectations. “I know one way to never get what you want is by trying to make it fit into your vision of how it should be”. Do you believe this way of living is worthwhile? Why or why not?
1. Summer believes that sometimes love can last. But Tiernan thinks it's "as a temporary condition. Like insanity”. Whose view of love do you most agree with and why?
1. What do you think about Summer’s choice to go home because of Jace? Is it a wise one? Why or why not?
2. Summer hears Level3’s “Sad Song” in the elevator. What could this song represent? How is it symbolic of what is going on in the book right now?
1. Are you surprised about the way Tiernan’s mom reacted to Tiernan's running away? Why or why not?
2. Tiernan’s mom takes a lot of the blame for the separation between Tiernan and herself. Do you believe she is to blame? Why or why not?
Discuss how Tiernan could also be at fault.
3. Tiernan’s mom says she can stay on the trip if she’s on it for the right reasons. Do you believe Tiernan is on the trip for the right reasons? What might her reasons be?
1. Alice reflects on how different her family is from Summer’s family. Which of the three characters’ families is your family the most like? Why?
2. How do the lyrics at the end of the chapter relate to Tiernan and her mom? To the girls?
1. What do you think Tiernan meant about her mom when she said, “I’m serious. It was like she liked hearing about all the bad stuff I did”. Why would she be like this?
2. Tiernan doesn’t believe the talk she had with her mom would have happened at home. “Like their big Moment of Truth couldn’t have happened if they were still back in Walford, in their normal environment”. Why do you think she feels this way? What does she mean?
3. Tiernan is afraid to bring up the dance because she thinks her friends won’t forgive her. “She thought about what her mother had said about wanting to slog through the mud with her as opposed to jut letting Tiernan drift away. But friends played by different rules than parents. Not that Alice and Summer even considered her their friend. And what was the point of unburdening herself with something they’d never forgive her for anyway”? Based on what we know about Summer and Alice, do you think this is true? Why or why not?
4. Tiernan questions whether it’s possible to be friends with these girls, “But was it possible to actually be a friend to people she’d lied to for all these years?” Do you think they have become friends? Why or why not?
1. Summer creates a list of things she wants. What if Tiernan created a list? What would it look like? What about Alice? What would be on your own list?
1. Alice wishes she could just get over it. "Why couldn’t she be like a normal person and just shake off the bad stuff and move on without even looking back? Do you think it’s possible to do that? Can people live like that? Why or why not?
2. “Alice knew history repeated itself, but up until this moment she never realized why. Now it seemed obvious: Human beings weren’t capable of learning from their mistakes, even if they wanted to. They were just doomed to repeat the same awful patterns over and over, no matter how hurtful or stupid they were. That was the universe’s brilliant master plan—to put the song on repeat”. Do you believe this? Why or why not?
3. Alice dismisses the car playing Level3 and doesn’t believe it’s a sign for anything when before she would have taken it as a sign. Do you believe in signs? Why or why not?
1. Explain Tiernan’s reasoning for what she did at the dance. Do you think it was a realistic reaction to what was going on in her life? Why or why not?
1. Summer reflects on Alice and Tiernan by saying, “They were both so different from her. And yet, Summer had spent the last four years hanging out with people who all looked alike and dressed alike and acted alike. But the only thing her Walford friends really seemed to have in common was the fact they were too afraid to actually be themselves”. Do you believe people get in relationships like this? Why or why not?
1. Tiernan thinks about how unlike herself Alice is. Alice is able to let her emotions spill out and be vulnerable. This idea scares Tiernan. Do you believe this is hard for people to do? Why or why not? What are the positives of living like this? What are the downfalls?
1. What do you think Summer means when she says, “So things haven’t exactly gone our way. It still doesn’t mean you should blame yourself. It’s not anyone’s fault things ended up like this. It’s like that John Lennon quote, ‘Life’s what happens while you’re busy making other plans’”. How does this relate to the book? How does this quote relate to life in general? To your life?
1. How is the relationship among the Level3 boys like that of the girls?
Chapter Quiz Questions
1. What do Alice’s parents give her as a graduation gift?
2. What does Alice call the VW van her family has had for years?
3. What did Alice and her friends spend their time doing in the van?
4. What big announcement does Alice hear on the news?
5. What does Alice buy at the end of the chapter?
1. Where is Summer supposed to go for the summer?
2. Who is she going with?
3. What happens to change Summer’s plans?
1. Who does Tiernan live with?
2. Why is Tiernan grounded?
3. Who does Tiernan worry about coming on the trip?
4. What does Tiernan do when she thinks her mom might say that she can’t go on the trip?
1. How does Tiernan get to Alice’s house?
2. How does Tiernan let her mom know that she left?
3. Who surprises Tiernan and Alice as they are driving away?
4. What happens at the start of the trip that the girls view as a bad omen?
1. What does Summer insist they should do about the squirrel?
2. What is the event the girls keep thinking about that seemed to be the end of their friendship?
3. What happens to the squirrel at the end of the chapter?
1. Why does Jace call Summer?
2. Who do the girls name the GPS after?
1. What does Summer learn that puts her in a sulky mood?
2. What do the girls discover about the hotels in the town they decide to stay in?
3. What is the nickname the girl gives the restaurant they stop at (because the sign is broken)?
4. What does the waitress reveal is going on in the town?
5. Where do Toad and Phred suggest they stay for the night?
1. What girl is interested in Toad and Phred?
2. What does Summer do to help sort out her feelings?
3. Where does Michael talk the girls into going?
4. What does Michael reveal he is that scares the girls?
5. What is Michael’s tattoo of?
1. The girls use the excuse that they forgot their bathing suits to get away from Michael. Why is this not a good excuse?
2. What two things happen to make the girls stop the Pea Pod in the woods?
3. What do the girls decide to do to pass the time?
4. How do the girls decide on places to stop?
1. Why is the van unable to move in the morning?
2. What falls off of the Pea Pod?
3. What do the girls agree to do in order to fix the Pea Pod?
1. What does Summer learn how to do?
2. What kind of truck do the girls see that gets them excited?
3. What is Finn’s job?
4. What does Finn invite Summer and her friends to do?
1. When Alice’s parents called, what does she ask about?
2. What do her parents ask about?
3. What promise does Alice make to her parents?
4. What do the girls forget to do with the Pea Pod?
5. What do they break into?
1. What happens to make Alice change her mind about sticking around Finn’s house?
2. What does Mrs. Oldham suggest to the girls when they stay for dinner?
3. Where does Alice end up at the end of the chapter and with what person?
4. Who finds her?
1. What do the girls do after Mrs. Oldham catches Alice?
2. What city is the girls' next stop?
3. What is the name of the hotel they are staying in?
4. What activity do they do that the hotel is known for?
1. There are only two beds in the hotel room and Alice and Summer claim them. How is it decided who Tiernan sleeps with?
2. Who calls while the girls are in the room?
3. What big purchase does Summer make?
4. What kind of sign does Summer get when on the elevator?
1. How did Tiernan’s mom track her down?
2. What does she reveal to Tiernan about their relationship after the divorce?
3. Why does Tiernan say she dyed her hair?
4. What decision does Tiernan’s mom make about the road trip?
1. What does Alice realize she’s lucky to have that Summer doesn’t seem to have in the same way?
2. What are Tiernan and her mom doing with the lights out when the girls return?
1. Where is the girls’ next stop?
2. What drinks do the girls have when they are out?
3. What two big things does Alice lose?
1. What happens between the three girls after the purse is lost?
2. What does Alice tell Summer?
3. What does Summer see that changes her mind about leaving?
1. Alice finally hears from Quentin. What does he say?
2. What do Tiernan and Alice decide to do because they lost the tickets?
3. Who do the girls hear is giving away tickets?
4. What will the girls do to try to win tickets?
1. What goes wrong when the girls get to the contest?
2. How do they change this?
3. What big thing does Tiernan talk about while onstage?
1. Who wins the contest?
2. How do the girls get to go to the concert?
3. How do the girls travel to the concert?
1. Alice gets a text—who is it from?
2. What does this text say?
3. How did the girls miss the concert?
1. What do Alice’s parents call to say?
1. How do the girls decide to go see the city?
2. Who stops to give them a lift?
3. What kind of car do they get into?
4. Where are the girls invited?
5. What is revealed to the girls that is a secret?
Chapter Quiz Answers
1. Green Volkswagen van
2. Pea Pod
3. Talking about/listening to Level3
4. Level3 is having a one-night-only reunion concert
5. Tickets to the concert
1. Martha’s Vineyard
2. Her boyfriend, Jace
3. Jace dumps her
1. Her mom
2. Her mom finds alcohol in her closet
4. She decides to sneak out
1. On a skateboard
2. She leaves a note
4. They hit a squirrel
1. Bury it
2. Winter Wonderland dance
3. It jumps up and runs away
1. He wants to get back together
2. Their old soccer coach
1. Jace went to a party he didn’t tell her about
2. There are no vacancies
4. Music festival
5. The field
2. Writes in her journal
3. The lake
4. Fugitive from the law
5. Winged man with sword over the devil (or archangel)
1. Everyone is skinny-dipping
2. They get lost and it starts pouring rain
3. Make a collage
4. They stop based off things mentioned in Level3 songs
1. It’s stuck in the mud
2. The side door
3. Clear the shed of kudzu
1. Drive stick (the Pea Pod)
2. A snow cone truck
3. Camp counselor
4. Go swimming at his house
1. If she got a letter from Brown
2. If Tiernan was with her
3. That Tiernan will call her mom
4. Fill the Pea Pod up with gas
5. A storage shed (where they see a container of gas)
1. She meets his brother Quentin
2. She suggests that they stay the night
3. In the Pea Pod with Quentin
4. Mrs. Oldham
1. They get out of the house fast
4. Boat ride on fake river
1. Alice farts
3. Plane tickets home
4. A Level3 song plays
1. Through Alice’s parents
2. The deconstruction was her fault
3. She didn’t want her red hair to remind her mom of her dad
4. Tiernan can stay with the girls
1. A loving family
2. Listening to Level3
1. New Orleans
2. Frozen drinks
3. Her purse and the Level3 tickets in her purse
1. They get in a big fight
2. Jace is cheating on her
3. A middle school volleyball team who are good friends
1. He can’t do the relationship thing
2. Go home
3. A radio contest
4. A dance
1. They are too late
2. Tiernan writes a note on the collage to convince the DJs to let them try out
3. The fight at the ninth-grade dance
1. The boy with the clarinet
2. The winner gives them his 3 extra tickets
3. The Pea Pod
2. He can’t stop thinking about her
3. They overslept
1. She got into Brown
1. They walk
3. A yellow VW van
4. A party at one of the band member’s parents' house
5. Level3 is getting back together
Reunited Final Book Questions
1. Each chapter has song lyrics at the beginning. Analyze these song lyrics. Discuss how each relates to the plot of the chapter it comes before. Explain why you feel this way.
2. The title of the book is Reunited. Discuss all the different types of reunions that happened in this book. Which reunion do you think was the most important? Explain why.
3. If you were creating a collage to represent this book, what would you include on the collage (think about specific symbols such as pictures, colors, people and objects)?
4. Think about a close friend or small group of friends. If you were creating a collage like Tiernan, Summer, and Alice did, what events, items, and symbols would you include?
5. What band would you take a road trip to see and why?
6. Predict the future of Alice, Tiernan, and Summer. Do you think they will stay friends or drift apart again? Use specific examples from the book to support your view.
Guide written by Rachele Alpine, a middle school English teacher
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I first heard about this book, I wanted to read it right here right now! I seriously could not wait. I mean come on, a book about 3 ex-best friends that decide to go on a road trip to see their favorite childhood band. This is golden! And it really was. This book was one of the best books that I have read in a while. You really feel for the characters and what they are going through. You first meet Alice. Alice is the good girl, the nerd, every parents dream! And she wants to go on a road trip with her very best friend before they go off to college. But he friend is on her way to China for the summer. So when she finds out that Level3 is coming back for one night only, SHE HAS TO GO! But who to go with? How about her 2 ex-best friends that she has not talked to since freshman year of high school. This is a disaster waiting to happen. After days on the road and things going wrong left and right, their tickets get stolen! Now what???? How will they get to the concert? Will they still talk to each other after this road trip? This book was better then I thought it was going to be. I am a sucker for books about music. If the book has music in it, I have to read it no matter what. I love them! I think they are some of the best books ever. And this book is right there with all the other great music books. If you want to read a book that keeps you on your toes and keeps you going and wanting more, then this book is for you! I am so happy that I was able to read this great story!
Three high school graduates. One pea green VW bus. A roadtrip to Austin to see their favorite band, Level3, reunited. REUNITED had all the makings for the exact sort of Contemporary Young Adult story I love. The girls who make up REUNITED are three very different, distinct girls. Alice is the organizer. She is a sweet, well-meaning but a bit exasperating control freak. Tiernan is the rebel. She's abrasive, infuriating, uses humor to mask emotion, and I completely adored her. Summer is the sweetheart. She's gorgeous and popular, but feels as if she doesn't have a voice. Jealousy, miscommunication and a lie tore their friendship apart. Will close quarters bring them back together, or tear them apart forever? REUNITED was extremely well-written. Hilary Wiseman Graham's writing was well-paced and very readable. The narrative was excellent. The changing point of view were easy to navigate. I never had to struggle to keep going. As far as the story goes, I really enjoyed it. As an adult, I can look back and see so much of myself and my friends in these characters. I have to say, it made me nostalgic and more than a little sad. I appreciate the fact that while there are a couple of instances involving the three and the guys they meet along the way, this book isn't about a girl trying to get a guy. This book is about the Alice, Tiernan, and Summer. Plain and simple. I wish there were more stories like this, about friendship, out there. The only thing I didn't love about the story was the ending. Yes, it was cute and very neat. But after all the girls had been through, it felt like one too many obstacles and then an unrealistic turn of events. This could just be me, being nit picky, but it felt a tad too cutesy. But still, I did smile. REUNITED is a sweet, endearing and thoughtful book about the struggles of self and friendship. I would enthusiastically recommend it to fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Favorite Quote: "Alice didn't want to over sentimentalize it, but it did seem like a rather strange coincidence that the three of them had wound up at the edge of the very same soccer field where they'd first met and become friends back in the fourth grade. Even stranger was the fact that they'd now spent more time giving closure to a dead squirrel than they had to the death of their five-year friendship." (pg 45, ARC)
Alice, Summer and Tiernan used to be best friends and the self-proclaimed biggest fans of the band Level 3. But that was a long time ago. Before high school. Before Level 3 broke up and the girls' friendship imploded. Alice is okay with that. She's moved on. Really. Except her post-graduation plans fall apart and, seemingly like magic, Level 3 is getting together for a one-night-only reunion show in Texas. When Alice manages to score three coveted tickets, she knows it must be a sign. If Level 3 can have a reunion, why not the girls who used to be their biggest fans? Summer parted ways with Tiernan and Alice four years ago and never looked back. That disastrous homecoming dance is nothing but a (slightly painful) memory when Alice invites Summer on the road trip. Summer would rather be anywhere else. Until she realizes joining this one trip might be her chance to finally make some choices of her own. Tiernan has cooler friends now and parties way harder. So hard, in fact, that Alice's road trip might be the one and only chance for Tiernan to get out of the house this summer. One VW van, two-thousand miles and a whole lot of problems are the only things standing between these three ex-best friends and the concert of a lifetime in Reunited (2012) by Hilary Weisman Graham. Reunited is Graham's first novel. Written in the third person, Graham alternates perspectives throughout the novel between Alice, Summer and Tiernan. Graham expertly differentiates between the girls' voices, giving them distinct personalities complete with strengths and flaws. Graham's narrative is urbane and bright with loads of humor and moments of contemplative realizations for all three ex-best friends. Reunited is a quintessential road trip book from the quirky vehicle down to the travelers with their own emotional baggage. With three winning heroines and great writing, this story stands out as an original addition to the road trip sub-genre. Graham even starts each chapter with song lyrics from Level 3's discography. (The only downside being that I am now very, very sad the band is fictional.) While the number of things that can (and do) go wrong for these three travelers verges on hyperbolic, all of the mayhem and disaster makes for an excellent and very funny read. Graham also amps up the tension near the end as more obstacles are thrown in their way. I won't spoil the ending, but after all of the false starts and near misses Reunited ends on what musicians and music lovers might call a satisfying major chord (which non-musicians will be happy to hear is the "happier" sounding chord). Possible Pairings: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy, The Miles Between by Mary E. Peason
A Fabulous Summer Read! Want a perfect YA book for the summer? REUNITED is it!!!!! The Pea Pod ( a pea green 1976 VW camper van) houses three ex-best friends, on a less than ideal, two thousand mile road trip to go back in time and see a one-time only reunion concert for their favorite middle school band, Level3. But sometimes, things that are less than ideal have a way of being the best things that ever happened. Take a ride with Alice, Summer and Tiernan--you won't regret it.