Book Review: The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland

Posted September 7, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 24 Comments

The Most Likely Club
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Elyssa Friedland
Publication Date September 6, 2022
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Family Life / General, Fiction / Humorous / General, Fiction / Women
Pages: 368
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

At their milestone high school reunion, a group of friends make a pact to finally achieve their high school superlatives one way or another, in the lively new novel from the acclaimed author of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel.

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 Chowdhury, 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 by Elyssa Friedland is a story about four high school best friends who go to their 20th High School reunion and realize they haven’t reached the expectations they had expected.  

It’s 1997 and Melissa Levin, Priya Chowdury, Tara Taylor, and Suki Hammer, all seniors at Bellport Academy in Bellport, Connecticut, are at the lunchroom and it’s here that they find out the yearbook is naming them, Most Likely to Win the White House, Cure Cancer, Open a Michelin-Starred Restaurant, and Join the Forbes 400.  Excited to learn the yearbook has given them all superlatives, the four women have their futures all planned out and they can’t wait to get started.  

In the present day, these four women find out that reaching these lofty goals has been more difficult than they thought.  Melissa had become president, but not president of the nation, instead she’s the president of Bellport Academy, where her daughter is now a student.  Priya became a successful doctor, but she’s overwhelmed by her job, her three children, and taking care of her surgeon husband.  Instead of running a Michilean-starred restaurant, Tara is running a small children’s cooking class in Manhattan with her partner, Rachel.  It seems like only Suki has reached her high school “Most Likely to” goal, as she is the owner and CEO of a very popular makeup app.  At their 20th high school reunion, Melissa, Tara, and Pryia make a pact to bring their High School aspirations to fruition.  

The Most Likely Club is a nostalgic look at our high school aspirations, and how sometimes real life and what we dream about are two completely different things.  I enjoyed all four of these characters very much.  I would have liked to learn more about Suki, as her character doesn’t appear much in the book.  I loved Tara the most as she’s just one tough cookie!  Melissa is such a go-getter, and I like how bossy she is.  She makes for a perfect PTA president!  I thought Priya was a bit stereotypical, and I feel like I’ve met her characters in other books.  However, I did feel for her issues and was rooting for her to stand up for herself and thought she brought some balance to the other characters.  

I enjoyed the nostalgia element as well.  As I’m a bit older than these characters, I still remember most of their cultural references and enjoyed the little bits of pop culture the author sprinkled throughout the book.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Elyssa Friedland

Elyssa Friedland is the author of five novels and a forthcoming picture book. She attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, and is a graduate of Columbia Law School. She worked as an associate at a major firm before turning to writing full-time. She teaches an undergraduate course at Yale called Contemporary Novel Writing. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, LitHub, POPSUGAR,, Bustle, Modern Bride, New York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS, Yale Alumni Magazine and more. Elyssa resides in New York City with her husband, three children and puppy.

Have you read The Most Likely Club? Do you want to?

24 responses to “Book Review: The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland

  1. They graduated a year behind me. I didn’t get a superlative in high school but I know I’ve disappointed some of my teachers. I’ve disappointed myself too. But, sometimes real life isn’t the way we want it.

  2. This looks fun and I do wonder what happens to the Most Likely To kids from high school. I’m not a big fan of books that have strong high school memories but this looks a bit different and like an entertaining read.

  3. Jenny+McClinton

    Sounds like a book many could relate to as life never turns out how you expected when you were younger, great review 😊

  4. Great review Wendy. It does sound a different take on things in terms of expectations vs reality. I love the sound of the pop culture that’s been used all through.

  5. I have the audiobook of this one Wendy and I can’t wait to read it! I love the historical pulp culture elements too! Wonderful review!

  6. It sounds like a good book. I enjoyed your review.

    I knew what I wanted to do when I left school, worked hard, got to see the reality of what achieving my goal would look like and was like nope and had my son instead!

    Have a great week!

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

  7. I see themes of getting back to wish list or aspiration concept more in books lately and I really like seeing how like takes different path than expected. Amazing review!