The Celebrants by Steven Rowley [Book Review]

The Celebrants by Steven Rowley might be a book about funerals, but it is a celebration of life at its core! Read my review.

When one of their closest friends dies, a group of college friends make a pact that no one will ever go without knowing how the others feel about them. When necessary, they will hold living funerals to show their fake-dead friends how much they matter and how essential they are. As simple and sweet a concept as that is, their connections and history run deep, and secrets emerge that may influence how they feel about one another. Read my review of The Celebrants by Steven Rowley.

What is the book about?

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—that their lives mean something, to one another if not to themselves.

But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact. []

My thoughts:

Steven Rowley’s The Celebrants was a pleasant surprise. Although the book revolves around death and funerals, it is upbeat and emphasizes the value of close connections and chosen family. Each character has their own agenda and emotions, giving them a well-rounded and genuine feel. Who wouldn’t want a bunch of friends who care so deeply about each other?

I’d meant to read The Guncle for a long time, but I ended up reading The Celebrants first. Based on my enjoyment of this lovely novel, I intend to read anything Steven Rowley has ever written. I adore his easygoing style, eccentric characters, and intriguing plot lines. I strongly recommend everyone pick up a copy of The Celebrants today!