This book was pitched as a modern day Sixteen Candles, which made it an automatic TBR on my Goodreads. Most people go for The Breakfast Club as the best rat pack/John Hughes movie, but Sixteen Candles is by far my favorite. And if I’ve said it once, I can say it a million times…but despite preferring fantasy as a genre, it’s the YA contemporary books that consistently impress me. Morgan Matson is on my radar, as is the revitalization of my interest in contemporary reads.
After more than a year of separation from one person or another, Charlie’s family is back under one roof for a weekend to celebrate her sister’s wedding, and as a secondary task, promote the end of her mother’s famous, nationally known comic strip. It wouldn’t be a good book about a wedding for characters we’ve never met if everything didn’t go catastrophically wrong…
The beginning sets up a few key stories: Charlie’s long-time pining for Jesse; Mike and his alienation from the family; and the ending of the comic strip Grant Central Station.
Along the way every possible mishap happens. One of her brother’s brings a girlfriend no one knew about. The wedding planner skips town after embezzling money and a new crew steps in last minute. Mike returns for the wedding after more than a year of no family contact. Mike brings along Charlie’s crush Jesse. All the wedding details are ruined because of the embezzler. (Don’t trust anyone with fruit for a name!) These ruined plans include the appearance of a Journey cover band that had me laughing out loud multiple times.
Save the Date is a funny book, and a disastrous book, but it has a lot of serious moments to. The Grant family, without being spoiler-y, has a lot of problems. They aren’t the picture perfect family portrayed in the comic strip inspired by their life. The book, for all it’s laughs, has some dark moments. And, impressively, the book closes out it’s emotional beats with great success.
I can’t speak to how this compares to Matson’s other books, but I know this one has me interested in her others. It’s also a great contemporary…read it for the realism, the laughs, the heart and the bittersweet moments. If you like that in your realistic fiction, then this is a book worth reading.