Before Everything - Victoria Redel

I cannot resist a good book about a close-knit group of girlfriends, especially a sad one. When Helen, Ming, Molly, and Caroline gather to say goodbye to Anna, who is about to enter hospice, I was ready for some wild stories and long overdue confessions. Despite the setup, this story was not the gripping tale I expected, and there were some surprising moments of pettiness among the characters given the gravity of the situation. Despite this, it felt true to me. It reminded me of the times I have experienced perspective altering events, when my own troubles — that had seemed huge and unmanageable before — were eclipsed by unexpected tragedies. Redel does an excellent job of creating characters who are human and believable. They are not always perfect, or selfless, or even kind and forgiving, but they are capable of change, and so there is always hope.