Leah Greenblatt
June 10, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Commencement

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
J. Courtney Sullivan
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Many writers have tried to duplicate The Group, Mary McCarthy’s landmark mid-century novel about a set of privileged postcollegiate friends. J. Courtney Sullivan comes admirably close. McCarthy was very much of her era, and so is Sullivan; her Smith-grad protagonists face a much wider range of choices, but thankfully, their struggles to find their place in the world don’t hang on cell phones and vegan- anarchist campus clubs. Even as several subplots take soapy turns, the author manages to find that sweet spot between Serious Literature and chick lit. Commencement is a beach book for smart women — and the girls they once were. A?

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