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Publisher's Summary

Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There's no way on earth she's attending her 25-year class reunion - especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy's best friend practically drags her to the event....

Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy's old locker. Singled out as the killer, it's up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name.

But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she's voted "Most Likely to Die" by the murderer?

©2018 Lisa Schwartz (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone's worst nightmares come true

Poppy McAllister gets dragooned into attending her high school's 25th reunion by her best friend, Sawyer Montgomery, especially after the pair and their two best friends get cards from Barbie Clark, their biggest enemy from high school in Class Reunions Are Murder by Libby Klein. Since getting widowed six months earlier, Poppy really let herself go, refusing to leave her house except for getting more junk food to gorge on, so she fears facing her former classmates, especially after she gets to her Aunt Ginny's run-down house and discovers that she can't fit into any of the dressy clothes she has. The only outfit she can manage to find that fits her is full of feathers and leather, not ideal to impress the people at the reunion.

At the school that night, people are surprised as is usual at most reunions by the ways that people turned out after high school. The man Barbie left at the altar twice is now a highly successful businessman, but she is married to a Congressman running for the Senate. The class prom queen is eight months pregnant, with rumors that she got pregnant to save her marriage after her husband had an affair with Barbie. The clique of cheerleaders who bullied the friends during high school, led by Barbie, resume their old patterns and harass Poppy and Sawyer, ultimately leading to a major fight between Sawyer and Poppy that ends up on the ground and gets recorded by all around them.

Immediately after, Sawyer has an encounter with her ex-husband and takes off. When Poppy goes out a while later, she finds the body of Barbie in front of Poppy's old high school locker. The man who responds to Poppy's screams immediately jumps to the conclusion that he has just witnessed Poppy's committing a murder. Soon everyone is staring at Poppy and accusing her of the murder. Even worse, when Poppy insists they call the police, Amber, Barbie's partner in bullying, announces that she is the police and takes over the lead of the case. With vindictiveness, she seems determined to prove Poppy's guilt and arrests her, though the police have to let Poppy go for lack of evidence. But Amber is hard at work to destroy Poppy's life and do whatever it takes to go after her. This makes Poppy, along with Aunt Ginny and Sawyer, realize they have to work to find the truth.

Who has not experienced nerves and qualms about an upcoming class reunion? Issues of body image, personal achievements, and family all figure into these anxieties. Thus, we can all identify with the premise of Class Reunions Are Murder, which sounds like a realistic point just from the title. The book has a very interesting plot, with all the many twists and turns that keep us guessing, since everyone around Barbie hated her. Poppy overhears someone say that Barbie had slept with every man in their class, either in high school or later, with the exception of one man.

The characters in this book have real life to them, as we get to know each suspect more and more effectively. I especially liked the scene in the jail where Poppy gets a pep talk from two hookers, one a transvestite, about the fact that Poppy has just been feeling sorry for herself when she really has a lot to be thankful for. The depressed, trod-on woman changes into a strong woman determined to stand up for herself. I appreciated the way she becomes a transformed woman and works on her growing strength, but she also shows her humanity in struggling to keep going from time to time. We become really invested in the fear that Poppy might get arrested and that Amber's vindictiveness might cause her to frame Poppy for the crime.

Callie Beaulieu performs the audio version of Class Reunions Are Murder. I had a good time listening to this book and found it delivered with enjoyable expression and good timing. She truly sounds like Poppy, who narrates the book. I really liked the audio book of this book.

This well-written book deals largely with this issue of popularity and its repercussions on those around them. Along with issues of popularity come issues of bullying, as popular people get perceived as bullying the less popular. On the other hand, we see Amber, part of the popular crowd, feeling hurt by something Poppy did in high school, showing us how easy it is for people to misunderstand each other. This book has a strong message about the way people connect with and understand each other. The message of the book presents interesting introflections and a clever solution. I give this book five stars!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Judy
  • Utica NY
  • 04-19-18

Hilarious and Fun

Would you listen to Class Reunions Are Murder again? Why?

yes. the story was so funny and so much fun. i love poppys thought life. so sarcastic.

Who was your favorite character and why?

i loved aunt ginny. she was so crazy. i wish she was my grandmother.

Which scene was your favorite?

i love the scene in the jail when the inmates give poppy a reality check so she stops feeling sorry for herself and decides to fight back.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed the whole way through

Any additional comments?

Poppy starts out with low self esteem and throwing a big pity party. After all her husband died and her mother in law is a monster plus she's gained a lot of weight. But as the story gets going it get funnier and funnier and poppy gets over herself and decides she's okay just the way she is. It made me feel better about myself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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good humorous cozy mystery

loved it with good ha ha moments. the speaker did a great job reading. wonderful

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Wonderful characters and great vocals

I enjoyed the story from the very beginning to the end. This stot draws you in and it makes you fall in love with the characters especially Poppy and her aunt. For those of you who like Hallmark mystery movies we should start a campaign to get this one made into one.

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this was one of my favorite books.

I loved this book. the narrator was very good. the author has an extraordinary sense of humor. If i had a friend like her, I would just want to hang out with her all the time....soooooo funny. no bad language, tastefully done, an excellent cozy mystery.

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LOVE POPPY AND HER GANG

HOW REFRESHING TO MEET SUCH A REAL PROTAGONIST. POPPY IS SOMEONE WITH WHOM I CAN IDENTIFY. SHE MAY BE 30 YEARS YOUNGER, BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER. THE DIALOGUE IS SASSY. THE CHARACTERS COME TO LIFE FOR ME. I WILL BE SO DISAPPOINTED IF AUDIBLE DOES NOT CONTINUE THIS SERIES.

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great book to listen to at work!

it spiced up my workday. the narrator was pretty good. I did read parts of the book and I read some parts differently then how the narrator did but overall I loved the book!

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  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 02-04-18

Don't waste your time

I didn't get passed the first chapter. Poppy has such low self esteem and allows herself to be bullied by everyone. I love myself too much to continue this book.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful