The Interestings centers on Jules, Ash, Ethan, Goodman and Jonah; a group of teenagers who meet at a summer camp for the artistically gifted in the mid-1970's. Though their backgrounds and talents are varied, their time at the camp creates a bond that will keep them together throughout the stages of adulthood.
It starts simply, with dry wit as the campers develop the ironic banter that will become standard through their early friendship. What seems like the familiar, awkward camp story is actually a delicate framework for the detailed relationships that will grow between the characters.
When Ethan and Ash find success well beyond what any of their friends could have imagined, their lifestyle beings to set them apart. It is here, as the group journeys through adulthood, where Wolitzer's talent begins to stand out. She is able to walk her characters through seemingly endless themes, namely the dynamics of friendship and envy, without making them appear fantastical or sending them down stereotypical paths. When I was worried it might bend, she made sure the character framework she created early on held strong and added beautiful dialogue to boot.
Wolitzer also manages to jump between time periods and points of view in such an amazingly natural way. Where I've been frustrated with this technique from other authors, The Interestings has this constant flow of life that could very easily be hard to follow if not done right.
When I was finished reading the last sentence, I let out this half whimper/half sigh and set my Kindle down for a few minutes. I went back and read all 16 of my highlights and then pre-ordered a physical copy. I highly suggest you do the same - whimper and sigh are optional.