The Celebrants - Steven Rowley

The Celebrants

By Steven Rowley

  • Release Date: 2023-05-30
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4
From 153 Ratings


New York Times Bestseller
A TODAY Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick

A Big Chill for our times, celebrating decades-long friendships and promises—especially to ourselves—by the bestselling and beloved author of The Guncle.

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—that their lives mean something, to one another if not to themselves.

But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact.

A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.


  • Great read

    By outback half died
    Loved the storyline and characters.
  • Absolutely loved it❤️

    By KateW65
    Definitely absolute summer read. It actually shows you the bond between friendship and life.
  • Highly Recommend!

    By akbaird
    Naomi, Craig, Marielle, Jordy, Jordan, and Alex all met as transfer students at Berkley, where they became friends. They all graduated in 1995 except for Alex because he had unexpectedly died. At that point, this group decided that they needed to get together for “living funerals”, an excuse to get together to show how much they mean to each other. When life gets hard, they are supposed to call the group together for a celebration of their life. On Jordy’s “living funeral” trip, Jordan has to inform them his cancer has spread and he doesn’t have long. This news brings them closer to making it extra special for Jordan as well. This heartfelt book is about the importance of friendships. When a friend dies in your friend group, you realize how precious life is, so you make time to do regular get-together instead of waiting for a funeral when everyone is forced to come together. A clever preface to a book! Why not take the time to support/celebrate with each other when everyone is still alive! A great book club pick as this book would lead to meaningful discussions!