The Gunners has been chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers selection for 2018!
Kirkus Review: "Kauffman has created vivid and compelling characters struggling with what is in some ways the most universal dilemma: how to grow up. Mikey especially is mature and thoughtful but not at all precious; and the boisterous, hilarious Alice is charming despite her best efforts to behave otherwise. In fluid prose, Kauffman lays bare the lessons of youth and truth. A layered and loving bildungsroman of friendship."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review): "Perceptive, funny, and endearing...Reminiscent of The Big Chill and St. Elmo's Fire,...provides readers with an entire cast of characters who will feel like old friends."
Booklist Review: "...Kauffman’s quiet and deep second novel reconciles the responsibilities we carry and the secrets we keep with the outsize pleasure of being known and loved by a chosen family."
Voted by Canada's Loan Star reader-advisory program and the Canadian Urban Libraries Council as a Favourite Upcoming March Title.
Chosen as one of Real Simple Magazine's Best Books of 2018.
Selected as one of The Huffington Post's 60 Books We Can't Wait To Read in 2018, Chicago Review of Books Most Anticipated Fiction of 2018, Southern Living's Best New Books Coming Out Spring 2018, From The Texas Book Festival Lit Director Desk: 2018 Reads, Ink and Fable's Top 5 Most Anticipated Reads of 2018, Book Riot's 101 Books Coming Out In 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now!, NYLON's 2018 Preview: 50 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018!, PureWow's 20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018, Heard Tell's 5 Books I'm Excited About in Early 2018, The Real Deal's 35 Books We Can't Wait to Get Our Hands On In 2018, Books are my Favourite's Books I'm Waiting For, Book Bub's 30 Most Anticipated Book Club Books for 2018, The Reader's Room's Most Anticipated 2018 Books, and Reading Women Podcast's Most Anticipated New Releases of 2018.
"The Gunners follows a group of friends from their close knit childhood in working class Buffalo, NY to their disparate mid thirties. Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam are brought together again by the sudden suicide of fellow "Gunner," Sally who, as a teenager, abruptly abandoned the group with little explanation. After the funeral, the group, reunited for the first time in a decade, spend a drunken evening grieving, reminiscing, confiding, consoling, and most importantly, just being with one another, while trying to understand the mysterious motivations of Sally'. Sharp, bighearted, and rich with specific detail, the story ticks every box in a bildungsroman you could hope for leaving readers with that familiar warm and tight-throated nostalgia you feel when rediscovering a shoe box of old photos from high school. Highly readable and certainly a good companion for a Spring Break getaway." —Katelyn O'brien, Square Books, Oxford MS
"There’s a special glue that holds a group together. But sometimes that glue dissolves and releases individuals to melt away into their own worlds. Such was the glue of the Gunners and such was the outcome when one of the group of youngsters, now teenagers, suddenly, for no apparent reason, removed herself from their midst. But Mikey was left alone with a secret that would follow him into his later years. It was not something which should have been a secret, you understand, but a secret it was. But he's not the only one keeping something to himself. When Sally commits suicide, the Gunners reunite but no-one knows if all the secrets she was carrying about their group will emerge. It’s time to face the truth and reach for forgiveness. My heart went out to Mikey from page one. This stand-out novel is an engrossing story of friendship and the consequences of trying to hide from life, as well as a memorable offering from a very good writer." —Linda Bond, Auntie's Books, Spokane, WA
"The Gunners is a story about friendship, family and loss told from the perspective of a group of childhood best friends who reunite in their early 30s after one of their own commits suicide. The novel, which weaves the group's present-day reunion with moments from their childhood, paints a nuanced, beautiful and often funny portrait of each character that kept me absorbed until the final page. The novel never spells out the exact reasons for Sally's suicide—which I was glad for—but rather reveals the complex mix of pain and secrets that each person brings into a friendship. There are many books about childhood friends, but this one stands out for its honest, messy and surprising characters that feel refreshingly real." —Elissa Englund, Bank Square Books, Mystic CT
"I recommend you read every single thing Rebecca Kauffman writes―start with this beautiful novel, and start now." ―Julie Buntin, author of Marlena
"Kauffman’s prose is restrained in a way that causes it to actually vibrate in places, and her details are so richly observed they feel like gems, impossible things mined from deep under the earth. Funny, raw, and deeply elegant, The Gunners is ultimately a meditation on friendship, that least examined, most mysterious form of love, perhaps more sacred for its incompleteness, for the ways we can never fool ourselves completely into believing we truly know one another." ―Rufi Thorpe, author of Dear Fang, with Love and The Girls from Corona del Mar
"The Gunners explores what it means to have people crawl into your heart and settle in for a lifetime. In this lovely, truthful novel of six people who have been friends since childhood, Rebecca Kauffman strips enduring love of all its usual romantic costumery, and shows us how it actually works." ―Martha Woodroof, author of Small Blessings
"I inhaled The Gunners in a single sitting, because I couldn’t stand to be away from it once I started it. Rebecca Kauffman's brilliantly rendered story of six childhood friends tells the hard truth about human love―what it seems to be from far away, and what it really is up close―boldly, with compassion and warmth and humor." ―Kayla Rae Whitaker, author of The Animators