On a warm July night in 1974 six teenagers play at being cool. The friendships they make this summer will be the most important and consuming of their lives. In a teepee at summer camp they smoke pot and drink vodka & Tangs, talk of Gunter Grass and the latest cassette tapes; they also share their dreams and ambitions, still so fresh and so possible. But decades later not everyone can sustain in adulthood what had seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, has resigned herself to a more practical occupation; Cathy has stopped dancing; Jonah has laid down his guitar and taken up engineering. Only Ethan's talent has endured. As their fortunes tilt precipitously over the years, some of them dealing with great struggle, others enjoying extraordinary wealth and success, friendships are put under the strain of envy and crushing disappointment. Against the backdrop of a changing America, from Nixon's resignation to Obama's new world, Wolitzer's panoramic tragicomedy asks how 'the Interestings' can be happy with being anything less than brilliant?