Save the Date

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

In memory of Amanda Mierzwa


As ever, my first and biggest thank-you is for Justin Chanda, my beyond-words brilliant editor. Justin, over five drafts and two years, your faith in this story and belief that I’d get there someday never wavered, even when it was seven hundred pages long and full of weird movie theater subplots. THANK YOU for helping me to find this story, for your amazing notes, and for being an all-around dream to work with. I’m beyond lucky to have you as editor; I’m luckier still to count you as a friend.

Thank you to Emily van Beek, agent extraordinaire, and the entire team at Folio, for always taking such good care of me and my books.

I am so incredibly grateful that I get to have my books designed by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This one might be my favorite cover ever, and that’s a high bar. And thank you to Meredith Jenks for the incredible photos!

I’m so thankful to Eric Sailer for his amazing comic strips and for bringing Grant Central Station to life—it’s so much better than I ever dreamed it could be.

Thank you to Alexa Pastor and Alyza Liu, who read draft after draft of this book and provided invaluable notes.

It has been a privilege to be published by Simon & Schuster for the last eight years. I get to work with the best and most talented people in the business. Thank you to Jenica Nasworthy, Chava Wolin, Chrissy Noh, Anne Zafian, Anna Jarzab, Lisa Moraleda, KeriLee Horan, Lauren Hoffman, Michelle Leo, Anthony Parisi, Amy Beaudoin, Christina Pecorale, Emily Hutton, Victor Iannone, Karen Lahey, Jerry Jensen, Lorelei Kelly, Jon Anderson, and many more. You guys rock.

I am incredibly indebted to Siobhan Vivian, Anna Carey, and Maurene Goo, amazing writers and even better friends. Ladies, I can’t thank you enough for your invaluable help with this book. Whether it was talking through a scene, being a coffee shop writing buddy, or the endless texts and FaceTimes, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks and love to Jane Finn and Katie Matson. And thank you to my brother, Jason Matson, for sharing (and fighting over) the comics with me all those Sunday mornings, and for your help with all things Michigan and baseball.

Thank you to Todd VanDerWerff and Myles McNutt, two writers I’ve so long admired. The idea for this book was sparked by a Twitter conversation we had in the summer of 2015, and looking back now, I am so grateful I took that moment to procrastinate.

And lastly, thanks to Murphy, who contributed . . . not very much at all. But he sure did look cute while doing it.

The Grant Family Eleanor Sheridan Grant and Jeffrey Grant Sheridan Grant (Danny), 29

Linnea Grant (Linnie), 28

Jameison Jeffrey Grant (J.J.), 25

Michael Grant (Mike), 19

Charlotte Grant (Charlie), 17

The Daniels Family General Douglas and Rose Daniels Ellis Daniels

Elizabeth Daniels

Rodney Daniels

The Wedding Party Linnie Grant, Bride

Rodney Daniels, Groom

Max Duncan, Best Man and Officiant Jennifer Kang, Maid of Honor Danny Grant, Groomsman

Jennifer Wellerstein, Bridesmaid J.J. Grant, Groomsman

Priya Koorse, Bridesmaid Mike Grant, Groomsman

Elizabeth Daniels, Bridesmaid Marcus Curtis, Groomsman Charlie Grant, Bridesmaid



I WASN’T SURE HOW IT had happened. But Jesse Foster was kissing me.

I was kissing him back, opening my eyes every few seconds to verify it was really, actually happening, to see the twinkle lights and garlands strung up around the basement, the Santa hat listing on the banister post, and sure enough, Jesse Foster above me, his hands in my hair, his brown eyes closed.

Usually, when something you’ve dreamed about your whole life actually happens, it’s a disappointment. The reality never quite lives up to the fantasy, where everything is perfect and you never get hungry and your feet never hurt. But this was everything I had ever imagined it would be, and more.

Whenever I’d had dreams about kissing him—and there had been a lot of these, starting from age eleven onward—everything had built up to the kiss. The moment he saw me, the words he said, the way it all seemed to go into slow motion as he bent his head toward mine. And then there had always been kind of a fade-out into blackness, and I’d start imagining the future, the two of us walking down the halls of Stanwich High together, his hand in mine, as he smiled happily at me.

But kissing Jesse Foster in real life was beyond anything I’d even known to dream about. He was an amazing kisser, to start with, putting to shame the four other guys I’d kissed, who’d been fumbling and hesitant. He was utterly in control, but would pause every now and then, looking down at me, like he was making sure I was okay—and I’d stretch up to kiss him back, losing myself in him once more.

The part of my brain that could still think of things beyond lips and hands and oh my god and Jesse Foster was trying to understand how I’d gotten here. I had known Jesse my entire life—when he was six and short for his age, with a mop of brown curly hair; with braces and glasses when he was twelve; and now, at nineteen, his hair cut short, his arms strong and muscular, his legs tangling over mine as he eased me underneath him. He was my brother Mike’s best friend, but it wasn’t like we’d ever hung out, just the two of us.

I was only here, in the Fosters’ basement two days after Christmas, because Mike hadn’t come home for the holiday. After what had happened in February, he hadn’t been home all summer—he’d stayed at Northwestern and done a summer program, and had skipped Thanksgiving. But up until the last moment, I hadn’t quite believed that he would skip Christmas, too. It was one thing to bail on Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July. Not Christmas. But he hadn’t come home, texting on the twenty-third that his plans had changed. There was no other explanation.

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