The book opens with a traumatic experience for Allie Denty, who reacts with a trip to Sephora and a pledge to get her life – and her body – into shape.

She doesn’t have time to lose weight before her 20-year high school reunion, so she slathers her body in expensive creams and makeup for a confidence boost.

At the reunion, we meet former best friend Olivia Pelham. We don’t know right away why their friendship fell apart before graduation, which is a fun mystery peppered into the main plotline.

That plotline – a romantic interest that unravels slowly and superficially – is where I fault this book.

The two leading ladies are most charming in flashbacks of their girlhood, when they grow together while Olivia is seeking solace in Allie’s happy family, escaping her own broken home.The problem is, in the present day, they’re 30-somethings behaving like 12-year-olds.

Allie in particular possesses no higher goal than landing her man, who is engaged to Allie’s high school enemy, and no deeper feelings than unencumbered love for him. Frustratingly, we never see him behave as anything but a brooding, self-centered oaf, both in his high school years and in adulthood.

The characters are two-dimensional and the plot’s fairly ridiculous. That said, I enjoyed this book.

If you want something fun to read on a plane or out by the pool, “Hope in a Jar” fits the bill. Just don’t expect to find deep truths among the deep-wrinkle treatments and other fancy beauty products.

(Note: this book contains lots of makeovers.)

Sit down with a glass of light, crisp Honey Moon Viognier (less than $9). It’s a treat, not too serious – kind of like this novel.

♥ Chardonnay