11 Gut-Punch Lines From Bustle's January Book Club Pick 'The Dinner List'

Each month, the Bustle Book Club asks an author to recommend a book they think everyone should read. In January, To All The Boys I've Loved Before author Jenny Han recommended The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. Follow along with the book club on Bustle and join the conversation on Goodreads.

If you're reading along with the Bustle Book Club this month, then you already know how incredible To All the Boys I've Loved Before author Jenny Han's recommendation is. But if you haven't gotten a chance to start Rebecca Serle's magical and meditative novel, these quotes from The Dinner List will convince you that it's time.

At the heart of The Dinner List is a question my friends and I have asked each other a million times: If you could share a meal with any five people, living or dead, who would they be? Over the years, I have come up with dozens of my own lists, some populated with my literary heroes and favorite Hollywood, others filled with forgotten friends and lost loved ones. I've imagined who I would sit next to, what questions I'd ask, what advice I'd surely receive from. I've even imagined what I would want to eat — no matter who is at the table, coconut shrimp is on the menu — but what I haven't imagined is how the dinner would actually go. If I sat down with a deceased relative or a best friend from childhood who I haven't seen in years, what exactly would we say? How would interacting with my past make me feel about the present?

These are the questions The Dinner List asks and tries to find answers to. That is what makes the experience of the main character, Sabrina, sitting down for a meal with five fantasy guests — her father, an ex-lover, an old friend, a former mentor, and Audrey Hepburn — read less like an epic dream and more like a heartfelt therapy session. Over the course of dinner, Sabrina and the readers following along on her journey have the opportunity to learn a lot about love and friendship, loss and forgetting, and that pesky task we all have to face some day: growing up.

If you haven't started Serle's novel yet, these 11 quotes from The Dinner List will convince you this novel is worth the read. (That is, if Jenny Han's recommendation hasn't already.)

"Our story spanned exactly one decade, right down to the day we ended. But it's been said before — it's easier to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends."

"'You cannot have good without evil,' Audrey says. 'They are like DNA strands. Intricately and irrevocably spun together. Sometimes good wins, sometimes evil does. We do not fight for good's permanent triumph, but for the balance. And so it goes.'"

"The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is spectacular anytime, but at sunset it's really something. It was like the universe had put us at opposite sides so we could walk together then, in that moment, with the sky turning from rage (red, orange) to surrender (blue, yellow) right around us."

"When someone leaves, remembering the joy is far more painful than thinking about the misery."

"It wasn't a wild kiss. We'd have plenty of those. It was a benchmark. A chalk line on the asphalt. Start."

“'Sometimes I think that the only true way we can ever know a thing's value is by losing it.'”

"'There are flowers and gardeners. Flowers bloom; gardeners tend. Two flowers, no tending everything dies.'”

"She's opening up here. She's like a drop of dye in water that begins t change the liquid. Slowly, fluidly, she becomes colored."

"Jessica and I didn't have a falling-out — I still think of her as my best friend. There was no big fight, no disagreement. But sometimes it feels like something so irrevocable happened between us and the fact that I can't put my finger on when makes it worse. If there was a fight, we could make up, apologize, recover. But you can't say sorry for a slow dissolve."

"There were times when dating Tobias felt like playing Jenga. How much can I say? If I reveal this, will the whole tower collapse? If I tell him how I really feel, will that be my last turn? It was terrifying and exhilarating because every time I took another piece out and the tower stood, I felt like I'd won. What I didn't remember is that at some point in the game, the entire tower falls. It happens every single time. It is the only way the game ends. Why then did I keep playing, knowing that I would be left with rubble?"

"That's the thing about life — these moments that define us emerge out of nothing. A missed call. A trip down the stairs. A car accident. They happen in a moment, a breath."