Published by Simon & Schuster (5.16.2014)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 449 pages
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um...
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?
I was kind of bored through most of this book, honestly. The parts where Emily was doing things on the list were fun, but other than that the prose was very…mundane. I’m not a big fan of contemporaries because of the fact that it’s everyday things you’re reading about, and I personally don’t want to read about what someone does in their daily routine. To me, it’s Snoresville. So when I do decide to pick up a contemporary, I need the writing to really grab me. Make me feel. Matson’s writing just didn’t do that for me.
I didn’t actually get invested in this book until the last quarter. It finally started to pick up a bit. I loved the skinny dipping scene, it was hilarious! I was also getting more and more curious about what really happened to Sloane. I had some theories – View Spoiler »first was that she made friends and left them behind all the time when she moved, since she had some random “best” friends from her past that she refused to talk about. But when Emily was at Sloane’s house at the party and someone mentioned a will, I started to wonder if Sloane had died (and had cancer or something and she knew she was going to die, hence the list). I think that would have made for a more gripping ending, to be honest… « Hide Spoiler It was nice to finally find out, but it didn’t really satisfy me much. It left me with the feeling “that’s it?”
It wasn’t a bad read, though. I can certainly see why so many people loved it. I did really enjoy the list and the journey Emily took in crossing everything off. There was a lot of fun stuff in there, and I liked how most of it was outside of Emily’s comfort zone. Sloane gave her things to do that would bring her out of her shell and get her to really live. I totally want to do some of the crazy stuff Emily did!
I also was surprised by how much I enjoyed the romance. The fact that they were JUST friends, and were totally convinced that’s all they were, until BAM! they weren’t anymore, really struck a chord with me because I recently went through that with my current boyfriend. So despite my lack of investment in the majority of the story, I really felt the connection between Emily and Frank. (Terrible name, by the way…) They grew closer and closer, were best friends, and then one day Emily realized that he wasn’t just a friend. There was a very slow development and it was perfect! Definitely the kind of romance I want to read more of!
“I don’t think you have to do something big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
“You’re the brightest thing in the room. You shine.”
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5