Emily has an amazing summer planned ahead for her and her best friend Sloane. They’re going to get the perfect summer job where they can chat all day, spend weekends road-tripping and of course summer romances for each of them.
But when Sloane and her family suddenly disappear, Emily is thrown into a whirlwind of hopelessness. Being the quite, shy, introvert she is, Sloane is her only connection to the social world and without her, her perfect summer plans come crashing down around her.
Then a letter shows up… a list of 13 tasks that might just lead her back to Sloane.
There is just something about Emily that is easy to connect with. Like Emily, I am a shy, introvert with difficulty stepping outside of my comfort zone. So I could empathise with the difficulty of facing novel situations on your own, and the struggle of overcoming the realisation that you don’t have someone to lean on anymore.
The supporting characters were just as delightful. Frank Porter, an unlikely potential friend for Emily, Class President, Frog Saving Environmentalist and complete Brainiac. Collins, his best friend and Dawn. Even the parents were given their own agenda’s, so while they weren’t actively involved at this particular time, which left a lot of freedom to complete her list, they weren’t absent or non-existent, as frequently seen in YA contemporaries.
Morgan Matson, has such a crisp, clear-cut way of writing. Her attention to detail is magnificent. The little aspects she adds to her characters and their lives add a sense of realism that is sometimes hard to come by in YA today. For example I loved that, Emily’s car has a sunroof with no top, and that her gas tank always reads at half a tank no matter how much gas is left, and is covered in bumper stickers from places she’s never been.
Trivial details while played down in the writing, actually play important roles later in the story. But the author doesn’t treat her audience like they’re mindless and make them obvious clues to the puzzle that we are pleasantly putting together. We’re left oblivious to their importance, until a second before it all falls into place.
While reading this novel, it just so happened to be New Year’s Eve, and I was inspired to fulfill my own list for the evening, which definitely had some activities out of my bubble of security, including doing a body shot off a stripper. And then some easier tasks like, walking home with friends from town drunk at 3am along the waterfront. While my list was a little more mature than Emily’s in some respects, there is one thing that we both shared in common... The feeling of accomplishing something so far out of your comfort zone. That kind of euphoria is addictive.
That is what this novel boils down to, learning to grow and develop by doing things you’ve never considered doing before. By pushing yourself into new roles, you can encounter so many more possibilities you didn’t think were possible.
This was the perfect inspirational novel to break in the New Year with!
My rating: 5/5