By Morgan Matson
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Simon & Schuster
on May 6, 2014
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
This is my first Morgan Matson book, and now I’m dying to read her others! I loved this book! I feel like I’ve been on a good contemporary kick lately, which is pretty unusual for me, but maybe it’s because I feel like warmer weather is coming and these books are summery and fun and romantic.
Emily reminded me so much of myself. I understood where she was coming from when she talked about being known more for being Sloane’s best friend than as herself, and how she was happy to let Sloane be the one who did the talking and made the plans. When I was a teenager, there was a comfort in part of my identity being linked with my friend’s, and as someone who has always been shy and introverted, I usually wound up friends with extroverts who were happy to lead while I was happy to go along.
However, Sloane’s disappearance – sudden, unexpected, and without explanation – disrupts Emily’s world. She suddenly has no one to spend the summer with, but when she discovers the list Sloane sent her, she thinks that maybe conquering the list will help her find Sloane. As she worked on the list, Emily came out of her shell and made new friends, friends who were not Sloane and who saw Emily as Emily, not as Sloane’s BFF.
One of those friends was Frank Porter – intelligent, student council president, likely valedictorian, and not single. Frank and Emily begin a friendship that was sweet and funny, and there were definitely sparks between them. I loved Frank! He helped Emily work through the list, and watching her conquer the items one by one was wonderful. Emily became brave and independent over the course of the summer, and by the end, I was totally inspired by her growth. Even now, well out of high school, I am someone who over-thinks, over-analyzes, constantly worries, and reading Emily’s story showed me that I want to be unabashedly me and come out of my shell like Emily does.
This was a perfect reading experience: the book was funny, poignant, gave me the swoons, and I just saw so much of myself in Emily. This is definitely a must-read.