A bucket list leads to a summer of self-discovery.
After an incident at junior prom leads to a breakup with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Emily is having the worst summer ever. Her best friend’s away at camp, none of her other friends are talking to her, and since her dad’s selling their house to downsize, she’s afraid of losing memories of her mom, who died of cancer three years ago. But things turn around as she strikes up an easy friendship with Blake, the daughter of her dad’s best friend who recently moved back to town. While Blake, whose own mother died when she was a newborn, is helping her pack up her mom’s closet, Emily comes across the bucket list her mom made when she was Emily’s age—and she decides to complete the items in hopes it will help her feel closer to her mom. As the two take on adventures around town, Emily starts questioning her feelings of attraction to Blake. A countdown to finishing the list before a class trip keeps the pacing solid, and an entertaining unraveling of connections to her parents’ pasts adds nice depth. Told in Emily’s first-person narration, the breezy tale explores the theme of learning to live life without holding back, as Emily both questions her sexuality and learns to heal from her grief. Most characters default to White; Blake has a White dad, and her mom was Japanese.
A truly charming summer romp.(Fiction. 12-18)