SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever. Hellogiggles.com says, “Basically I couldn’t be more in love with this book,” from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.
Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell.
But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?
Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.
Go Skinny Dipping? Um…
Goodreads Rating: 4.21/5 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Seeing as this is probably one of my last reads of 2016, it was definitely a good book to end the year with! I also haven’t had the chance to read a contemporary novel in a while, so I’m really glad I just happened to pick this up when I ran to the store the other day. (I had a bit of a end-of-semester crisis and ended up buying three books when all I needed was medicine and Christmas presents, but that’s a whole different story.) This was a heartwarming tale of friendship, summer adventure, and a new chapter in a girl’s life. It was also my first Morgan Matson novel, and I’m definitely glad I chose this one to read.
I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to really warm up to this book and get into it. But once I did get into it, man, did the pages just fly by. I’m not even joking, I sat down on my futon and read this book for a solid three hours and finished it. I’m not sure what it is that finally drew me deeply into the novel – was it that I was finally relating to the characters? Did the premise of the book finally draw me in? I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is that this was an amazing book that made me nostalgic for my high school days (even though it’s only been a year and a half since I was last there).
My friend Michaela and I both read this book this weekend, and as we were talking about it she reminded me how important the message of the book was. These days, most contemporary novels are geared towards the girl getting her amazing high school romance (whether during the school year or the summer) and sometimes they will focus on family issues. But this is one of the first books that I’ve read that’s really focused on the importance of friendships. And it wasn’t focused on the importance of friendships, but the importance of fighting for a friendship.
This book deals with many things that all girls struggle with – losing friendships, starting new friendships, finding a job, maintaining normalcy, and more. Since I’m still in my teenage years (for another six months), I felt that this book also dealt with finding your identity during a hard time. While Emily was in a very unique situation (through the use of the list), she was still finding herself and seeking out the truth of where her friend had disappeared to without a word.
However, if there was one thing I wished we had more of, that would be the ending. It ended rather abruptly for me, and we didn’t get complete resolution for all of the conflict that occurred towards the end of the novel. I was left with some more questions than answers (for spoilers sake, I won’t get into all of the details), but I was also strangely satisfied with how Morgan let the story stand. Although I may have desired more character and conflict resolution, the story also ended on a happy and content note, and that is also something that I am happy with.
In the end, this book led me to reflecting on myself and my own past, while also feeling thankful for the message that Morgan Matson left for the readers. I can’t wait to dig into some of her other books and see what else she has in store for me!
“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
― Morgan Matson,