“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
The story follows Emily Hughes, an introverted senior who was looking forward to the perfect summer with her best friend Sloane. But all of a sudden, Emily visits Sloane’s house only to find it empty, no note, no goodbye. With calls and texts all going unanswered, Emily is left alone, with no one to talk to. Without her more outgoing, brighter, more confident best friend, Emily struggles to step outside of her comfort zone.
Then, a list comes in the mail: a list of thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks for Emily to complete. From “dance till dawn” to “go skinny dipping,” it seems Sloane is determined that Emily has a super exciting summer, even without her.
Thus, Emily starts to do the tasks, thinking they might lead her to her best friend, but what she doesn’t expect, is for this to be a journey of personal growth, both for herself and with some really awesome new friends.
Morgan Matson writes summers exactly how they feel, brimming with freedom, with no end in sight. I am obsessed with the way she can paint a scene so vividly, allowing the reader to immerse themselves entirely in the book. I also loved the gradual growth of Emily throughout the summer, as she becomes more and more open-minded and brave. It made me root for her as a character, and all of her newfound friends as well.
Another highlight of the book is its flashback scenes of Emily and Sloane in past summers. They allow the readers to form an understanding of Sloane as a person, so she isn’t just some anonymous absentee that Emily can’t survive without. You really see the dynamics of their past relationship, and how Emily is different then vs now.
Overall, I adore this book; it’s my favourite of Morgan Matson’s stories. There is the perfect amount of humour, teen spirit, and summer fun! As a plus, there are mini playlists scattered throughout the novel for an extra touch of fun! I would recommend this to people looking for a relatively light beach read with some cute romance 🙂
Rating: 9/10 ⭐