~~Received this book in Bookcon 2014~~
Synopsis: 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?
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Cover: This cover is very light and fun to look at. It reminds me of everything that summer is about and makes me want to follow a list of random challenges like Emily during her summer.
My thoughts: Emily and Sloane are both opposites when it comes to their personality. Sloane is outgoing and able to make friends instantly while Emily is reserved and shy around others. When they both unexpectedly become best friends over two years, there is no separating them. They share dear memories and are constantly by each other’s sides no matter what. So when Sloane mysteriously disappears, Emily’s world is crashing down. How is she supposed to have the fun summer she had planned without her best friend?
The only piece of Sloane left behind is a list given to Emily that urges her to step out of her comfort zone and live a little. There are thirteen challenges on the list Emily tries to complete in hopes it would somehow lead to her finding her best friend again. At first, quiet Emily tries to get through the random tasks Sloane knows will bring her out of her shell she has built around herself. With the unexpected help from Frank Porter, junior class-president and all around helpful guy, Emily learns more about herself and creates friendships with each assignment she crosses off her summer to-do list.
I loved this book so much. It is the perfect summer read that is light and fluffy and all around a fun story to dive into. I really enjoyed seeing Emily find herself as she completes tasks even though she was introverted at the beginning. Emily’s eccentric family obsessed with writing plays was also another amusing part of the book to read about their quirks that made the story show a close knit relationships. I also enjoyed seeing occasional flashbacks which showed Sloane and Emily’s strong friendship before Sloane disappeared. Over the course of the summer, Emily learns to make new friends and create new memories with the most outgoing people she never expected to even talk to. Every task challenged Emily to do the unexpected and take a leap of faith to see what might happen when she takes a chance.
Another thing especially loved was Emily’s easy going friendship with Frank who introduced her to new music and passionately helped her cross of challenges on her list. There was never a dull moment in this book full of amusement, adventures, and laughter thanks to Emily and the supporting characters in this story. It showed the deep friendship between Emily and Sloane even if she had already disappeared and it showed that friendship can change you for the better no matter how far apart you are.
Though I did wish some of the minor relationships had a bit of closure at the end of the novel, everything else wrapped up nicely. I wished I saw Emily’s new friends connect with her more a bit towards the end, but all together, this novel was light and a nice summer read. I really enjoyed every quirky character and Emily’s encounters with strangers that did help her become a strong character willing to face the world head on. Her character was closed off at first, but with the help of Sloane’s summer list, Frank Porter, and unlikely friends met along the way, Emily blossomed into an independent person who knew just what she wanted at the end of the day. I highly recommend this novel to those who are lovers of contemporary, romance, and friendship books that are unable to be put down.