Emily and Sloane are best friends; they’ve been inseparable ever since Sloane moved to town two years ago. While Sloane is adventurous and outgoing, Emily is shy by nature and happy to be known simply as “Sloane’s friend.” But one day, Sloane and her family are simply gone, and Sloane isn’t answering any of Emily’s calls or texts. Emily is both shocked and completely overwhelmed — how will she survive the summer without her best friend? Then she finds a list from Sloane, a list of tasks designed to get Emily out of her comfort zone. Not knowing what else to do, Emily decideds to complete the list, hoping that once she does, Sloane will come back. Some of the tasks seem relatively harmless (“Apple picking at night”), while others seem impossible (“Kiss a stranger”). But with help from some surprising sources — including popular class president Frank Porter — Emily makes her way through the list and gains a new identity in the process.
This book is the perfect summer read! It’s got everything — friendship, humor, romance, ice cream, and a sense of infinite possibility. Reading it, I felt nostalgic for the summers I had growing up, playing with the neighborhood kids and feeling like the summer would never end. I found Emily a great, realistic character; she’s more of a follower than a leader, she’s a bit unsure of her own identity, and she relies on Sloane to provide the adventure and excitement in her life. I loved watching her grow as a person and have her own adventures. I also adored the sweet romance with Frank, who is the kind of guy I totally would have had a crush on in high school! But the relationship at the heart of the book is really the friendship between Emily and Sloane, who is an incredibly vivid character even though she’s barely on page. In fact, my only tiny quibble with the book is that I wasn’t satisfied with Sloane’s reason for disappearing on Emily. But I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great beach or vacation read this summer!