Morgan Matson is fantastic. She writes YA contemporary stories that sneak up on your heart and wind their fingers around it. She seems to really understand what it’s like to be 17 and not to know who you are, what you want, and where you are headed. It makes all of her stories so interesting, because they are painfully human. The characters make mistakes and have to try to overcome them. They’re not all strong, but they learn how to be stronger. It makes for very interesting reads.
I always think I will start one of her stories and read a bit each night, but they suck me in, which was why I was up until 5:00 AM reading this story about a shy girl named Emily, who’s best friend, Sloane, mysteriously disappears the summer before their senior year, leaving behind a To Do list of things Emily should try to do without her, fun things, like dance until dawn and sleep under the stars, and much scarier things for Emily like kiss a stranger and go skinny dipping.
Emily is so lost without Sloane that she tries to tackle the list, despite how much the tasks scare her. She hopes that if she finishes the list, it will bring her friend back. The best things about this story are the friendships and the way Emily comes to see herself as someone who is so much more than “that girl who hangs out with Sloane.”
PS: If you haven’t read any Morgan Matson, then you should also check out Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.