When your best friend defines much of your identity, no doubt you’d feel disoriented when your ‘bestie’ suddenly disappears. Emily is confronted with this troubling scenario when her best friend and stalwart companion, Sloane, and her family take off without a word. Unable to reach her friend, Emily finds herself facing a summer without a companion or a compass, left with only a letter from Sloane, a strange and unsettling list of “must do’s.” Rather than spending her days on a fruitless search for her companion she just knows she’ll feel close—and possibly find—her friend if she fulfills this unspoken obligation to their bond. The list becomes a road map for how she should spend her summer.
Emily embarks upon a life-changing journey when she accepts Sloane’s challenge. Crazy antics like “dance until dawn,” “hug a Jamie” and even “kiss a stranger” are just a few of the tasks she must complete. What she doesn’t expect to find on this journey is her voice, identity and courage that were there all along but hidden in Sloane’s shadow. The list turns out to be a treasure map, leading her to new friends, adventures, answers and yes, love.
This young adult book by Morgan Matson is actually perfect for ages teen and up. It’s meant to entertain and inspire and really make you think. How can we best embrace the quirky challenges that come our way each day? There are many positive messages peppered throughout this book including live, love, laugh, be a kid again and don’t underestimate the power of dancing until dawn.
Just a side note: This inspired me to create a summer list of challenges for one of my dearest friends to complete—and I’m a grown woman! Hmmm, maybe I should add, “kiss a stranger.” She is single after all – wink!