I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on December 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.
Which is where the list comes in.
Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.
This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.
Once again Kasie West has failed to disappoint! At this point I don’t even read the blurbs before picking up this author’s work because I just know I will find a story that I adore and of course that’s exactly how I felt reading this newest novel.
Abby is an artist with lots of dreams for her future. One huge stepping stone she believes will make all the difference is to join a showcase at the very museum where she works. Unfortunately her boss doesn’t think her work is quite ready. He claims her work is missing experience, heart, and a certain something to incite emotion. A little crestfallen but determined to prove her worth, Abby creates a list if life experiences she wants to accomplish that summer and who better to help her out than her best friend, Cooper.
This has all the makings of a friends to more romance, a trope I adore. Abby is very much in unrequited love for her best friend, and unlike many stories with this trope, I wasn’t sure how this would play out, if I’m being honest. Abby had attempted to share her feelings once before and when it was obvious how freaked out her friend became with her declaration, she turned it into a joke and tried to deny those feelings existed ever since. But with their other friends away for the summer, it was destined to be an obstacle for her to overcome and a life experience on her list. Cooper is dating a new girl who isn’t so keen on their close relationship and then there is Elliot, a boy with a crush on Abby and seems to be perfect for her in every way. It all got very complicated for me as the story went on. I loved the friendship between Cooper and Abby and couldn’t help but hope it would turn into something more. But at some point I sort of accepted the ‘just friends’ vibe between them. Especially when Abby starts to grow and stand up for herself in a healthy way. And of course Elliot was very sweet and patiently waiting in the background. So yeah, I was a little torn with what exactly I hoped the outcome would be and if I even wanted a romance to come from the story at all. From the outside it sounds like a love triangle sort of deal but I’m not so sure it can truly be classified as one. It’s resolution felt a little bittersweet and I don’t want to say much more without giving away the direction it went.
Besides the romance, I truly adored Abby’s list and the experiences she accomplished. She really put herself out there and tried new things, things that scared her but made her feel more alive and helped her build some confidence and strength. She has a very sarcastic personality, one she shares with her grandfather who is someone she is very close to. It wasn’t just Abby with obstacles to overcome as we meet her family and the strain on each member from the issues they face. But I was happy to see steps were being made for them all by the end.
I honestly flew through this read as I knew I would. I’m extremely excited this will be a crossover series as there are certain characters I’m hoping to meet again with their own stories to tell. Definitely worth picking up!