But Emily’s mum’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer, and nothing has felt right since.
Now, the summer before her senior year, things are worse than ever – Emily has wrecked things with her boyfriend, Matt, and her dad is selling the house she grew up in and giving her mum’s belongings away. The only person she has to talk to is Blake, a girl she barely knows since she and her dad moved back to town five seconds ago.
But that’s when Emily finds the list – her mum’s senior year summer bucket list – buried in the back of her closet. When Blake suggests that Emily take it on as a challenge, the two set off on a journey to tick each box and help Emily face her fears over losing her connection to her mum. As she starts to feel closer to her mother, so too does Emily’s bond with Blake deepen into something she wasn't expecting.
And suddenly Emily must face another fear: accepting the secret part of herself she never got a chance to share with the person who knew her best.
* Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children's UK for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *
I was not prepared for how much I was going to enjoy The Lucky List; the characters were so earnest and genuine they won me over very quickly. I haven't had a lot of luck with ARCs and YA lately, so this was a delightfully easy and enjoyable read.
Emily is struggling with a lot; her mother has passed away, she's on the outs with her boyfriend, and she's hiding truths about herself from her friends that she can't even admit to herself. Now, her best friend is away at summer camp, her dad keeps getting rid of her mother's belongings, and they're moving away from the home she grew up in. Luckily, a family friend is moving back to town, and Blake may be just the person to help Emily deal with these overwhelming emotions.
Emily and Blake's reunion and the growth of their friendship is sweet and innocent. They're supportive of each other without judgement and seem to know how far to encourage sharing and change without pushing too far. I loved getting to know them as they got to know each other and enjoyed the writing style that allowed this to happen naturally.
The Lucky List is a refreshing addition to the coming-of-age LGBTQIA+ genre with a rarely told story of discovering your own sexuality and accepting yourself despite (both real and perceived) familial and societal pressures. With a slow burn romance and a small town setting, there's a lot to love about this book.