Author: Erin Downing
Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…
The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn’t just any list; it’s a dead girl’s bucket list.
Sophie’s beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can’t help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?
As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy’s list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together…when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.
Sophie is your regular good senior – doesn’t get into trouble, doesn’t take risks, friends with the good crowd and she doesn’t even go to her neighbor’s party. Well, her neighbor is no other than Johnny Rush, incoming college freshman, which she’s been crushing on for so long. Sophie’s friends with the overachiever Grace and artistic Ella. One day, she discovers a list of dares in her car’s glove box, which was previously owned by her late Aunt Suzy. She now takes on doing everything listed on the list, living her aunt’s life for her, and enlists her bestfriends into it. Sophie gets into this list too much, causing a rift with both her bestfriends. Meanwhile, she gets closer to Johnny Rush, but Johnny has a girlfriend. Uh-oh. Will Sophie’s senior year rock or tank?
What kind of name is Johnny Rush, you might say. When I first encountered his name, I balked at the idea. Why would Erin Downing name him like this? But it was for good because Erin does meta on us and actually says it, Johnny Rush sounds like a p*rn star name. Haha! I was laughing when I read that because, way to go, Erin! Give your character that kind of name and make your characters know and say what the readers are thinking. Hee. Smart, so smart. I love meta.
I enjoyed this book maybe because I love contemporary YA in general. It was cohesively written and the characters’ dialogue sounded normal. Teenspeak, as I would say. The dialogues weren’t stilted and we all know dialogue can make or break novels, am I right? Moreover, this book touches a lot of issues such as friendship, love, death, family, college, break-ups, daredevilry and breaking out of your shell. In general, I could have really liked this book, if not for the characters.
Johnny was the only character I like. Probably my most hated characteristic of all time is being self-centered. When characters go “it’s all about me” on me, I just can’t symphatize with them. Sophie, Grace and Ella irked me at times with their self-centeredness. I mean, of course, their friendship must first be tested in order for it to be stronger but meh, isn’t there any other way? Sigh. I hate Ian too and I know that is his purpose but gah, I hate controlling men and then the women who lets them. I mean, come on, girls!
It doesn’t help that Johnny kinda rocks in the personality department so it’s just the contrast is starkingly evident. I do like that Grace and Ella had their own issues and problems to solve so they didn’t feel like too much of sidekicks. But then, they are also stock characters so they didn’t appeal to me as much. Plus, Johnny, while being playful, was truly mature and he always did the right thing, with Sophie and with himself. I truly adore this guy.
The cover’s kinda inaccurate as Johnny, I think, is blonde. The guy’s hair length’s right though. I seriously believe that the cover needs a do-over as it doesn’t relate much to the story. Plus, eeeep, is it just me or their kiss or at least that moment in their kiss doesn’t look too appealing?
But I could say that I didn’t expect the giant reveal. Maybe I wasn’t focused enough while reading but I had no idea. But I kinda felt something was wrong with how Sophie described how her family reacts towards her aunt’s death. Just not enough to put two and two together.
I do admit that the way Erin Downing mentioned the title in the story and how it relates owned you suckas out there. Love it. And gah, that kiss, SO HOT. So freaking hot. Plus points for that and all the other sweet things Johnny said and did, which made me squeal like a dolphin. Just a sample of all the sweet things Johnny says: “I left for me, Sophie, but I came back for you.” Eeeeeeeekkk! My panties just fell. And wee, the ending! BFFs forever!
Overall, a nice read, with parts sweet, deep and irritating. Haha! I recommend this to anyone who wants to read something simple, something to unwind with. Yeap, this is not a stressful read and we all need that once in a while, right?
Once again, thank you Erin for the copy!