From Publishers Weekly
Smolinski follows up her debut, Flip-Flopped
, with an airy, hit and mostly miss novel about one rudderless woman's accidental journey of self-discovery. After a Weight Watchers meeting, narrator June Parker offers a ride home to newly svelte Marissa Jones, and the two hit it off until Marissa dies in a nasty one-car accident. When June runs into Marissa's hot brother at the cemetery six months after the crash, she makes a rash promise to carry out the dead girl's list of 20 things to do before she turned 25 (even though June is 34). The challenges that follow—running a 5K, kissing a stranger, "dare to go braless"—serve less to improve June's life than to highlight how unfortunate it is that she's taken up a stranger's goals instead of her own. Smolinski's Los Angeles is a well-executed set—June tilts at windmills as a writer for a ride-sharing nonprofit—but the most human characters in it are June's tyrannical and calculating boss and her secretly sensitive, underused brother. Though completing the list is a transformative experience for June, the leadup fizzles.
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June Parker's life is meandering along until a freak car accident leaves Marissa, her 24-year-old passenger, dead and June wracked with guilt. June discovers a list Marissa had been keeping of 25 things she wanted to do by the time she turned 25. After a run-in with Marissa's brother, June resolves to complete the list. Kissing a total stranger and throwing away her scale prove far easier than pitching an idea at work or changing someone's life. But June approaches the list with aplomb, daring to speak up about being passed over for a manager position, and becoming a Big Sister to a quiet, studious Latina teen named DeeDee. But when June uncovers a secret of DeeDee's, she realizes changing someone else's life might involve changing her own as well. Clever and winning, Smolinski's novel will have readers rooting for June as they eagerly turn the pages to keep up with her progress on the list. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved