Start Here

Simon Pulse/S. & S./. Aug. 2019. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481479912.
Gr 9 Up–Willa, Taylor, and Finley had plans to spend the summer after high school graduation sailing from Sandusky, OH, to Key West, FL, in an old sailboat they purchased two years earlier. Finley is better friends with the other two than they are with each other, and she knows that her time with them is limited. Finley’s 13-year battle against cancer is over. But before she is gone, she sets up the trip for Willa and Taylor—with 14 instructions—knowing that they will need this journey more than ever. What follows is a story both heartbreaking and hopeful as the two girls try to define themselves and their friendship without the one person who held them together. While there are love interests mentioned, the focus of the book is on female friendships and how the two girls navigate life in the wake of grief. The story is told in alternating point-of-view chapters from the two protagonists. Each character is well-drawn and the story is authentic. Neither Willa nor Taylor are perfect and not everything turns out OK, because that’s how real life goes.
VERDICT A great summer read combining a story of friendship, soul-searching, and an epic road trip. Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen.

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