Best friends Cady (a girl) and Cooper (a boy) have a list of activities to complete the weekend before graduation, but it doesn’t include forming a lifelong friendship with a stranger.
The list entails skinny-dipping, getting drunk, having a first kiss, and other activities the duo believes their high school peers have already accomplished. When they drag gorgeous high school dropout/carny Eli into their weekend as an unwitting first-kiss object, they expect him to vanish from their lives as quickly as he appeared. Instead, Eli wants real friendship. The true goals behind the bucket list are for Cooper to define his sexual orientation and, subsequently, for him and Cady to clarify their relationship—and the fallout from the resulting complications involves Eli. While the trio’s alternating first-person narration is peppered with entertaining one-liners, their reactions and choices become less believable as the story progresses. Also unfortunate is Eli’s lack of agency and the way tomboyish Cady is pitted against girly girls. Although Cady and Cooper do confront how they’ve used Eli, they don’t truly come to terms with how they’ve objectified him, a human being chosen as a kissing subject solely for the good looks on which the other two hyperfocus. Eli is brown-skinned while Cady and Cooper are white.
A story about platonic love that doesn’t quite satisfy. (Fiction. 13-17)