Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 1/24/13
Source: Received from author for review
Can eighteen things save a life?
Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.
Then Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible. When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.
All she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her.
But there's more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.
There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.
Hi, I'm Courtney and I am 100% a sap. Of course I cried like a baby during the prologue. And again by 20%. The scene of the accident and after at the hospital just broke my heart. It was written beautifully, and I felt a hundred different things during it. Andrea thought this was hilarious, of course! Olga dealing with her grief, her regret, and her guilt was a really a compelling story from the get go, and hooks you fast.
I found this story refreshing and right for me at the right time, because it is probably the most young adult book I have read in quite a while. I read mostly new adult, and know what it's really about, I promise, so hopefully you understand what I mean. 18 Things to me is a true coming of age story in living life to the fullest and not holding onto things that you feel because you never know where life is going to take you.
I am also a huge sucker for stories with fantastic secondary characters. Ayres didn't disappoint me one bit with Olga's circle of friends know as the Jedi Order. (Did I mention I freaking love Star Wars? No? Well, I freaking LOVE Star Wars, so thank you.) I digress...Nicole, Kyle, Sean, Tammy, and the new guy Nate complete a reconvened version of the Order and all bring complements of sorts to the story and to Olga in helping her heal from losing Connor. I especially enjoyed the transformation of Tammy. She was the big bad mean girl in the beginning and the scene where they finally hash it out was just awesome.
Nate is dealing with his own accident and issues and Olga meets him at her grief counseling appointment. They quickly discover a unique friendship and his confidence and try anything once attitude really helps Olga develop her life list, and have the guts to complete the tasks. I loved him, and he became my favorite thing in a book guy when he became the lead singer of The Cantankerous Monkeys. I know, you can't help but giggle at the ridiculousness of the name, but apparently that was Connor for you.
Sometimes I got frustrated with Olga and her aversion to giving in to liking Nate because she didn't want to degrade her love for Connor. I mean, she never even told him she loved him or had anything with him at all. I had to think about what I would feel and how I might behave if I lost my best friend and I was the only person there to try to save their life. Saying the words don't mean much, but the writing put it in better perspective for me.
I knocked off a star because I was utterly confused by the ending. It fit, kind of, once I read the prologue and the plan for the second book called 18 Truths, but after close to 90% of the story one way I was totally pushed off the cliff with the twist at the end. I'm not entirely sure that it was necessary, but at the end of the day this is not my story to tell. I am still a fan, and definitely will be looking for 18 Truths release date.
I held up my hands. "I'm not judging, just curious. It's your life and I respect that." Shaking my head, I continued, "I can't believe I spent most of high school stereotyping you as a simple-minded, snobby, backstabbing cheerleader." She took one last drag, then stomped out her cigarette on the ground. "Girl, neither can I. I mean I only stole your prom date, threatened to light you on fire, and slapped you in the face."
We laughed until our faces flushed.
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