Books & Literature

Book Review: Someone Else’s Bucket List, by Amy T. Matthews

FICTION: In this sisterly PS, I Love You, an introverted young woman is saddled with fulfilling her late sister’s final wish: completing her bucket list while millions of people follow along online.

A delightful light read, yet with some important things to say.

Feature image credit: Florian Wehde (via Unsplash)

Jodie and Bree are sisters. And although they adore each other, they are very different: Bree is a world-travelling, adventurous Instagrammer with thousands of followers; Jodie works at a car-rental business, whilst trying to finish her degree, and generally keeping to herself. When Bree tragically dies in her mid-twenties, Jodie’s grief turns to bemusement when she discovers that Bree’s last wish was for her sister to complete her “bucket list.”

And so begins Jodie’s journey of honouring her sister, and also discovering herself. From planting trees, to making a cameo appearance in a Broadway musical, to falling in love, Jodie comes out from Bree’s shadow by fulfilling Bree’s last wishes.

Someone Else’s Bucket List is a charming and engaging read by local Adelaide-based author Amy T. Matthews. She knows how to craft a story that, while dealing with something as heavy as a 25 year-old’s cancer death, also manages to remain reasonably light. Matthews’s background in romance writing is certainly obvious, and although not a genre book, this story will happily sit on the romance shelf.

Set in the United States, one of the more serious undercurrents in this book is the appalling medical system — one which leaves people bankrupt from accessing vital healthcare. Matthews also invites us to explore the world of influencers, and their complicated relationship with big business. Yet rest assured that nothing gets didactic or evangelical, and the general lightness of this read is happily maintained.

For a novel of its type it is possibly a bit too long and unnecessarily detailed, and the exposition drags through too many chapters until it gets to the point. But then many readers will find this an enjoyably immersive ramble through someone else’s world, adding to the escapism of it all. It is certainly not a deep exploration of grief, but it doesn’t pretend to be.

Perfect for lovers of Jodi Picoult, Jo Jo Moyes et al, Someone Else’s Bucket List is a great beach read, or an excellent choice for the older YA reader.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster
Released: January 2024
RRP: $32.99

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