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Amelia Peabody lives in a small town where nothing changes. And that's just fine by her. After losing her big sister, Clara, a few years ago, Amelia can't handle any more change. But when she starts eighth grade, she accidentally receives a letter that Clara had written to herself. In it, there's a list of things she'd wanted to do before the end of middle school and never finished, like get on the softball team and throw an awesome birthday party on the lake.

Amelia wonders if it's a sign from Clara. Maybe if she completed the list, her heart would stop hurting so much, and she could go back to being her old self. But as she makes her way through, Amelia finds that there's no going back, only forward. And she realizes she'll have to put her own spin on Clara's list to grow and change in the ways she needs to.

K. A. Holt's beautiful new novel is about grieving and growing up, and the ripples loss creates for a girl, a family, and a community.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-In the three years since her older sister Clara drowned in the town lake, everyone in Amelia's life seems to have coped and moved forward. Despite caring parents and a patient BFF Taylor, Amelia still feels isolated and adrift. A school mix-up provides her with a catalyst for change when Amelia is mistakenly given Clara's eighth grade to-do list instead of the one Amelia wrote for herself. Amelia's mission to overcome her own sadness by completing her sister's list provides the novel's structure; what Amelia learns about herself, her family, and her community provide the novel's heart. The list leads Amelia to reach out to Twitch, a boy who knew Clara well and whose easygoing demeanor masks heartaches of his own. Taylor and Twitch are compelling supporting characters: Taylor is an ideal friend without being idealized. But it's Twitch readers will remember for his modest courage, sharing with Amelia his perspective on coping with adversity: "We are all whiteboards that can be covered in terrible words, erased and re-covered in better words." In an economical use of language, Holt paints an authentic portrait of what it's like to live in a small town. -VERDICT More than a recovery-from-grief story, this is also a powerful coming-of-age novel. Readers will be moved and inspired. A great addition to middle grade and middle school collections.-Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
It's been three years since Amelia lost her older sister, Clara, but all too often it still feels like yesterday. On the first day of eighth grade, Amelia receives a shocking surprise at school: not the letter she wrote to her future self, but the one Clara did, containing a list of things Clara wanted to do before the end of middle school: making the softball team, asking Billy to the dance, planning an epic eighth-grade prank, and so on. Amelia takes it upon herself to complete Clara's list, which Clara herself was never able to do, in the hopes of learning more about her sister and challenging herself. In Holt's slender, emotional prose, Amelia's grief is palpable, and her fear of the lake, where Clara died, provides a strong undercurrent. Secondary characters, both juvenile and adult, provide emotional support for Amelia and add depth to the plot, though the story's time line is thinly sketched. Readers looking for a tearful read that ends with hope will not be disappointed.--Barnes, Jennifer Copyright 2018 Booklist
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