Phoebe Henderson decides that because it’s the new year, it’s time for her to try something new. Determined to get over her loser ex-boyfriend after mooning over him for close to a year, she comes up with a list of 10 things she wants to try over the course of a year. The 10 things are all sex-related things she’s always been interested in but has never had the guts to attempt. Over the course of the year, Phoebe embarks on a journey of self-discovery, learning things about herself and her friends she never dreamed possible.
An impulse grab just before checking out at the library, Joanna Bolouri’s The List was a delight from start to finish. Funny, frank, and absolutely unafraid to go to weird places, this is a laugh-out-loud trip through one woman’s quest of sexual discovery. It’s compulsively readable, smart, and wholly entertaining.
Phoebe’s voice is well-developed, and the repartee she shares with her best friend (and friend-with-benefits) Oliver is pitch perfect. Her other friendships are well-defined, and the interactions she shares with them throughout the course of the book lend the story a warmth and authenticity that helps make the entire plot all the more believable. There’s quick, witty banter in these pages, guaranteed to entertain readers looking for whip-smart dialogue.
Although the novel hews fairly closely to the tropes of rom-coms the world over, it does so in a fresh way. There are few actual surprises to be found here, but there are a lot of genuinely funny one-liners and observations about sex, dating, and life in your thirties. This is pure reading pleasure, and readers looking for fun summer escapism won’t be disappointed. I loved this one.
The List by Joanna Bolouri. Quercus: 2015. Library copy.