Review: Someone Else's Bucket List by Amy T Matthews

Adelaide based author Amy T Matthews' latest offering is a tale of grief in highly unusual circumstances. Readers will find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster as they meet Bree--sunny, optimistic, determined and hugely popular online. Bree is an influencer of sorts. Or, a professional poser, as her younger and much more introverted sister Jodie puts it. Anyway, the reader meets Bree in sad circumstances. She is in hospital, battling leukaemia and it's Thanksgiving--a holiday that she will not be spending at home with her beloved family this year. Her only hope is a bone marrow transplant from Jodie. Fast forward one year. It is Thanksgiving once again, and Jodie and her family are grieving the loss of Bree. The transplant was not a success and the family find themselves facing absolutely crippling medical debts. Then comes the plot twist. Before she passed, Bree brokered a deal with a corporate sponsor that if Jodie completes the unfinished items on her bucket list, that company will pay off all of Bree's debts--and they'll pay an amount toward the debts of everyone on Bree's hospital ward. The list is well out of Jodie's comfort zone. But to complete it--with the help of an overbearing corporate sponsor--means having the chance to grieve for her sister and to get her family out of debt. 

As I stated at the beginning of my review, this one is an emotional roller coaster. A reader would have to have a heart of stone not to feel something for Jodie and the situation in which she has been placed. It is interesting watching as the story plays out--I found myself watching as Jodie made the best of things and grew as a person, while feeling disgusted at the corporate greed and the exploitive nature of their sponsorship. The author gives an interesting glimpse into the life of an influencer and how things are manufactured to appear a certain way online. My only real grumbles about this one is that when I opened the novel, I didn't realise that it would be set in the United States (the author lives in my hometown, Adelaide, and I may have tricked myself into believing that I was getting something set in Australia). The first hundred or so pages are extremely sad. Overall though, the novel offers an original concept that is fitting for the times we live in.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of Someone Else’s Bucket List.

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