Rachael Lippincott, coauthor of #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart, weaves a captivating, heartfelt love story about learning who you are, and who you love, when the person you’ve always shared yourself with is gone. And there’s nothing like an adventurous coming-of-age story to escape the summer heat! In honor of Pride Month, we’re excited to feature Rachel as a Guest Editor to highlight her new book The Lucky List.
Emily and her mom were always lucky. Every month they’d take her lucky quarter, select lucky card 505, and dominate the bingo night in their small, quirky town of Huckabee. But Emily’s mom’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer. Now, the summer before her senior year, Emily’s lost her boyfriend and her dad is selling the house she grew up in. The only person she has to talk to about it is her dad’s best friend’s daughter, Blake, a girl she barely knows. But then Emily finds her mom’s senior year summer bucket list. When Blake suggests that Emily take it on as a challenge, the two set off to tick each box. Emily finally begins to feel closer to mom again, but her bond with Blake starts to deepen into something she wasn’t expecting. Suddenly Emily must face another fear: accepting the secret part of herself she never got a chance to share with the person who knew her best.
Rachael Lippincott is the coauthor of All This Time, #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart, and She Gets the Girl and the author of The Lucky List. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Pennsylvania with her wife and their dog, Hank.
We talked with Rachel Lippincott about checking off the book’s bucket list items was an escape for her, and the books she’s reading now. Want more? Don’t forget to check out our Ten Book Challenge: Rachel Lippincott’s Book-It List for the 10 books that have influenced her the most.
What was the inspiration behind The Lucky List?
The Lucky List was my attempt at capturing the magic and transformation that can happen over those three summer months outside of school. Emily, the main character, perfectly encapsulates that as she is able to go from such a low point in her life to the person she so desperately wants to be through duplicating her late mother’s summer bucket list.
Was there any part of the story, as you wrote it, that surprised you?
I think probably just how much I needed this book. I drafted and revised most of it last year, in the midst of the pandemic, and having these sun-soaked pages to escape to really got me through all that chaos and uncertainty.
What was your favorite activity on the list—and have you done all of them yourself?
In the month leading up to the release, my wife and I duplicated a bunch of items off the list. While I had a ton of fun getting a new tattoo, I think the best thing we did was just getting out of town. We’re fully vaxxed, and we drove to NYC and spent a fun 16 hours there before turning around and heading home. After the past year, it felt pretty amazing to just be going somewhere, and to be in a place that wasn’t our house.
If I really think about it, within the book, that’s probably the best item too. When Emily leaves the borders of her small town behind, if only just for a little while, it truly helps her come into her own in a lot of ways and solidifies a lot of the discoveries she’s made about herself over the course of the summer and completing the list.
What do you feel is the biggest departure in The Lucky List from your other books?
I think a lot of the themes are pretty similar. Living life to the fullest, being true to yourself, falling in love, healing from grief. I think the biggest departure is probably just that it’s a book starring an LGBTQ+ character.
Can we expect to see The Lucky List optioned for film, as your other books?
I don’t know! Here’s hoping!
The pandemic has caused many to rekindle, or discover, a love of reading in order to cope with less socialization. What books or authors have you been reading recently to transport you outside of your physical reality and into the magic of the written word?
Absolutely! I read so many books that did just that. A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey, The Truth Project by Dante Medema, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley, and Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson. Reading has definitely been the perfect escape over the course of this pandemic.