While trying to complete her bucket list of 30 things to do before she turns 30, a woman grapples with grief and a burgeoning romance.
Jo Walker has been a yacht stewardess for 5 years, spending months at a time ferrying the superrich across the seas. While Jo loves her job and the crew, her desire to get out of her comfort zone leads her to start a 30-by-30 project, complete with a blog to document it all. What started as a fun pastime, however, has fallen by the wayside since her 11-year-old nephew, Samson—with whom she shared a birthday and a special connection—was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike. But when her nieces, Mia and Kitty, unexpectedly arrive to spend the summer with her, they insist on helping Jo check off the final few items on her list. It’s clear that both girls are struggling without Samson, so Jo agrees to their scheme in an attempt to distract them. While checking off No. 5 on the list—kiss a stranger—Jo meets Alex, a handsome man she sparks with but never expects to see again. That is, until she meets her new neighbors—Alex and his energetic daughter, Greyson. And then again when Alex turns up as the new chef on the yacht. As the girls—all three of whom are scene-stealers, precocious and intelligent yet complexly drawn—become fast friends and romance between Jo and Alex seems inevitable, long-hidden emotions bubble over and promise to change all of them forever. Ruiz captures the complexities of grief and guilt through many different lenses—loss of a parent, loss of a child, loss of a sibling, abandonment through death but also by choice—and tackles them all with sensitivity and skill.
Readers are sure to fall for this heartwarming and emotional novel.