The Bucket List by Georgia Clark

This book was provided to me for free through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Have you ever read the summary of a book, expected one thing, and then gotten something very much different from what you thought it would be? That was basically my experience with reading The Bucket List by Georgia Clark.

But oh, dear readers, that was a wonderful thing.

I expected straight “chick lit.” I expected a bit of drama, a few laughs, some romance, and although I knew the book was about the breast cancer gene, I still expected it to be fairly light reading.

The reality is that this book was absolutely nothing like anything I have ever read before. Yes, it was chick lit. Yes, there was a bit of drama, a few laughs, some romance, and it was still fairly light reading. But there was SO much more. There was also a lot of sex–HOT sex–and far more depth and emotion than I expected. This is not straight-up chick lit. This is one of those rare books that I’m not quite sure how to classify, actually, and I’m not quite sure how to capture, with words, the way The Bucket List made me feel.

The Bucket List begins with Lacey Whitman receiving the news that she has tested positive for BCRA1 gene mutation, otherwise known as the “breast cancer gene.” She is presented with two options: she can choose a wait-and-see approach and get tested every few months or she can opt for a preventative mastectomy, which would reduce her chances of actually developing breast cancer to a very minimal percentage.

Lacey’s decision is a struggle for her for many reasons. She’s only 25, has a high-pressure job in the fashion industry, and doesn’t have any family to lean on for support except for a sister who resents her for having to raise her after their mother died–from breast cancer–and didn’t want her to get tested for the gene in the first place. While she weighs her options, Lacey decides to develop a “bucket list” of things she wants to do to celebrate her sexuality that she has never been brave enough to do. She wants to sunbathe topless. Have a threesome. Wear a revealing dress to a public function. Have sex in a public place.

The amazing thing about The Bucket List is that it handles a very serious and dramatic topic with truth and honesty, but it still has all the lighthearted and sexy moments that one would expect in its genre. And those sexy moments are definitely sexy–and graphic–but they don’t make the book smutty. They don’t take away from the heart of it. Instead, they serve as their own powerful moments in Lacey’s journey of self-discovery.

Meanwhile, Lacey also has to deal with work pressures, romantic problems, family drama, and squabbles with friends. Georgia Clark has done a masterful job of showing that even though life sometimes deals devastating blows, it also keeps moving forward. She portrayed Lacey’s struggle with her decision in open and honest terms and didn’t gloss over the scary or tragic parts at all.

And somehow, in the midst of it all, Clark also managed to craft a book that qualifies as chick lit while still being an intersectional feminist wonder, despite featuring a straight, white female as the lead character. The Bucket List is a powerful statement on friendship, happiness, sexuality, life, and love…all at the same time. Well done, Georgia Clark.

Rating:

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