Best Friends or Something More?
'Let Me List the Ways' by Sarah White is a breezy and engaging look at the relationship between two best friends and next-door neighbors. Mackenzie (Zie, for short) is in love with the boy next door, Nolan. Yet she continually hesitates to say anything about this to him because she fears what it will do to their relationship when he doesn't reciprocate her feelings. And she's pretty sure that that is exactly what will happen. They have a playful and extremely friendly relationship, tickling each other and walking into each other's rooms unannounced, among other things. Nolan obviously cares for her, and readers will find themselves hoping that the care he is showing really will end up amounting to the same feelings that Zie feels for him as the novel progresses.
On top of their friendship, their parents are also very close, and they have a mutual group of friends whom they hang out with quite a bit. When Nolan starts dating someone outside of their circle, Zie does her best to hide her jealousy and upset and just be nice to Erin. She even finds herself interested in another guy, Jude. But, as the majority of contemporary romances do, this story finds a way to show that the two main characters have a connection that is not necessarily to be messed with.
As they try to manage their worry about being separated when college arrives the following year, Zie and Nolan do what they do best: make a list of what they want to do together to make their last remaining months some of the best ever. This before-college bucket list takes them on adventure after adventure, from the comfort of their own backyard to farther away road trips. They know that they will always be there for each other, but wondering in just what capacity that will be is the crux of what makes this novel work so well.
It is also worth noting that Zie has diabetes, and this is brought up quite a bit throughout the story. It is understandable that diabetes can be a sometimes all-encompassing thought process, and Nolan is always there for Zie no matter the situation in order to help her deal with her shots and anything else she may need. Nolan has his own troubles, too, trying to get a baseball scholarship while dealing with an injured shoulder. They play off of each other well, but sometimes the discussion of him helping her out seemed too much. It was made clear very often that her struggles are Nolan's struggles, and a mere mention here or there throughout the remainder of the novel after the beginning would have been sufficient to explain their diabetic situation.
Sarah White has crafted a sweet and consuming story about first love, friendship, and the beauty of trying to find a way to make it all work together. This novel definitely comes recommended!