The Weekend Bucket List
by Mia Kerick
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction/Coming of Age (LGBTQ)
Release Date: April 19th 2018
Duet Books, YA imprint of Interlude
High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.
There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?
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I’m Cady: A Monologue by Mia Kerick
Sometimes I feel like nobody gets me.
Let’s start with my parents… Mom is great but she’s a little bit broken, thanks to some of the stuff my brother Bradley did in over the past few years in high school. She tries so hard to make us the perfect family. I don’t think she knows that there aren’t any perfect families. So far, I’ve lived the life she wants me to live—I tried to be the perfect kid to make up for my twin brother’s mistakes. You know, to make up for the pain he caused. I can’t handle seeing Mom hurt any more, but I’m a regular kid, too. I need to try things out, to do things wrong, to learn stuff for myself, maybe even the hard way. She looks at everything I do from the perspective of how it will affect and reflect on her. She just doesn’t understand.
In many ways, Dad’s separate from the rest of us. He doesn’t talk too much about how he feels or ask about how we feel. He just wants to be what he calls “the man of the house.” What he means is he wants to be the one in charge of everybody’s destinies. He wants to be respected and never questioned and be able to tell us what to do and how to do it. I think he loves us as much as Mom does, but he wants the job of raising a family to be simple, and it’s just not. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be me—trying to be perfect but needing to be real.
My brother Bradley was my favorite person in the world until we hit high school. We just got each other completely and had each other’s backs. Being with him was always perfect, which you probably don’t believe, but it was. I don’t trust many people with my thoughts, but I trusted Bradley. It killed me when he started to go his own way, and to leave me behind. But it hurt even worse because the places he went were dangerous—he’d started to drink alcohol and use drugs. The tighter I held onto him, the more quickly he slipped away from me. And losing him changed me into a person I’m not sure I always like. I became kind of paranoid that I’d be left alone, without anyone I could truly relate to. Now he’s home from rehab and things are getting better. But it’s been tough at times because he’s so devoted to his new sober life that he looks at everything through rehab-tinted glasses. I want him to see me as his sister and his friend, and not just as a person who is in danger of making the same mistakes he made. Even if sometimes I am. We have a lack of communication, but a lot of it is my fault, at this point.
Now let’s take a look at my two best friends:
I’ll start with Eli. He really isn’t the kind of guy to judge me, which lets us get on the same page pretty easily. But sometimes I think he looks up to me too much because I’m smart at school. And he admires that I’m maybe a little bit bossy, where he isn’t bossy at all. Eli says, “Cady, you aren’t large, but you sure are in charge.” In other words, I say just exactly what I think and tell people how I think it should be. I’ve got strong opinions—it’s not a crime. But I really don’t mean to intimidate Eli. I won’t explode in to a million pieces if I don’t get my way—seriously, it won’t happen. I wish that, at least every once in a while, Eli would stand up to me and tell me, “It’s not gonna happen like that, Cady.” Overall, he’s such a sweet guy and an awesome friend, and I’m so glad I met him. But he doesn’t get that he shouldn’t be so intimidated by me.
Finally, there’s Cooper. We have a pretty complicated relationship. Best friends for years… sure, that’s a fact. But there’s also the attraction component that throws a wrench in the “we’re just friends” thing. Cooper means everything to me. He’s smart and cool and funny. We’ve been together so much for so long that we’re like, two sides of the same person. Except when we’re not. It’s awkward and scary to feel attraction to your best friend. It’s risky, too, because if you try to go romantic and it all goes downhill, can you ever reverse it? And so a few months ago I started staring at Cooper… a lot. I know he’s aware of it because he turns pink when I do it. But I can’t stop—I’m trying to figure him out. To figure us out. Sometimes I think he feels the same way about me—confused, because he’s a little bit into me—but everybody, and I mean everybody just assumes he’s gay. Which is not really fair at all, is it? It’s up to him to decide if he’s gay, or bi, or whatever. Maybe I don’t get him either. Maybe I’m just thinking of what I want from him, and not about letting him decide what’s right for him. All I know is that our friendship is pretty spectacular, and no matter what, it needs to last forever. We used to be on the exact same page, but sometimes, lately, it feels like we’re in different chapters.
And then there’s Daisy, my loyal cat. She gets me, pretty much all the time. She understands certain direct commands and when I need somebody to listen to me, Daisy gives me the time of day. Sometimes it’s painful because if I want her to stay I have to let her knead her paws on my belly. But we manage to work it out because she gets me, you know?
You can meet Cady LaBrie, her family and friends… and Daisy the cat, in The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick.
A Note from the Author
I wrote The Weekend Bucket List because, although friendship is an exquisitely fine art, in our society it is undervalued. Much of the popular culture geared toward teens—books, movies, music, and more—grooms them to feel incomplete without a boyfriend or girlfriend—their mandatory “other half.” Romantic love is supposed to be what all teens should want—the end-all and be-all of relationships—but a committed bond of friendship is no consolation prize. Friendship is compelling in a different way than romantic love—it is precious and rare and is earned through patience, understanding, forgiveness, laughter, and love.
In fact, there are times when friendship can be a more meaningful and worthwhile vessel for deep feeling. Best friends Cady, Cooper, and Eli need one another and can no more live apart than could Romeo and Juliet! The three teens struggle to understand their individual sexualities and to discover the roles they will play in each other’s lives, but they find a way to be together. As they grapple with their feelings, they learn to be honest. They decide to forgive each other’s mistakes when walking away would be easier. They become a family of choice. And they complete each other.
If this isn’t a love story, I don’t know what is. But it isn’t a romance.
If you choose to read and review The Weekend Bucket List, please be aware that it strays from my usual path of touching YA romance, but not from the direction of a poignant love story. Friendship is just a different kind of love.
Bonus: I’m pretty sure you’ll laugh, and it’s possible you’ll cry.
About the Author
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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