The Getaway List | Emma Lord


Coming January 23, 2024, from Wednesday Books; 320 pages

About the Author: “Emma Lord (she/her) is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, a whole lot of love, and copious amounts of grilled cheese. Her books include Tweet Cute, You Have a Match, and When You Get the Chance” (Bio from the publisher’s website).

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“It turns out I am not a royal burdened with ancient power or a knight infiltrating a distant realm with a dark secret, but just Riley. Powerless and ordinary and unsure of myself.”

Riley Larson has a record of mischief and is uncertain what her next steps will be after graduation. She was rejected from all the colleges she applied to and has been lost since her best friend Tom moved to Manhattan after freshman year. Before the move, the duo started building The Getaway List—a checklist of made-up adventures—to accomplish once reunited and make up for lost time. Riley’s first decision after the rejections is to visit Tom in New York, much to her mom’s disapproval. The pair tackles the list, everything from taking an immersive writing workshop to seeing a favorite band play live, forging a new group of friends along the way. Riley feels alive for the first time, but her mom urges her to return home to avoid repeating her past mistakes, leaving Riley to question what her future should look like and who should be a part of it.  

Emma Lord has always been one of my favorite authors; however, her latest novel felt repetitive. Riley, in particular, reminded me of Lord’s past heroines: young, passionate women are looking to prove themselves and do not let anyone stand in their way. While I love a strong female lead, all of Lord’s heroines approach their self-growth journey in the same manner. They always experience fear about what they will do in the future, renounce the wisdom of their singular, present guardian, do something “reckless” or out of their ordinary life in an attempt to find themselves, and, in the end, fall for their best friend only for everything to be tied up a little too neatly by the last page. I would like to see Lord step out of this blueprint and experiment with flawed characters who are not perfect goody two-shoes or explore a love interest who makes mistakes. Currently, everything in the Lord universe is just a little too flawless and unrealistic. Nonetheless, I did appreciate the more mature themes Lord explored in The Getaway List, particularly the conflicts that arise when a child leaves the nest and how parents can become blinded by the fear their kid could repeat their past mistakes. Riley’s newfound independence in New York helps her to discover herself, and I loved watching her transformation into a writer as a writer myself. If you are looking for a familiar narrative, The Getaway List offers readers a repetitive but safe story. 

The Getaway List releases on January 23, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and Wednesday Books for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.

Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer & Editor