Book Reviews

Review: The Throwback List by Lily Anderson

You know those books that surprise you? I was expecting full on romance from The Throwback List, and instead it’s a story about friendship. About figuring out what makes you happy. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Welcome to Sandy Point, Oregon: a sleepy beach town that’s home to a giant anchor statue, a sometimes-karaoke-bar, and Frosty’s questionably legendary Sunday Sundae Surprise. A town Jo, Autumn, and Bianca thought they’d left far behind when they graduated high school, finally moving on to greener pastures than the midway point for tourists heading to the Goonies house. But life seldom goes according to plan.

Bianca Boria-Birdy, former prom queen and valedictorian, has always been an overachiever. As she juggles managing the family tattoo parlor, caring for her grandmother, and adjusting to a new marriage, Bianca’s schedule becomes stricter than ever, with no room for disruption. What she really needs is a vacation, but not even Bianca Boria-Birdy can achieve the impossible.

Autumn Kelly used to be an actress. Now she teaches drama at Sandy Point High. She may have had to kiss her movie-star dreams goodbye, but molding the next generation of performers has given her life meaning in a whole new way. Until the sudden reappearance of her ex-best friend throws everything off-balance.

Jo Freeman has it all together. With a cool job in Silicon Valley, connections at the trendiest fitness studios, and a down payment on her dream condo, she’s well on her way to reaching every one of her goals before thirty. Or she was, before she got fired and landed right back home with her parents and teenage sister.

When Jo finds an old bucket list in her childhood bedroom, it sets the three women on a path that brings them closer to one another with each task. And it just might lead to a life none of them could have planned.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Throwback List is a multiple POV story about friendship and self-discovery. About finding out what’s next for us, about questioning all the priorities others have made for us. Or having the strength to define, for ourselves, what our happiness, voice, and influence will be. I deeply empathized with Jo, who’s always done things by the book. Who, suddenly, feels stuck and back to where you started again. The Throwback List examines Bianca, Jo, and Autumn’s lives. They ways they are intricately intertwined.

We see the remains of their hopes, even as we wonder if they can find new dreams. Because we can be so preoccupied with what’s next, that we forget to find what’s in front of us, to find the happiness in the moment. While I loved Jo – and empathized with her journey to find herself – I also enjoyed Autumn and Bianca’s stories. However, even though it’s multiple POV, I do feel like Jo’s story took center stage with Bianca a close second. I think my only complaint with The Throwback List is that I felt like Autumn’s story kind of got buried.

Aside from that, I found myself drawn to Bianca. To her struggles with her family, with speaking up for what she wants, and how she has to balance her responsibilities. If I had to place myself into The Throwback List, I feel like I’d be halfway between Bianca and Jo. Overall, The Throwback List feels so well rounded. It explores that magic that friends can inspire. How the list serves as a wake up call to each of them. All the moments in between what we think we want where we find safe haven. Slices of home and contentment.

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Emotional in ways I never expected, The Throwback List is a compelling book about friendship. It’s perfect for anyone who felt like their next milestone felt hollow. Who’s ever come back home and wondered what they were so busy running away from. Find The Throwback List on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is something that would be on your Throwback List?

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