Review: Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark

Book Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Frances wouldn’t describe herself as adventurous. She certainly isn’t the kind of person who would sleep under the stars or bleach her hair or have a truly epic kiss. Until now.

For the next week Frances will be away from home, competing in a bike race with friends from her high school. But while her teammates are determined to get first place, Frances has another goal: Before she crosses the finish line, she will have done every single thing on the Fix-It List. Ten crazy, totally out-of-character ideas her best friend, Stella, came up with to make the ride unforgettable. Ten things that Frances has to do on her own because of the accident that left Stella broken and angry…and Frances struggling to find a way to reconnect with her friend.

However, as each item on the list opens Frances up to new adventures, new friends, and possibly even a new romance, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to keep the one promise that she knows she absolutely must obey—her promise to not tell anyone the truth about what happened to Stella. When it comes to friendship, Frances must decide what distances she’s willing to go and what risks she’s willing to take for the person she cares about the most.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Stella and Frances are best friends.  Stella has planned for both of them to go to prom after they have returned from riding in the Cure Childhood Cancer Ride.  Stella rode in it last year and has talked Frances into going with her this year.  She is doing it for Stella because she wants them to.  Frances knows how athletic she is and is ok with how she will do.
Unfortunately plans change.  While Frances is shopping for a Prom dress, Stella goes out to train with her bike.  She gets into an accident.  She is hurt pretty bad and has to stay in the hospital.  She won’t be able to go on the ride.  Frances decides to go anyway for her.
Stella is angry at her situation and Frances get the brunt of Stella’s anger.  Frances hopes she will be happy after the Cancer ride is completed and Frances fulfills Stella’s wish list while on the ride.  The Cancer ride turns out to be tougher than Frances thought.  She is pushed physically and emotionally beyond her limits.  She doesn’t know how it could change anything.
I liked this book.  The author did a great job of driving home how your life can change in an instant.  All Stella’s plans are gone and her anger is very real.  You can feel it coming from the conversations she has with Frances.  You feel for Stella and you understand her reaction.  It is very realistic.
Frances is a great friend who tries to fulfill Stella’s plans.  But in reality it is a journey of self-discovery for her.  Frances has to rely on herself instead of Stella pulling her through.  She is a great character that shines as the story evolves.  She opens herself up to new experiences and jumps completely out of her comfort zone.

I also like how the author didn’t truly reveal the extent of Stella’s injuries until almost the end.  That secret was another thing Frances had to contend with.  I’m surprised she wasn’t a total basket case through the whole story.  It was a great story full of realistic characters.  A journey through life when met with an unexpected turn.  I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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