It Started with a List
by Tinia Montford
Publication date: January 25th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:A BUCKET LIST. THE POPULAR GUY. A LONER. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Time’s up for Vassa Blackwell.
With her college graduation looming, Vassa reflects on the past four years. After a devastating betrayal from her closest friend leaves her ostracized, she trusts no one. Now she is mega disappointed. No wacky misadventures, no drunken nights, and no regrettable mistakes that you can NEVER tell your parents. Work and class, class and work. That’s it. College is supposed to be the best years of your life… Right?
Vassa feels as though she’s cheated herself out of a full college experience. Notable with romance and boys and stuff. So, she makes a college bucket list. Then the worse thing ever happens. Her list falls into the hands of Lazarus Gilbert. King of the baseball team, sworn enemy (in her opinion), and her annoying upstairs neighbor. He thinks he’s found something fun to do. She thinks she’s in trouble. That’s until she discovers there’s more to Lazarus than he lets on…
With the pressures of post-college decisions and failing classes, can they complete the bucket list before the semester runs out? Are Vassa and Lazarus just too different to get along? Will they both come out winners in the end, or will she retreat to her safety-zone? Is it too late for her to learn to live and let live, and let love enter her heart?
Vassa is in her final year at Pacific Grove University and hopes to continue on to graduate school. However, after a blowout with her best friend, Alexa the previous year, Vassa is left looking like the villain in the friendship. Vassa looks back at her college years realizing that she didn't have much fun and makes herself a bucket list to finish before graduation. Enter Lazarus Gilbert, Vassa's gorgeous, happy-go-lucky, popular, jock upstairs neighbor who she has always tried to avoid. Lazarus is failing an English class and needs Vassa's help to pass so he can play baseball and fulfill family obligations. Vassa is reluctant to agree but decides on a deal: she will tutor Lazarus if he helps her complete her bucket list.
It Started With a List is a super-sweet new adult contemporary romance. Vassa's character is easily relatable, and I was a lot like her in college, academically focused, always has a plan and felt like she missed out on a lot of fun. I loved the idea of a graduation bucket list and what Vassa put on it. Some of the items on the list were simply things that she missed out on, and some were to get her out of her comfort zone and do something out of character and a little crazy. This allowed Vassa to grow as a person without losing who she is. Vassa and Lazarus' relationship was a slow build, realistic and very cute. The writing switched between both Vassa and Lazarus' points of view, so they were both fully formed characters whose motivations and backstories made them complex. With the slower build, Vassa and Lazarus could really take the time to get to know one another and work out some of the other issues in their lives. By the time Vassa and Lazarus were ready to be in a real relationship, the sparks flew. In addition to the romance, Vassa's character also worked on rebuilding friendships after her betrayal by her former best friends. I was glad that the book also focused on her friendship with her roommate Dara and cousin Kiki as well as some of her other literature classmates so Dara learned that she could rebuild trust in people once again. Overall, a fun, college romance with great representation.
Tinia (TUH-NIA) Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (tons of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design.
She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and roamed the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories occasionally.
If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction.