If you’ve ever read one of Emma Lord’s books, you will no doubt have fallen in love with her joyous romances and the magical way her stories leave your heart uplifted and the day looking a little brighter. We’re delighted to be able to say her newest YA rom-com, The Getaway List, hasn’t strayed from that rule and is filled with Emma’s signature optimism, wit and heart. To celebrate its release, we’re very excited to be able to share an exclusive extract for you to start reading right now.
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“I glance around the room, my eyes snagging on all the old relics I remember. A Tides of Time paperweight I got him for his birthday one year that’s shaped like the blue, orb-like time stone the characters use to move through time and space. A bunch of well-worn sci-fi and murder-mystery paperbacks crammed on a bookshelf. Some old plastic trophies from Tom’s seasons on the track team in middle school. All these pieces of Tom that seem almost stubbornly, precisely the same in the midst of this otherwise Succession-worthy apartment, pieces that summon a feeling of nostalgia so intense I almost want to hug Tom again for the relief of it.
There are newer things, too. A sleek laptop plugged in at the desk. Posters from movies I haven’t seen. A cluster of blue WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU coffee cups on the bedside table that must have come from the cart outside the building, one more quiet reminder of how much time has passed, because we were mostly drinking my mom’s hot chocolate from the café the last time we were face-to-face. But the glow-in-the-dark stars taped to the walls seem to tie it all back into the larger Tom whole.
“Glad you’re still a nerd,” I tell him.
Tom tweaks my elbow. “Glad you’re still a snoop.”
“Speaking of,” I say, reaching for the piece of paper randomly lying on his otherwise neat desk. It’s his version of the Getaway List. Even just glancing at it is yet another measure of the time that’s passed—how the handwriting is a little bigger and sloppier at the top, when we were writing things we wanted to do at fifteen, versus the neater, tidier scrawl toward the end when we got older. I lean in to peer at it, the exact copy of mine word for word.
The Getaway List
1. Go on a road trip once we’ve got our licenses.
2. Take the Tides of Time interactive fiction writing class.
3. Go on the Tides of Time exploration walk in Central Park.
4. See the Walking JED live in concert.
5. Go to karaoke.
6. Go on a camping trip.
7. Be “Dear, Love” Dispatch coworkers.
8. Make custom brownies at Brownie Bonanza.
9. Actually see each other in our corporeal forms.
Tom leans over me, his shoulder brushing my back as he grabs a pen and puts a checkmark next to item number nine.
“There,” he says. “One down, eight to go.”
I laugh, glancing down at the list. I came in full steam ahead on trying to get through it, but now that I’m actually here—now that I’ve got Tom close enough to talk to and prod and hug again—I’m wondering if it’s right to jump into this feetfirst. If maybe we’re too far past it now. If maybe our time would be better put to use some other way that this older version of Tom would appreciate more.
It turns out some of the problem is solved for me. “Shit. Half of these are undoable now.” I skim a finger over item number one, the class that kicked off the list when we were just barely finished with freshman year. “Maybe if we had a time stone of our own we could.”
“Actually, the class is still running,” says Tom. “They do it every Saturday morning.”
I turn to face him so fast that I don’t account for how close he is, our faces nearly colliding. I feel my cheeks go warm as he has to pull back, but brush past it, asking, “Seriously?”
Tom clears his throat. “Yeah. My mom teaches workshops at the writing school sometimes.” Tom’s cheeks flush, too, and then he says, “She’s got free faculty credits. We could go. I mean—if you want to.”
“Only if you want to,” I say back.
There’s a two-second stalemate where we’re both trying to feel the other one out until I come back to myself and remember this is Tom. I don’t have to hedge around him. I don’t have to be embarrassed about anything at all.
“Would it be patently absurd to try to do stuff on the list after all this time?”
Tom’s lip quirks like he was hoping I’d ask just that. “Absolutely,” he says. “But it would be more absurd not to, so the absurdity cancels itself out.”
The relief washes over me so powerfully that I almost want to sag into him with it. Like I didn’t have any real way of measuring how much doing all this with Tom meant to me until I knew for sure it still meant something to him, too.
“Look at you, flashing your fancy private school math skills,” I say instead, nudging him with my shoulder. He’s so squarely built now that it’s a bit like nudging a warm wall.
“My next equation—Riley plus long bus ride probably equals very hungry and tired.”
I am, all of a sudden, but only in my body. My brain is still operating at a hundred miles an hour, trying to catch up to what feels like a lifetime I just crammed into one day. This morning I woke up in my bed in Virginia and now Tom is setting my duffel on his mom’s bed in a city I’ve never been to before; now Tom and I are ordering pizza from down the street on his couch like it’s a regular Friday night when we haven’t seen each other in years; now I’m a person who tells their mom off and hops on an interstate bus.
Once we’re settled in with the pizza I check my phone to see if she’s texted me back—I let her know when I got in. I can see she’s read the message, but she hasn’t replied.
“All good?” Tom asks.
I nod, setting the phone down and ignoring the slight churn in my stomach. This is our weekend. She’s taken enough time from us, so at least for the next two days, I won’t let her take any more.
I wipe my greasy pizza hands on a napkin, pull Tom’s copy of the Getaway List off the table, and say, “All right. We need a game plan. Do we try to do these in order, or go into full chaos mode for as many as we can in one weekend?”
Tom doesn’t bother looking at the list, staring at me with the beginnings of a smirk on his face. “Is that even a question?”
“Unmitigated chaos it is.””
From The Getaway List, by Emma Lord. Copyright © 2023 by the author, and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group
The day of her high school graduation, Riley realizes two things: One, that she has spent the last four years trying so hard to be a Good Kid for her mom that she has no idea who she really is anymore, and two, she has no idea what she wants because of it. The solution? Pack her bags and move to New York for the summer, where her childhood best friend Tom and co-creator of The Getaway List ― a list of all the adventures they’ve wanted to do together since he moved away ― will hopefully help her get in touch with her old adventurous self, and pave the road to a new future.
Riley isn’t sure what to expect from Tom, who has been distant since his famous mom’s scriptwriting career pulled him away. But when Riley arrives in the city, their reconnection is as effortless as it was when they were young―except with one, unexpected complication that will pull Riley’s feelings in a direction she didn’t know they could take. As she, Tom, and their newfound friends work their way through the delightfully chaotic items on The Getaway List, Riley learns that sometimes the biggest adventure is not one you take, but one you feel in your heart.
Get your copy of The Getaway List by Emma Lord here.