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The Friendship List

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Dance till dawn
Go skydiving
Wear a bikini in public
Start living

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published August 4, 2020

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About the author

Susan Mallery

810 books13.6k followers
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Critics have dubbed Mallery "the new queen of romantic fiction." (Walmart) Booklist says, "Romance novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling," and RT Book Reviews puts her "in a class by herself!" It's no wonder that her books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list.

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool's Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,388 reviews
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,460 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2023
This is a romance/chick lit. The cover does not really fit the book. I really enjoyed the book, but it was not what I was thinking. Ellen and Unity are trying to get over something big that happen in their lives that has made them not date or have sex in years (a lot of years). During this book both of them gets over everything and starts dating again. I have to say I really love Ellen, but Unity I really did not love. The characters are super developed, and the plot was fun. Some of parts of this book is a little draw out. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (HQN Books) or author (Susan Mallery) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review about how I feel about this book, and I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
August 16, 2020
An engaging story with the perfect balance of friendship and romance, whimsy and charm, Smiles and sobs. Susan Mallery is a masterful storyteller who always manages to brighten my day. Ellen and Unity have been best friends since they were very young. Ellen is a single mom to a teenage son and has not been out on a date since she got pregnant at 17. Unity lost her husband three years ago and still has not been able to remove his clothing from the closet. When Ellen overhears her son telling a friend he’s not sure he can go off to college because his mom needs him, she knows it’s time to make a change. Unity is on board to help her friend, but of course she doesn’t need to change it’s perfectly normal to spend most of her time socializing with people over twice her age, right? The friends create a list of things to do that will prove that they are more than happy that includes things like: wear a bikini on the beach, get a tattoo, skydive, rock climb, have sex, wear clothes that fit, join the local swim club... At first Ellen and unity are hesitant, only willing to change for others. BUT as they start to venture out of their comfort zones they begin to realize the change is more about them than anyone else.

This book surprised me a bit *in a good way* I wasn’t expecting it to be so romance heavy and steamy. Loved both love stories and the men involved. I also really appreciated that we got the perspectives of not only Ellen and Unity but also Keith and Thaddeus, their love interestss. I do have to admit I enjoyed Ellen and Keith’s story a little bit more. As a single mom I found it more relatable. I also really liked their kids Cooper and Lisa, and the college tour road trip. Unity was harder to connect with, but I really like how her story unfolded. The audiobook was narrated by Tanya Eby Who is one of the absolute best. She did a remarkable job with giving each of these characters their own unique voice and personality. A lovely feel good story!

This book in emojis 💫 👙 🛠 ✏️ 🚌 🏖 🧗‍♀���

*** Big thank you to HQN and Harper Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,820 reviews480 followers
August 16, 2020

The Friendship List was so much fun to read!

Two friends each stuck in their past. Following self-imposed rules that shouldn't exist. Rules which stop them from living a full life.

Ellen Fox is a single mother. Her son is finishing high school and it is time to decide about picking a college. Ellen admits she doesn't want him to leave the nest until she realizes he is not even considering the college he wants because he feels responsible for her and he is willing to sacrifice his future for her.

Unity Leandre is living in the past. She became a widow 3 years ago. Her husband died in the line of duty. She is living in his childhood home and in his childhood bedroom. His clothes are still hanging in the closet. She hasn't been able to take anything away since she lost him.

Neither woman has dated recently. Ellen since she became a mother and Unity since the passing of her husband. They do have each other. They have been friends for many years and they support each other unconditionally.

Unity creates the Friendship List. A list of challenges for them to achieve including dating again. Unity writes it more for Ellen than for herself. She is not sure she wants to change at all.

The Friendship List was a charming and witty novel. The main characters Ellen, Unity, Keith, Thaddeus, Cooper, Lisa, and Dagmar were all well written and well developed.

I love Ellen's spontaneity with Keith. She also had a great relationship with her son, Cooper. She was probably my favorite character. A close second was Dagmar. Unity was lucky to have her.

Keith went a little too far with his daughter, Lisa. He went from caring for her to becoming too controlling for my taste.

I love Thaddeus. He was perfect. He was so patient and understanding. He was ready for a relationship and he played no games.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by HQN via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,239 reviews306 followers
August 8, 2020
The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

Chick lit romance. Really good and emotional chick lit romance.
Strong friendships. Emotional growth and tears. Heart full of feel good after reading this.

How can these two women, that have had rather sheltered lives, learn to be so self aware and want to grow? And then do it.
They didn’t want to change at first. It’s only as they deal with life and challenges that the women realize they like what they’re adding and living. But is not all easy and tears flow in the change.

“ He put down his beer. “Speaking of dating, Lisas got on me about my Internet relationships.”

“You don’t have Internet relationships. You find women to have sex with.”

He winced. “That’s what she said. Have you two been talking about me behind my back?”

“Oh, Please. We have so many more interesting things to talk about.” She never understood the appeal of casual sex. It seems so impersonal. Shouldn’t that level of intimacy be part of a relationship? Otherwise sex was just as romantic as passing gas.”
Excerpt from The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

I received a copy of this book at a reader conference.
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,036 reviews1,747 followers
July 28, 2020
Favorite Quotes:

She’s a wizened old cow who hasn’t had sex in over a decade. I’m sure her girl parts are about as interesting as day-old bread.

“Are you wearing eyeliner?” “Yes. And it’s not easy to put on. I tried a smoky eye yesterday, but I just looked like I got in a fight.”

It’s all I can think about. I’m glowing so much, I’m practically radioactive.

My Review:

As with every Susan Mallery book I have been lucky enough to stumble upon, The Friendship List was better than an all-day all-you-can-eat and carryout trip to Willy Wonka’s. It was good fun with several cleverly written, witty, and highly entertaining storylines that held something for everyone. I adore and covet Susan Mallery’s writing style, she is a master storyteller and I quickly fall into her smoothly scrolling tales that seem to be populated with oddly endearing characters who are delightfully easy to know while realistically flawed and endeavoring for improvement. Her dialogues and observant narratives are crisp and lively yet comfortable and a pleasure to navigate. Of course, my favorite character in this tale was the all-wise and lovely Dagmar, a woman I am sure was crafted by the use of hidden cameras following me!

While I didn’t have one thing in common with the main characters I enjoyed them anyway. Unity was a grieving young widow who was stagnant and unable to move on even after three years, and Ellen was a single mom of a teen who had not been on a date since becoming pregnant as a teen herself. Their friendship and sassy banter sparkled with delightful humor and were a welcome reprieve and absolute joy after a reading a slate of tense thrillers. I have decided I need a regular infusion of Susan Mallery in my life for good balance.
Profile Image for Grace A..
384 reviews40 followers
August 21, 2022
Friendship list was quite a refreshing read about taking risks with new relationships, getting over grief, finding love and new beginnings.
Ellen and Unity were best friends and have been singles for a long time. They were quite content with their lives until... Ellen overheard her seventeen year old confessing to putting his life on hold about college to be there for his mum, because he was all his mum had...and Unity got kicked out of the seniors pickle ball league and told to go hang out with people her age.
This prompted both of them to make a list that forces them out of their comfort zone. The unintended happy consequence of checking off the list was love and a happy ending for both of them.
I really enjoyed how “real life-ish” the story flowed. It was a nice cozy read, with funny and lovable characters. 4 stars!
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
August 19, 2020
When best friends realize they’re both in a rut, what will it take to shake up their lives? Susan Mallery's The Friendship List has some ideas.

Ellen is happy. She likes her teaching job, she has a great relationship with her teenage son, Cooper, and she loves spending time with her best friend, Unity. She’s a little nervous about being able to afford Cooper’s college tuition on her salary, but they’ll figure it out. Not bad for someone who got pregnant at 17, right?

Unity has a successful handyman business and she feels a part of Ellen and Cooper’s family. She mostly spends time at the retirement community where she works, and she's made many friends among the residents, even though she’s only in her 30s. Since her husband died three years ago, she doesn’t feel comfortable moving on.

When Ellen overhears Cooper saying he can’t go away to college because she’d be lost without him, and Unity gets some tough-love from friends, both realize they’ve let their lives stagnate—and they need to fix that.

The two put together lists to challenge each other. Ellen vows to wear clothes that fit, to shake her life up a bit, and to finally have sex with a man, something she hasn’t done since she was 17. Unity has some similar things on her list as well, including finding an age-appropriate man to date (since all of her male friends are beyond retirement age) and maybe even wearing some makeup.

While they start to pursue activities on the list, what they don’t realize is how much more complicated it is to really move beyond what you’re used to emotionally, and what to expect. How do you know when you’re ready to change? How much is enough, or too much? Are you changing for change's sake, or because you really want and need to?

This was a sweet, steamy, emotional book. The characters—particularly Unity—were more complex than I expected so it took longer for them to progress, or want to, than I would have hoped. But still, this was a fun book, a quick read, and a good story about friendship.

I was pleased to be part of the blog tour for this one. Harlequin Books provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making that possible!!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Bookread2day.
2,237 reviews63 followers
July 27, 2020
My review on www.bookread2day.wordpress.com Twitter@bookread2day

The Friendship List is a perfect feel-good read for anyone who has ever wanted the courage to change, or written a bucket list. This is the perfect book I recommend.

I first became a fan of Susan Mallery after watching a book that she had written that was turned into Christmas film, Marry Me At Christmas. After the film I read the paperback You Say It First.

I thought that The Friendship List was absolutely fabulous reading about the friendship between two best friends.

What I liked reading is how the story is filled with heartache and humour and of course romance.

Why I adored reading The Friendship List it took me back when I was single parent, remembering how hard it is to pay for everything like school uniform.

Ellen Fox who teaches at a high school, is a single parent, who is struggling to pay for her son Cooper college fees. She is thinking of taking an extra job in the evenings to help her son go to UCLA. For a room and board at UCLA the total cost would be sixty -four thousand dollars. Ellen’s idea is marrying someone with money. If Ellen’s son Cooper goes to Stanford he might get a partial scholarship, that could go toward a room and board.

Widow Unity is Ellen’s best friend and she will help Ellen, as Ellen helped Unity, when she married Stuart, by sewing on glass beads by hand on Unity’s wedding dress. Since Unity’s husband died she is very thankful for her own business, as it gives her something to do every day.

With Ellen worrying over money she is determined to send her son Cooper to UCLA college, but she over hears a conversation with Cooper telling his best friend that he can’t go to college as his mom needs him and he should stay at home and get a job.

I loved the friendship between Ellen and Unity, they really help each other in every way that can. And that’s what best friends do they stick together no matter what.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,132 reviews267 followers
August 28, 2020
This is too goofy. DNF @ 64%.

Two BFFs in their mid-30's are having a crisis. One is a three-year military widow; the other has been a single mom since she was 17. Neither has even been on a date with another man.

The only topic in this book is sex. What's wrong with that, you ask? One woman identifies herself as nearly a virgin (really?), and both of them are as innocent as newborns - I'm sorry, but that's just not realistic. They have internet and tv; they aren't living off world. One day they both decide to stop being pitiful so they dare each other with a list of challenges to accomplish, obviously including dressing better, going on a date, etc. Suddenly little old ladies are giving detailed sex advice to the widow (how gross, it's like getting sex tips from a parent), and the other one's male friend has suddenly noticed her after knowing her for 20+ years. *eye roll*

The Friendship List is clearly aiming for cute, but it just comes off as silly and ridiculous.
Profile Image for Claire.
2,308 reviews702 followers
August 6, 2020
5 - "We’re doing this..?" "…We are. We need to." Stars!

I absolutely devoured this book. Susan Mallery is in general a winner for me, but I am not a massive fan of what is termed Women’s Fiction. The book may have been lumped into that category due to the characters being mid-thirties and having a lot of life experience under their belts, but for all that to me, it still read more contemporary romance than WF.

"Not living your life is a dumb ass way to spend your day."

Mainly because it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The humor had me laughing, and I absolutely loved Ellen, Unity, Keith & Thaddeus. All unique, interesting & likeable characters with different backgrounds and diverse lives. It just felt like a complete read, everyone was integral, the story lines all played out with each other perfectly, and nothing was rushed or overdone. If this is what the authors WF titles are like I’ll be reading more of them in the future.

Maybe change was possible… Maybe she was going to be just fine.

Total winner, I have nothing derogatory to say, if you are looking for a romance where the adults have a bit of mileage under their belts, this is definitely one I urge you to try.

ARC provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,104 reviews56 followers
August 17, 2020
This pains me to give Susan Mallery two stars, but really I’m being kind. I had high hopes for this book. It started out so well but then quickly disintegrated into sex talk, orgasms, masturbation and more sex talk (and sex! Detailed sex). The characters would just suddenly talk really crudely and it was so jarring to me. I always joke I’m a PG type of reader but really I don’t mind PG13 or even R sometimes. But this was toooooo much. It took over the plot. We even got a glimpse of teen sex! Wheeeeee!! The epilogue was even about sex. I’m thinking SM is no longer for me. I’m sure this appeals to some but I’ll pass.
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,574 reviews1,882 followers
July 15, 2020
Straightforward--and at times "fanning myself" steamy--romance.
The friendship list, or actually a list of challenges each woman made for herself to get out of their respective ruts, was a cute backdrop to the story, but overall it wasn't a main plot point. Mostly, this is a story about Ellen and Unity breaking free of their fears about love and moving forward in life and learning how to be strong independent women.
I really appreciated the portrayal of the teens in this story, and the humorous incidents involving them and their parents handling the situations. It is realistic (although Keith's over the top statements regarding his daughter and coming after guys with a gun is pretty silly and honestly very outdated) and refreshing overall.
I liked Ellen's story better than Unity's, mostly because I couldn't identify with Unity's situation and her actions, statements, and decisions made me irritated. Bless her friends for sticking by her even though she acted so bizarrely, because I don't know if I could have been that gracious. In the end, I liked her growth and how she finally matured as a woman rather than remaining stuck.
Let me just give props for the swoony male love interests. *Fans self again* Wooo baby.
Great summer read! (Then you'll be able to say you're fanning yourself due to the heat and not because the book is making you, ahem, overheated)

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Sherri Thacker.
1,241 reviews246 followers
April 14, 2020
I see I’m in the minority on this one but this book did nothing for me. Unlike most of the other reviews who loved this book and thought so much of it, it just did nothing for me. I wanted to like it but just never truly connected. DNF. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
712 reviews128 followers
August 11, 2020
The Friendship List is an enjoyable, feel-good book providing a needed break from dark, psychological thrillers; police procedures and deep, literary and historical fiction. Author Susan Mallery is one of the best in the genre.

Ellen Fox and Unity Leandre, both 34 years old, are best friends and serve as each other’s support system. Ellen has been raising her 17 year old son as a single mother having gotten pregnant in high school. Unity has been a widow for three years. They are both emotionally stunted.

Ellen's son is starting to look at colleges. She overhears him changing his plans to go away to school believing that Ellen would be devastated if he left her alone. Ellen doesn’t want her son to give up his dreams for her. Unity can’t move on with her life after losing her husband. She sleeps in his childhood bedroom surrounded by his memorabilia. Neither of the two women date. They finally decide it’s time for a change. They come up with a list of challenges for each to do to help get them out of their ruts.

There are no great surprises in The Friendship List. Each woman enters romantic relationships that thrill and terrify them. It is the strong bond of the two women that ultimately helps them through the ups and downs of their quest to finally start living.

This is a light, easy read that will leave you smiling. Enjoy it.

Review posted on MicheleReader.com.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,828 reviews174 followers
August 6, 2020
Absorbing, touching, and sweet!

The Friendship List is a heartwarming, engaging story set in the small-town of Willowbrook that takes you into the lives of Ellen, a single mother who has spent the last seventeen years taking care of her son and is finally ready to spend a little more time on herself, and Unity, a young widow still struggling with the loss of her husband and the all-consuming grief that is preventing her from moving on.

The writing style is witty and light. The characters are multilayered, quirky, and endearing. And the plot is a heartfelt, delightful mix of friendship, family, introspection, parenthood, sorrow, support, forgiveness, love, loss, drama, community, and new beginnings.

Overall, The Friendship List is a sophisticated, sensitive, romantic tale by Mallery that once again highlights her innate ability to delve into all the psychological and emotional dynamics between friends.

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Susan in Perthshire.
1,591 reviews59 followers
June 19, 2020
I received this as an ARC from Netgalley.

I've not read anything by this author before. She writes well - her prose flows and the characters are brought to life in a few well-chosen phrases.

However, I am clearly in a minority here as I can't give it 5 stars.

The story of two 34-year-old friends who challenge each other to get out of a rut after Ellen overhears her son say he can't go to college and leave her because she has no life - is a great way of starting the action.

However, I found Ellen and Unity utterly both unbelievable and largely unsympathetic characters.
Pregnant at 17 - Ellen hasn't dated or had sex since, dresses in clothes that are 2 sizes too big - has a platonic friendship with her son's coach Keith and apparently has no idea her life is lacking. 17 years - she's done nothing. When she finally decides to change - her behaviour is beyond naive. No 34-year-old woman in this day and age could be as stupid as Ellen was. The way she treated Keith initially and then once they had embarked on a sexual liaison was simply unbelievable. She goes from having had sex once, never having seen a penis - to being some hot, up for everything siren in a matter of hours!!. Her fashion makeover - after 17 years - also seemed ridiculously easy.

Her friend Unity is a widow and is still living as if her husband was alive. She literally does not want to move on - sleeps in her husband's old bed, wears his old T-shirt, and spends her time with over 60s. She absolutely rejects advice from friends and only at the very end of the book after she has treated Thaddeus abysmally - does she realise her need to change. As her friend (and Thaddeus' great Aunt) Dagmar says - she behaves as if no-one else in the world knew what loss was. I totally get loss and grief - but this was so utterly over the top as to be ridiculous. Quite frankly the ease with which she and Ellen got over their row after Ellen overheard Coop talking to Luca - stretched the bounds of credibility too far for me.

I loved Keith and Thaddeus, Lissa and Luca, Coop, Dagmar - they were fabulous characters. But Ellen and Unity - not so much. Not for me, I'm afraid.
Profile Image for Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader.
1,109 reviews131 followers
August 31, 2020
I love all of Mallery's books and the books are all great summer reads. But The Friendship List is such a happy ever after book. The ending was a feel good ending and I am so glad I read it when I did.
I gave this book 4 stars and I can't wait for her next book.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,736 reviews941 followers
March 24, 2020
Please note that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

Well this was really good! I enjoyed the two main characters (Ellen and Unity) and their "list". I also felt frustrated with both of them while still rooting them on. I also really liked the epilogue we got in the end. I think Mallery typically does not include those in her romance novels. Both of the heroes (Thaddeus and Keith) were great though I wanted to shake Keith a lot especially when it concerned his daughter. I thought that all of the plot lines were realistic and I think that Mallery did a great job of capturing teenagers who (shocked gasp) actually do have sex. It was nice to see parents in this one talking about it as a known thing along with discussing safe sex and making sure that they are enjoying it and ready.

Ellen and Unity are long time best friends in their mid-30s. They love their sleepy little home town and are content with their lives. However, Ellen overhears her 17 year old son is scared to leave home for college since he thinks his mother needs him too much. Unity is still in love with her dead husband who passed away 3 years prior to the start of the novel. People have been patient with her, but now even her grief counseling group is telling her she needs to move on. (ASIDE FROM ME: Girl she needs to...badly). When the two friends have a falling out, they both separately realize that they need to move past things in their lives. They settle on having separate lists that they will accomplish over that summer with the winner getting an all expenses paid weekend spa trip with the loser.

So I actually really did like Ellen and Unity both. Even when I wanted to shake them both. Ellen had cold fish for parents, so after getting pregnant as a teenager she really didn't do much besides go to school and take care of her son. She hasn't had a romance since that time and is scared to lose her son. I did love that she realizes that and takes steps to make sure that he is moves on from her though.

Unity, woo boy. She got kicked out of a grief counseling group! Honestly at first I thought Mallery wanted us to dislike her since she was so obtuse about things. When she was rude about Ellen's problems, I didn't like her much. But she started to grow on me. She's stuck in her past and doesn't know how to move on from it. I know some romance readers don't like romances with widows or widowers, but I think Mallery did a great job with this character.

The heroes in this one have some..pizzazz? I think I can say that. Thaddeus's backstory was unexpected. Think Magic Mike. Keith was kind of stupid about things here and there, but in the end showed he was a very good dad. Though he was pretty invasive with his daughter's privacy.

The writing was really great and the dialogue was crisp. I loved the secondary characters like Dagmar, Cooper (Ellen's son) and Lissa (Keith's daughter). The flow worked nicely and I found myself rushing through this one.

The ending was pitch perfect and we get to see a Happily Ever After (HEA) for both characters. The only reason why I didn't give this 5 stars was that I did not quite the initial connection between Unity and her hero. It just didn't work, but then it did and I loved it. Other than that, things were fantastic.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,877 reviews1,879 followers
August 28, 2020
Susan Mallery has an uncanny knack for writing about female relationships that I’ve never quite found in another author. I’ve read several of her books that focus on sister/sibling relationships and she always nails the dynamics at play between family members. This time around she explores the relationship between two longtime best friends, Ellen and Unity, who are as close as sisters anyway and once again she created wonderful characters that felt so damn real.

Ellen and Unity have both gotten a little too comfortable in their lives lately so they decide to make a list of things to do that will push them outside of their comfort zones. At first, they both start the list not actually for themselves, but Ellen so her teenaged son will realize she’ll be ok when he goes to college and Unity so Ellen isn’t doing it alone and both have no real intention of getting anything meaningful out of the list. But as they spend the summer trying new things (skydiving, tattoos, etc) they both actually start to not only have fun, they learn a few things about each other and themselves. So, an adorable premise with a little something for everyone. Besides the BFF relationship there is some romance with some heat 🔥, plenty of humor and some emotional depth and growth as well. Definitely recommended by me as a super fun summer read.
Profile Image for Wendy.
474 reviews
July 26, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Books for a gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Pub date - 8/4/20.

Susan Mallery is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She consistently writes wonderful women's fiction/romance novels full of heart and charm. There's a lot of sex positivity and discussion of safe sex in this novel and I thought they were really well done. My favorite part of this novel is the amazing female friendship! I love when women band together to build each other up and have each other's back. Unity and Ellen fight because hey no relationship is ever perfect but they also know when to put aside their own issues to be there for the other when the time calls for it. There were moments when I wanted to shake both of them but overall I enjoyed seeing them grow individually and together throughout the story. However, I think because the story is split between their two storylines there isn't enough room to dive deeper into their relationships with the heroes.

Overall, a quick and fun summer read!
Profile Image for Marta.
131 reviews1 follower
September 2, 2022
Where to begin... I almost DNF many times but powered through because me and my sister were both reading this at the same time… 🙈

This book was annoyingly disappointing. The title, description and cover are extremely misleading. This has so little to do with a “friendship list.” Like, I expected them to be actually doing these challenges together and placing more focus on their friendship. I mean, come on, they didn’t even get a tattoo together?! The entire focus of this book was on them and their respective men who conveniently & quickly fall madly in love with them, of course *eye roll.* And at times it felt extremely repetitive - especially Unity’s storyline.

The two main characters are mid-thirties and are written like they’re in their 60s. I actually might have liked this better if they WERE in their 60s! The way they dressed, talked, & acted - it felt so unrealistic. What 30 year old has a flip phone (and why, seriously whyyy was there so much emphasis on that fact)?! Not to mention it seemed like they (especially Ellen) go from practically prudes to sex-focused maniacs over the course of 2 weeks. Really. I just can’t.

Ok, ONE redeeming part about this book was Dagmar. She’s the wonderful, eccentric Aunt you wish you had! I loved her - her spunk and her wisdom, I just wished it wasn’t wasted on Unity.

Speaking of & lastly, I just have to say that Unity is the worst. She’s a horrible friend and extremely self-absorbed character who I had zero pity for.

I don’t know how this book has so many glowing reviews. Such a disappointment!
August 11, 2020
Thank you for the advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

Ellen is a thirty-four and a single mom to seventeen-year-old son Cooper while Unity is the same age as Ellen and a widow. Her late husband an army man died three years back in the line of duty. It is so difficult for her to overcome the pain and is stuck. For Ellen, her life has always been going to work, taking care of her son and her home. She overhears a conversation between her son and his friend and is disappointed to know that he doesn't want to go to his dream college because he doesn't want to leave his mom alone.

Ellen and Unity are best friends forever and realize that their life is in a rut and come up with a list of things they both want to do and achieve in order to pull their lives back on track. They challenge each other that whoever achieves most items in the list wins.

Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors and she writes beautiful stories about friendship, relationships, and women supporting and empowering each other.

The characters are well developed and quite relatable. It is an awesome summer read and I will absolutely recommend it.
Profile Image for Cyndi Becker.
1,351 reviews11 followers
July 31, 2020
This delightful story sure to be a 2020 beach read favorite. Ellen and Unity have a lifelong friendship, a connection so deep they can finish each other’s sentences. They've supported each other through single parenthood and the loss of spouse. When Ellen overhears her soon to be college bound son say he can't go away to college, because he's all his mom has, the subsequent need to change her life is born. This prompts Unity to create a list for Ellen, and for herself. Challenges that fulfill a long list of life to do's, and the friendship list is born.

This is such a great story focusing on the character growth for two women in their mid-thirties. They are driven by some low-level competitiveness, but really because they both begin feeling how each and activity changes them. Some are subtle, some are much bigger.

Ellen needs a reboot on her self-perception. She never doubts her intelligence, and she's outgoing enough, but the changes she makes open her up for the possibility of romance and love. She needs to learn to trust her loved ones and herself. Unity on the other hand is really stuck in her grief and the past. The death of her husband leaves her desire for a family, for children, a casualty as well. It seems unlikely she'll ever get over him and even when a love interest insinuates himself in her heart, she self-sabotages their chance at togetherness.

I loved the pacing of the story and how each woman go through multiple “growth spurts”. These little lesson along the way add up and ultimately, as individuals, they recognize their strength, both apart and together. The epilogue is wonderful and left me really satisfied and very happy. 4.5 stars and recommendation!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
August 24, 2020
The Friendship List

📚 Hello Book Friends! What a perfect summer read! THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery is a wonderfully uplifting book. It is a witty and sexy story with relatable characters. In an attempt to get themselves out of their life rut, two best friends create a friendship list containing things they have never done. The items are things that they would normally not do such as skydiving, getting a tattoo, and having sex with a handsome man. They both will face their past and contemplate their future. Will Ellen and Unity be able to finally live to the fullest or will they continue to live their everyday lives. Is their love in the cards for them? Will they find it?

It is such a fun read! If you have not read it, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this sexy book and read it.

🙋🏼‍♀️ Thank you, Harlequin Books for sending me a finished copy of this wonderful novel. THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery is available at your favourite bookstore.

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Profile Image for Kris - My Novelesque Life.
4,643 reviews190 followers
January 28, 2022
2020; HQN/Harlequin

The Friendship List is about a woman, Ellen who overhears her son say he can't go to college because she needs him too much. Ellen is widow, and knows she has not been living her best life to date. She enlists her friend Unity to help her convince her son she is okay. It was an okay romance/women's fiction novel. It is very predictable if that is what you need. (I don't mean that in a condescending way, but just as times you need a HEA romance.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
Profile Image for Robin Loves Reading.
2,198 reviews378 followers
July 30, 2020
Can two best friends change their lives over the course of one summer, even when their friendship is tested? Ellen Fox is a single mom whose life is just fine. No she has never dated since having her son, who is a year away from going to college. But she has always felt that she has had true contentment. However, after overhearing his concerns for her well-being, she wonders if he will seek whatever future he deserves.

Unity Leandre is Ellen's best friend. Unity is a young widow who still hasn't been able to deal with the loss of her husband, even with attending a grief group. Unity is not overly concerned with her life, however. She wants Ellen to step out of her comfort zone so she devises a list of challenges for Ellen. Will Ellen go along with Unity's suggestions? What about Unity? Will she attempt even a few things she put on the list for Ellen?

What a lovely story. This book did a great job at making me feel like both Ellen and Unity could be my friends. They both soon found chances for romance, but in neither case they were without challenges. For Ellen, she soon finds her good friend, a coach at the high school where she teaches, could be far more than that. Meanwhile, they both are parents of teenagers, so although they seek and find ways to draw close together, they must deal with what is going on with their kids.

Unity does meet someone, and he is too sexy for his own good. While drawn to him, Unity must deal with the fact that she still misses her husband desperately, and she must find a way to deal with those painful feelings and memories, all while figuring out that she deserves happiness and a future, especially since at 34 years of age, she really wishes that she was a mother.

I adored this story. As mentioned, I felt that I could relate to both women, albeit on different levels. I always wanted to be a mother and was blessed with a large family, so I understand how much Unity wanted that in her life. With Ellen, I could relate to her dedication to her son, to the exclusion of her own needs. So although I didn't face their issues in my own life, I sensed and connected to the deep emotion behind their feelings.

I have read a couple of other books by Susan Mallery and have come to enjoy her writing style. I enjoyed how she enjoyed making an emotional story about two friends be more than a bit sexy, dealt with the woes of parents of teenagers, and bringing readers to a happy conclusion.

Many thanks to HQN Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Jenn O'Brien.
846 reviews15 followers
September 11, 2020
What I Liked About This Book

The concept of the friendship list. Two women who find themselves at a crossroads in life and know that changes need to be made. Creating a list of challenges — some serious and some more lighthearted — was a great idea for each woman to grow.

Great Aunt Dagmar. She is a unique voice of reason who is not afraid of living. We all need someone special like this.

What I Did Not Like About This Book

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