Rachael Lippincott, co-author of Five Feet Apart and All This Time, has written her first solo novel, The Lucky List. The story follows Emily, a young woman who is just about to enter her senior year of high school when she finds the bucket list her late mother created before her own senior year. Using that as a checklist, Emily takes the opportunity to explore her own life and identities. PW spoke with Lippincott about what it was like writing without collaborators and the importance of representation for all readers.
This is your solo debut after several successful collaborations. How was this process different?
It was really interesting. I think Five Feet Apart and All This Time really prepared me in a lot of ways to hit the ground running. I learned about the process a lot by working on the previous two books and I was able to meet my deadlines in a really healthy way. I learned that I worked best off of an outline and making a detailed schedule leading up to the date of the revisions being due. I did have the first two books, so I’ve done this before. But this is new in a whole new way: my first book that's truly my heart project.
The Lucky List showcases the evolution of friendships and relationships, especially the queer love story. What do you hope readers will take away?
I think the most important thing in The Lucky List was my inspiration for the character of Emily. I really wanted to have a girl who is struggling with so many things the summer before her senior year, finding the courage to shed all of that, to truly become the person she so desperately wants to be. That’s really what I hope people take away. You mentioned the evolution of the queer love story. I think it’s so important as a queer person, as a queer reader, to have these characters, these people, who are showing that the best version of yourself is truly the self that is the most honest and most real. It’s the person that you really want to be, even though it can be difficult, and it can be hard to really claim that sometimes. Just being true to yourself, being true to who you know you are, was at the heart of all of that.
In the book, Emily finds her mother’s senior year bucket list. Do you have anything on your bucket list of things you hope to do or accomplish in the year ahead?
Oh, my goodness. Absolutely. I actually had a fun little thing leading up to the release. My wife and I did a couple of items from the book’s bucket list. We got tattoos, we sat down under the stars, we had a picnic in our backyard—a bunch of stuff from the book. I think this has definitely inspired me to make a bucket list for this summer and also the next year. Coming out of the pandemic where we were inside most of the time—we didn’t go anywhere, didn’t really do anything—my wife and I are both fully vaccinated now and we’re looking forward to a year of traveling. I already have the plan for August: we’re going to go on a road trip from Portland down to Los Angeles, travel the coast. I’d also like to try whitewater rafting. I’d like to go on a beach vacation, and go surfing like Emily gets the chance to try in the book. My list is definitely growing by the second.
What is the next project on tap?
I’m currently working on my fourth project. I actually got my revisions two days ago, which is great—nothing like a release and revising all in one. It’s a young adult novel I can’t talk too much about just yet. I’m super excited for this next one—it’s maybe the most excited I’ve ever been, if that’s possible. I just can’t wait to shout out from the rooftops about it.
The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 June 1 ISBN 978-1-5344-6853-5