Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: The Reece Malcolm List

Title: The Reece Malcolm List
Author: Amy Spalding
Part of a series? Nope
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Length: 352 pgs (paperback)
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: NetGalley ARC

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much. L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love. But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?

Opening Lines:

Things I know about Reece Malcolm:

  • She graduated from New York University.
  • She lives in or near Los Angeles (even the internet can't confirm).
  • Since her first novel (Destruction) was released nine years ago she’s always had at least one book on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • She likes strong coffee and bourbon, the only personal details she gave in a rare interview with The Daily Beast.
  • She’s my mother.

  • I was in show choir the day I found out Dad died in a car accident. 

    Some opening lines are meant to shock. Some are (unfortunately) snooze-inducing. And some are just telling. This falls in the latter. As a reader, I know right away with that first sentence that this is going to be a book about a girl reuniting with her long-lost mother.

    SQUEE-worthy: If you are a musical theater fan and know some cast recordings by heart, then this is the book for you. Devan, the protagonist, is a huge musical theater fan and an apparently incredible singer to boot, so the book is chock-full of references to popular musicals. But if you're like me and you're not that big on musicals, never fear! There are plenty of things in this book that will make you SQUEE with glee (#rhymetime). The boys, for one, are OMGOSH SWOONWORTHY. A ridiculously good-looking Chinese-Indian love interest? Yes, please! (Ethnic diversity in YA FTW!) And I love, LOVE Reece Malcolm as a character. Yes, she doesn't have her stuff together and she's not your conventional mom character, but that's part of her charm! I like that she's flawed. Also, the dialogue and Devan's narrative voice is spot-on, in terms of authenticity. It's got Modern Teenager written all over it, so kudos to Spalding for hitting that nail on the head.

    "Meh" Moments: I can't quite pin my finger on what it is exactly, but I just didn't feel invested in this book. I think the biggest reason behind that is Devan. She was just "meh" to me; and in contemporary YA novels where it's primarily character-driven, I feel like the main character's gotta have more OOMPH than their paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi counterparts. I mean, the only truly unique quality about Devan seems to be her singing ability, but those scenes are just so glossed over that I'm left feeling like, "Mmkay. So I'm just supposed to believe that she's this amazing singer based on ONE sentence that says how much she blew everyone away during show choir practice? ...Riiiiight." I'm sure it didn't help that I know next to nothing about musicals, so to each their own. Funnily enough, I LOVE Reece, though. She's made of awesome.

    For fans of: Glee, Smash, and High School Musical.

    Buy or Borrow? I'd say it's worth a read, so at the very least borrow it (if only for the hot boys *sigh*).

    Let's chat!

    What are your thoughts on cultural diversity in YA lit? Too few, too many?

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