February 15, 2013
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Review Source: Netgalley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Things I know about Reece Malcolm:
1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.
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?
I feel like it’s been a while since I wholly loved a contemporary book, but I can definitely make that statement about ‘The Reece Malcolm List’. There were just so many great aspects to the book and they all came together in a perfect way. The main focus of this book is the very complicated mother-daughter relationship between the main character, Devan, and her mother, Reece. Reece is such a prickly character, but she’s also very layered. Sometimes you can't stand her and you’re so infuriated on Devan’s behalf, yet you can't help but find Reece fascinating; you grow to understand her and her flaws as the book goes on. Devan, for me, was a great main character. Personally I really identified with her over thinking everything, and I cheered as she learned to stand up for herself & speak her mind.
The book is full of great characterization right from the main characters to Devan’s friends to even the smaller bit players. It's been awhile since I was a teenager, but these felt like real teen characters to me. They had mixed up emotions and didn’t always do the right thing. This book felt like real high school to me: feeling unsure one moment and confident the next, wondering if a boy really likes you, etc -- it wasn't the overly mature and polished version of teens that some books give off, and I loved that about it.
While this book wasn’t a romance on the whole I did enjoy that aspect of it. There were definitely some cute boys present, and I especially loved Sai and his nerdy enthusiasm for everything, but especially for books. I would also be remiss not to mention the show choir & musical theatre aspect of this book, because it does take up a good part of it. When I started to read this book I hadn’t read the blurb in a while, so I wasn’t expecting Devan to go to a performing arts high school. It was an awesome surprise, and it was so well done: not over the top, but an awesome part of Devan’s life, the one aspect where she was truly confident in her abilities.
At its heart this book is an emotionally honest story about a mother & daughter, about growing together and learning from each other. This was such a great reading experience, and I would wholly recommend ‘The Reece Malcolm List’ to all YA contemp fans.
It's really cute, I like it.
Find The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.