The Reece Malcom List by Amy Spaulding
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?
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Entangled Teen
Four stars: A surprisingly complex tale of a mother and daughter reunion.
Devan knows very little about her birth mother. At sixteen, she has never met her and her father never spoke of her. By chance, Devan reads a book by Reece Malcom and notices the dedication at the front to Devan. She pieces it together and determines that Reece is her mother. When Devan's father is suddenly killed, she is sent to live with Reece Malcom, the mother she has never known. Devan isn't sure what to expect, and her initial hopes of a joyous, tearful reunion are dashed. Instead Devan and Reece do a slow dance as they try to get to know one another. It is awkward, difficult and emotional, but slowly Devan is able to add more and more things to her list of what she knows about Reece Malcom. Can Devan and Reece somehow become a family?
What I Liked:
- I picked this one up expecting it to be a light, fluffy read, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book had breadth and depth. It isn't a simple mother-daughter reunion with plenty of feel good feelings. Instead it chronicles all the stumbles and awkwardness that occurs when two complete strangers are suddenly thrust together and expected to forge a relationship. This isn't exactly easy when Reece Malcom is often incapable of showing her feelings and she masks her emotions. Reece isn't the friendliest person and she is very closed off and difficult to get to know. Even though I was frustrated with her standoffishness, over time I appreciated her character because it was realistic. It isn't always easy when you must come face to face with the mistake you made as a young teenager and suddenly you are an instant mother. I thought the story was very well done, and I appreciated the range of emotions that this book conveyed.
- I liked both Devan and Reece's characters. Devan is a somewhat shy sixteen year old with an insatiable love for musical theatre. She is an incredibly talented singer, but she doubts her abilities. She is lonely and desperate for love and acceptance, and she loves singing and being in the spotlight. Reece is the opposite. She is an accomplished writer who shies away from the spotlight. She is somewhat cold and distant and at times she is rather bitchy. At first, I was so frustrated with her because she never talked to Devan about her feelings and what happened in the past, but over time I got it and I grew to love the complexity of her character. The beauty of the book is watching how the two slowly forge a relationship. It isn't easy, but in the end it works. I truly loved the journey.
- I loved watching Devan grow. She spent her entire life moving from place to place while living with her father. She and her father don't have a close relationship, and she doesn't get along with her stepmother. Devan is somewhat of a loner, and she only has one close friend. Once she arrives in L.A., things begin to change, and Devan begins to come out of her shell. Her transformation into a more confident girl is very nice.
- I adored Brad Reece's boyfriend. He is so kind and patient, and he puts up with a lot of crap from Reece. He never once resents Devan moving into the house and he treats her with nothing but kindness. He is all around a good guy and I thoroughly enjoyed him.
- I was worried this was going into love triangle territory because at the beginning, Devan meets another new boy at her school, and she immediately develops a crush on him. For all of you concerned about insta-love, don't worry it doesn't go there, either. The boy Devan likes starts dating the popular, beautiful girl and Devan's hopes are crushed. Then another guy who Devan wasn't interested in at first starts showing interest in her and then begin to date. Even though Devan is dating someone else, she still has those butterfly feelings for the first guy, but she never acts on them. Instead she forges a close friendship with him. I won't say anymore, but I was pleased the way this all worked out, and I can assure you it doesn't turn into a love triangle. I loved the way the romance unfolded in this one. It was well done and realistic and, in my opinion, a refreshing change from the typical YA romances.
- I very much appreciated that Devan at sixteen was still very hesitant and unsure about sex. She admits that she is not comfortable with a sexual relationship, and never once does she waver from her feelings. Even when in situations where it could easily move into something more, she backs off. I liked her mature attitude and appreciated that she was willing to admit that she was scared and not ready for something more.
- I love that this is a stand alone. Everything wraps up nicely at the end, and even though I longed for more story, I was pleased with the way it ended. It is nice to find a good solid stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
- I was disappointed that the details on Devan's father are very scant. I wanted to know just a bit more about him and what he was like. Devan admits they were never close, but there really isn't more on this aspect. I wanted details on the father's background, and on Devan's life with her father. I felt like I was missing something when it came to this part of the story. Why didn't her father ever talk to her about her mother? Why he decide to take his illegitimate daughter instead of letting her be adopted?
- I waited the entire book for Reece to reveal what happened in the past as far as the pregnancy and giving up Devan. When it finally got around to that portion of the story, it was a bit glossed over. Reece got pregnant at fifteen. I would love for the author to expand a bit more on this part of the story. I wished that Reece had shared a bit more about her feelings and how she came to the decision to give up Devan and how she worked it out with Devan's father. I wanted her to tell how she felt about the pregnancy and what happened after. I think this is such an important topic for teenagers and I wish that it was expanded upon. I was expecting a bit more depth and emotion on this part of the story. I guess in actuality, though, Reece's admission is more in line with her character.
The Reece Malcom List ended up being a nice refreshing read in the YA genre. This is an interesting story with realistic characters and genuine relationships. I appreciated the awkwardness that Reece and Devan endured as they learned to live together and get to know one another. The romance is done right and everything wraps up neatly at the end. If you are needing a a book to help get you out of reading slump, I recommend trying this one. For those of you looking for clean reads for your teenager, this one is perfect. There is only one small scene with a bit of drinking but nothing terrible. I thought it was a lovely little book!
"I'm more than a little convinced L.A. is the epicenter of everything superficial and overly tanned."
"And, anyway, I'm not a blue skies and sunshine person. Life is just life, no matter the weather."
"I feel the past days' events rise off of me like steam on a cold day. Nothing feels wrong or bad or hopeless when I'm singing. The whole world is just music."
"It isn't fair that you can never go back to not seeing something."
"There's a lot I'm afraid to tell people, but I don't want to be a mystery in my own room."
"I wonder if there's one right thing to say when you feel your friendship isn't what it's supposed to be anymore."
"Everyone's got their own speed, and mine is currently set to Doesn't Totally Feel Comfortable Even Taking Off Her Jacket In Front of Her Sort Of Boyfriend."
"Sometimes honesty is by far the more honorable choice, but I believe people lie to protect each other all the time. And I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.