Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carla's Thoughts: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

Published Entangled Teen, 5 February 2013  
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?
Things you should know about me:

1. I got an A in Performing Arts in high school but I cannot carry a tune to save my life.  But I can cry on cue and am naturally over dramatic about everything.
2. I LOVE musical theatre. I was the girl dancing in the stalls when I went to see Fame who then sprained her ankle when she fell down the steps from dancing too enthusiastically. 
3. I like guyliner and good hair.

The Reece Malcolm List is the kind of book you don’t realise you’ve been waiting for until you turn the last page and burst into a frankly mediocre* performance of At Last. (*excruciatingly bad) Because FINALLY. AT LAST! Now everybody dance.


Things I love about this book:

1. The characters are all so authentic and Spalding really nails what friendships in high school are like. Some of them are fleeting but others remain a certainty. I loved how the characters were layered and acted like actual teenagers and not parodies of teenagers who eat thesaurus’s for breakfast. Like give me a break.

2. Reece is hands down the best ‘mom’ character I’ve read in a long time. She’s grouchy and awkward and doesn’t like crowds of people. She’s a little bit of a bitch with her directness and sometimes scathing humor but MY GOD do I want to be her friend. I get that she doesn’t like shopping and on some people I find that trait unforgivable BUT she is awesome so I am willing to let that slide. It’s refreshing to read about an adult that doesn’t totally have all her shit together

3. Devan is such an engaging protagonist. It was heart-warming to see her unapologetically and rightfully own her talent because damn can that girl sing. Also, can you please invite me to your next performance? Her enthusiasm for performing is infectious, like her passion for it is somehow imbibed into the pages of the book so you get infected to. I will give you cold hard cash if you didn’t finish this book and immediately want to do a leap or jazz hands or randomly burst into song.

4. Performing arts school is my ultimate fantasy. In my head people break into song halfway through class and dance around the corridors. I know this is probably a slight exaggeration but still, any book that delves into the competitiveness and highly strung atmosphere of performing arts is a book that I want to read. Along with an amazing cast of supporting characters the book progressed at an engaging rate and I never once felt my attention slip.

5. Brad. I don’t want to say much about this guy because like a fine wine he needs to be savoured. But I will tell you this; he has GOOD hair. He can cook. He has an accent. He is my new book boyfriend.

Spalding steps out onto the contemporary stage with a show stopping debut that is witty, original and super fun without losing any of its storytelling depth. Her writing is snappy and fresh with dialogue that hits all the right notes. I can't wait to see what she does next.



26 comments:

  1. Great review! The premise of this one sounds interesting (even though I don't love musical theater nearly as much as you do). :)

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    1. Kelly it is SO good - how can you not love musical theatre??!! seriously, it is so different live. I can't stand the TV shows or movies that do it because I think omg STOP SINGING, but when it's live I'm like again again again!!!!

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  2. I'm reading this one right now (almost finished, actually) and I am LOVING it. Very anxious to see how it all ends...

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    1. we need to talk* ginger.

      *about books

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  3. I'm reading this now too -- loving Brad!

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    1. Brad is the best right? he's British too. I wonder if I can snag myself a guy like him too....

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  4. I was interested in this book and then I found out that it featured a performing arts school and it became a must-have. So thrilled to read your positive review!

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    1. thank you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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  5. Well, if I haven't already added this to my TBR list (I probably have), it's going on now. Thanks for the great review! :)

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    1. it was my pleasure Jamie :) enjoy.

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  6. All I can say is HOORAY.

    We are book review twins today, and you said this way better than I could. My words were so discombobulated because I loved it OH SO MUCH.

    Brad was pretty much a winner. I loved how Devan recognized what her mom and Brad had too.

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    1. you are such a fibber! your review is amazing!

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  7. This sounds fantastic, adding it to the wishlist :)

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  8. YAY! I am so happy when I see people loving this book, because I read it a month or so ago and I thought it was amazing! All of the characters are just SO real and so realistic on top of that. :)

    Plus, musical theater! And engaged parents!

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  9. YAY, LISTS! I love it when reviews have lists! As if I weren't already stoked to read this, I now want it MORE.

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    1. i loooooooove lists. I expect updates. let this stand for all books you read. I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING *creeps*

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  10. I definitely want to read this book. I'm not always one for performing arts school books, but I think I have to look into this one.

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    1. this one is so different from any other book I've read about performing arts. it nails it.

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  11. oh, carla. i'm so, so glad estelle passed along her copy of this to me because I WANT TO READ IT RIGHT NOW. love your review! xo

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  12. I don't know if it's b/c all my best guy friends are gay, but I love guyliner. What's wrong with accentuated eyes, boys?? Carla, please find me a Brad. I'll be in the UK this summer. x

    -Maggie

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  13. This is the second enthusiastic review of this book I've read this morning. Yay! I haven't read it yet but two but YAY's makes me really excited for when I do get to it. Hooray for jazz hands and good hair and all of that!

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  14. You've got me hooked! I definitely want to read this book now, mostly because it sounds like so much fun. I'm a theater girl through and through (though I was mostly on the production side, and not a performer), and any sort of performance - whether singing, dancing or acting, ALWAYS appeals to me. I'm so excited about this book now!

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