Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Entangled
Genres: Contemporary, Music, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 5, 2013
I have to admit that THE REECE MALCOLM LIST didn’t quite impress me as I’d hoped. I was expecting a cute contemporary, which yes it was, but I had heard so many different reviews about how this book was about a choir/musical nerd and I was like “NERDVANA! I will love this!!!” See, if you didn’t already know, now you do. I am a choir geek. Hardcore. I adore musicals as well, so I was banking on being BFFs with our MC, Devan. Only… that never happened.
Okay, I feel like I have to dissect THE REECE MALCOLM list in parts in order to get my thoughts out there:
1. The Reece Malcolm part: So Devan is “shipped” to L.A. after her father dies to live with the mother she never knew: famous writer Reece Malcolm. I gotta say… I kind of loved Reece. I love that she was figuring out how to be a good mother to this teenager that was dropped in her lap and awkward as she normally is with adults, trying to adjust to even figure out how to TALK to her teenage daughter. Reece was definitely my favorite part of the book! I liked the storyline too. It was really interesting to see these two characters try to figure each other out after barely knowing about each other their whole lives.
2. The choir/musical part: This is the part where I burst into song and flail some jazz hands at you *JAZZ HANDS!* (Okay, we didn’t have a show choir, but I can pretend) I really did love the musical aspect of this book! I really felt like I was reliving some of my own high school experiences through the descriptions of the choir classes and the excitement of waiting behind the curtain while the overture plays… The excitement of the very beginning of the production! It was a ton of fun to read about all those events which were really the best times of my high school career. Amy Spalding really nailed the specifics and I absolutely loved it! The only downside? I’m sure she picked Merrily for the musical either because it’s not well-known (aka overdone) and/or because of a personal connection to it, but I felt like a lot of the specific scene references/character names/costumes were lost on me whereas if it were a production I was a bit more familiar with, I could have had a better connection with the book. Maybe I wasn’t geeky enough to get there! Ha.
3. The romance part: Say what you will, but I never came around to liking Sai. I don’t know what it was! Maybe because he was kind of blowing Devan off and leading her on all at the same time throughout most of the book? His character always felt a little slimy to me and I felt like he was hanging out with Devan for the wrong reasons. I actually was NOT rooting for Devan to end up with her crush.
4. Devan’s singing talents: Devan was an awkward main character for me. There were so many times that she was timid, shy, soft-spoken, humble, etc – You name it, but when it came to singing, it was the thing she excelled at so naturally she was confident, right? Right! Buuuut… There were so many times that I felt like she was being boastful about her talent. From personal experience (I mean, my high school wasn’t anything flipping fascinating or anything but) EVERY kid had to work really hard to be as good as they were. My parents never wanted to shell out the money for voice lessons (I don’t really blame them, but still wish I could have taken them), but that was THE THING to do if you were serious about music. I felt like Devan’s talent was TOO perfect. She never did anything wrong as far as singing/acting goes in the whole book. Not even during auditions, which yes, okay… Some people thrive in auditions instead of choke (like I do), but not even a hint of nerves. It didn’t come off as confident to me – It came off as bragging and I just didn’t like it one bit.
Devan: I really was not a fan of Devan. Sigh. She wasn’t terrible by any means but she really wasn’t an enjoyable main character for me either. I felt like she was too timid in most of the book and it kind of shut me out of getting to know her. Once she started standing up for herself, I actually started to like her a little more! (Also, see notes about regarding Devan’s all-too-convenient amazing singing talent — I think too much of it was too easy and perfectly neat.)
Reece: I actually really loved Reece. She made the book enjoyable for me! Her awkward parenting is more like just talking to an adult since she’s not really sure how to do it and I felt like I not only got a real personality from her, but I also saw a lot of changes. She was definitely my favorite character of the book!
SaI: I guess I just never trusted Sai in the long run. There was never anything really specific for me to be so wary of him, but I just got that vibe, ya know? I really wasn’t rooting for him to warm up to Devan and I felt like he abused their friendship a little bit. That’s happened to me too many times in my long-gone past, but I guess I’m still a little sore about it haha!
Lots of people enjoyed this book more than I did, but I just couldn’t get on board with Devan. When I don’t connect with a character, it really affects how I see the book overall. It’s worth a try, though! We all relate to characters in different ways.