Tuesday, February 26

Buddy Review: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

I was minding my own business one day when Wena asked me if I wanted to review something with her. Knowing it had been a while since we've posted reviews here at Breezing Through and me and Wena are best buds, I jumped on her offer and suggested this novel. I had noticed it getting some positive buzz around blogland and was curious.  Luckily, it lived up to the hype!  And thanks to Wena for the buddy review.  :P

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Published by Entangled Teen in 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?
Genre:  Contemporary Young Adult
Series:  n/a

The Reece Malcolm List opens up with our main character, Devan, on a flight to LA with her mother's lawyer.  Devan's father had passed away 3 months earlier and it took all this time for things to get settled on where Devan would live.  You see, she had a step-mother.  But she was less than keen to keep Devan.  So Devan is under the assumption that Reece had to take her in. This is compounded by the fact that she couldn't even be bothered to pick Devan up herself.  She sends her lawyer.  And so begins the tale of Devan and Reece.  Reece is an uber-cool author and Devan almost thinks of herself as a drama geek.  But Devan is no geek.  She's an incredibly talented singer and despite not feeling settled with her mother, she fits in very well at her new school, even becoming friends with the other new student, an incredibly hot guy.  LOL  More than anything, TRML is about daughters and mothers.  Devan thought her mother didn't want her, so this is her journey to the truth.  And it doesn't come easily, but it's an interesting story.  And there's some cute guys.  :P

Ames: What did you think of the Reece Malcolm List? For myself, I thought it was a bit slow to begin. However, I got over that feeling quickly enough and couldn't put the book down until I'd finished!

Wena: You know, I don’t recall ever being bored by the book and while it didn’t start off with a bang, I was still very interested in Devan and her mother right from the jump. I really enjoyed the book and I really, really enjoyed getting to know Devan. I thought as a main character, Devan was well written. I connected with her in a way that I haven’t connected with any main character in a while.

Did you think that the love interest was who it turned out to be? I’ll admit, I was tossed on who exactly the love interest was even though I knew who I wanted it to be.

Ames: I think part of it was that the last YA I read annoyed me and then there was the death of a parental unit...which kind of put me off because I feel like it’s overused in YA...so I think the book had to overcome my feelings over those things at the beginning. Which it definitely did! But yeah, Devan and her mom were something else and I was intrigued by them that I got over that relatively quickly. If that makes sense. LOL

Devan was very well written! I definitely related to her feelings surrounding her mom and thinking her mom didn't want her and that she was imposing. That's such a big piece to Devan's feelings about her mom. I liked how that relationship grew over time.

As for the boys. I thought that it would play out differently from the way it did but I liked how it all worked out in the end. I thought it was very mature of her to break things off with who she did because of how she felt about the other dude. Don't you think? That made me cheer. And I like who she ended up with.

Aside from the boys, I liked her new group of friends. I did not expect Mira's situation though. LOL

Wena: Yeah, I guess I know what you mean. Death is a popular thing to have in YA’s these days. Is it because kids that don’t deal with death aren’t interesting? I wonder.

It was amazing to me that Reece Malcolm said things that were so insensitive to the daughter that she gave up so many years ago. I mean, I got that, that was the kind of person she was but, still. She didn’t know Devan at all and Devan’s father (the only parent she’s ever known outside of her evil stepmother) just died. She was an adult and for her to say the things that she did and do the things that she did, got on my nerves in the beginning.

I so agree! I mean, the list that Devan had running wasn’t something she started in L.A. She started that long before she moved in with Reece Malcolm. I really like how their relationship grew and how it was written. It wasn’t a perfect relationship by any means but I liked seeing how they came together.

I was happy with who she ended up with too. I can usually spot the love interest from a mile away but in this book, it was hard to tell at first because the first guy was so …love interest material that I kept thinking, “Oh man, I like him but not for her…” and when she broke up with him, I was happy too. I mean, he was a great guy but he wasn’t for her. I really liked when she let the other guy have it though. The way that she finally stood up for herself with him and the way that she called him out on his crap. It was great.

I really liked her new set of friends too. I really liked that even though they were all great, things between them weren’t always perfect. They had their issues, we saw them fight and then make up. The way friends should be. I thought Mira would be the one that she ends up being closest too and I was glad that they came around with each other. And like you, Mira’s situation caught me off guard too. I wasn’t expecting that one.

Ames: Oh Devan's mom got on my nerves in the beginning too! It would have been interesting to know how things had gone for her mom after Devan was born. I mean she has to be prickly for a reason right? Even her best friends said that she pushed away the people she cared for the most. Her mom was an interesting and imperfect character all on her own. I cried when they had their words at the end. I was floored by how invested I was in these characters emotionally and the way Reece talked to Devan after their fight made me tear up. I love books that make me cry like that.

And how screwed up was it the way Devan found out about her mom? I was furious at her dad at that point. I was mad at him for being so distant, but when I read how she found out?

I love how Devan stood up for herself and called dude out on his crap. Girls need to do that to boys more often so they quit playing games like that! And to realize that things will be awkward with the other guy after they broke up but that they could still be friends. I found the romantic aspects to this book very refreshing and just wish all characters could communicate like that.

Who know who else I liked? Brad. Remember when she was at the club for Elijah's show with a beer and he showed up. LMAO! I thought that was funny. Such quirky characters.

Wena: Oh, I know! I was a total Brad fan. I thought he was good for Reece but he was also good for Devan.

I would have liked to see Reece’s background a bit more (through talks with Devan) too. When they finally have that talk at the end, I was so happy and like you, I teared up. I was so happy to finally be getting some answers for Devan. Devan’s character was so likable, even when she wasn’t speaking up for herself. She was one of those characters that as an adult, I wanted to cuddle close and protect her from those that would harm her. She was smart, she was capable and yet there was a vulnerability about her that endeared her to me. I wanted to be her mother and I wanted to beat her step-mom and then smack her Mom around for 1) not flying out to meet Devan and 2) not sitting Devan down to talk about her father’s death and why she’d given her up in the first place. I get that Reece didn’t know anything about the relationship between Devan and Devan’s father but she should have at least asked if Devan wanted to talk about it. I was disappointed that she didn’t.

The way that Devan found out about Reece was totally messed up. I can’t even imagine finding out who my mother was the way that Devan found out…and even with the way that she was brought up, the card that she was dealt….I never once thought that Devan was a total snot. She had every reason to be a snot but she wasn’t. Which made me like her even more.

So I’m taking it, you would recommend this book? Right?

Ames: I like to think that Devan and her mom, after the conclusion of the book, had that sit-down. Because they definitely needed it. But they broke the ice with their big fight and they needed to do that too, so it's a step in the right direction. Devan needed to know she didn't have to be perfect and that she could get in trouble. I think her bitch of a step mom really did a number on her making her keep all her emotions and feelings inside. I hated that woman!

Overall, I liked this YA. It was smart and mature but it definitely took me back to those good old days when liking a guy gave you butterflies in your stomach. Yes, I highly recommend this one. :P

Wena: She really did, that stupid step mom. The Dad had a hand in that as well. He couldn’t have not known that his wife was mistreating his daughter. But you’re right about Reece and Devan. That big fight did break the ice and did a lot to repair the relationship that wasn’t all there when Devan first gets to L.A.

I highly recommend this book too. On top of great characters and a charming main character, this book introduced some fantabulous relationships that weren’t perfect but so interesting. I really liked this book and will definitely be reading more from this author.

Ames: I'm giving this book an A-. And I look forward to more by this author as well. :P

Wena: I’d give it an A. Great read!


Rowena said...

Thanks for recommending this book to review, Ames. I'm still smiling over how much I liked it.

nath said...

All right ladies, you got me convinced to read the book. I'll get to it ASAP :P

Great review and it sounds like a really good book.

I think YA authors just get on themes... Dystopia, death, falling in love with your BF's boyfriend, etc. So it seems very repetitive ^_^;

Rowena said...


I think you're right...they do use those themes all the damn time though, or so it feels. I hope you like the book as much as we did. Happy reading!