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.
17 thoughts on “The Reece Malcolm List – Amy Spalding”
I enjoyed the book a lot, but I can see why you couldn’t connect with it. I liked Sai okay, but he wasn’t a stand out for me. I mean, I’m a big fan of kissing books, so I liked that part, but I was never really enamored of him either. He was okay…just totally high school.
Reece and Brad were the real stand-outs, yes. And I liked that Devan knew she was a good singer, but that she wasn’t perfect. Her scenes working with the vocal coach showed that she had room for improvement, and that she was willing to work on getting better. Much, much better than reading about a narrator constantly second-guessing her talent when everyone tells her how amazing she is, I think.
I’m finishing this one up right now and I actually love it! I can definitely see where you’re coming from, though. I kind of REALLY connect to this one, so I’m a big fan of Devan. And I lovelovelove the Reece Malcolm part because I am a sucker for non-traditional families.
Oh, and in her author bio in the back of the book, it says Merrily is her favorite musical 🙂
I’m glad that you loved it!! I really wanted to but for some reason just didn’t make that connection and I was bummed!!
And thank you for letting me know about Merrily! that’s good to know 😀
I know we chatted about this one while we were reading it, but I do agree with you about lots of what you said here. I didn’t notice any issues with Devan being boastful about her singing, but I did have a hard time connecting with her. Maybe until the end, when I did a little bit. But mostly I had a hard time feeling anything when it came to her. Obviously, her life has not been awesome, so I felt bad for that, but I don’t know…SOMETHING about her. Maybe it was the guys? I hate to say that I didn’t connect with her because of the guys she gets with, but I think my general “meh” feeling about the guys really made me want to shake Devan and go, “GIRL! THERE ARE BETTER ONES!!” Elijah would have been fine if he wasn’t hung up on the other girl. Sai? I never liked him either. I couldn’t get a bead on him.
I really liked Reece, though, and BRAD! OMG. I crushed on the mom’s boyfriend. IT’S TRUE. I liked the adults better than the teens in this one.
It’s funny… someone else said that she seemed boastful to them and I didn’t think that at all. I’m not a singer nor do I like people who are so full of themselves and I thought it was cool if she could own anything, it was her own talent. I mean, no one else cared. Her stepmom was a shit to her, and her dad was like there and stuff but not really all that present. I thought she acted just fine.
And as for the musical choice, I didn’t know it either and it didn’t bother me a bit. I took it as an opportunity to look into another musical and listen to the music while I was reading. I didn’t feel like the scenes or the practice really took me out of the book at all because I didn’t know that detail.
This was one of my favorite books of the year. I loved the family dynamic, the musical theatre references weren’t insanely typical and just worked well but wasn’t horrible if you weren’t a MT fan either. I’m really looking out for more of Amy’s work. I think she’s edgy and creative and really just totally refreshing in a world of YA that sounds the same after awhile.
I know, I was sooooooo bummed I didn’t love this one. Maybe my expectations were too high? I got too excited about a musical book???
Loved hearing your comments though! I just have to say thank you for expressing your opinion – although very different from mine – so nicely haha. I do love hearing different opinions and I totally feel like if I read a review for a book I loved and the reviewer didn’t, I have a hard time not getting defensive and then I get myself all worked up. So not being sarcastic at all when I say thank you!!!
It sucks when you don’t like the love interest; that seems to happen to me often, where I get a bad vibe or something, which makes it SO hard to root for their relationship!
Sounds like Devan was a bit Mary Sue-ish with her singing/acting ability. It’s pretty hard to relate to a character’s struggles when they’re perfect! Lol
Very good point!! Besides her chasing after boys, I didn’t feel like she had a personal issue to deal with… I guess with her mother but I liked her mother and thought she was doing a pretty good job so I guess I just didn’t get it!
Thanks for the comment 🙂 🙂
Jazz Hands. 😉 sounds fun & glad it hit a nostalgic note for you.
Aw that’s a bummer you never got around to liking Sai, I like books with romance in it so that sucks that he was ‘slimy’ lol! Thanks for the awesome review!
I gotta say when I first saw on my RSS feed that you’d put up a Reece Malcolm List review, I thought, “Oh great. Watch this be another rave review for a book that I didn’t particularly think was up to snuff.” But boy, am I glad I was wrong! I COMPLETELY agree with you on all fronts: from liking Reece as a character, to not connecting with Merrily, to feeling put off by Devan’s “too convenient” singing talents/braggage. I even agree with you about the Sai thing to some degree, but I still swoon over him because he shares the same heritage as my boyfriend (I know, so biased, haha). Anywho, great review! If you want, you can take a look at my Reece Malcolm List review here. 🙂
Haha I’m so glad I’m not the only one who didn’t connect with this book!!! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂 Oh, and you’re totally allowed to be biased about Sai 😉
Great review. What you’re saying pretty much is in line with what our assistant at work has been telling me. But after I talked to her I read all these great reviews of the book on blogs and I’ve been so confused. I’m waiting to borrow it so I can see for myself.
I know, with all those great reviews, I was really hoping to love it! It just never came together for me. I hope you do enjoy it though!! Clearly it made some great connections with other people, just not me 🙂
This is a great review, Brittany. I do want to read this, but I am more prepared. I love musicals, too, but I’ve never even heard of Merrily.
Thanks, Quinn! I know, I can understand picking a lesser known musical but I haven’t even HEARD of Merrily so I wonder if that was a personal connection for the author.
I know a bunch of people loved this so it definitely has the potential to be a book you’ll love, but it just didn’t do it for me, sadly.