Thursday, January 11, 2018

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Release Date - December 26, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.
Books with lists are one of my (many) bookish weaknesses. I love the idea of a book that revolves around the main character completing a list and growing as a result. Kasie West's newest novel revolves around an artist attempting to gain some life experience to better her art. It's a cute, and heartfelt, read that existing fans will love.

This premise is perhaps one of my favourite out of all the books Kasie West has written. I love the idea of following a character on a specific journey and this book has that at its heart. The fact that this also has some great character growth only adds to this novel's appeal. Abby grows as a result of her journey in really evident ways. It is something I really enjoyed getting to experience because her experiences change her. I think all readers what to see that in the books they read.

The love story is perfect for those who love the 'friends to more' trope. It's classic Kasie West in that there are some adorable moments mixed with some great dramatic ones. I bought the chemistry between the two characters, along with the catalyst for their feelings coming out. It all felt really believable and natural. Their connection was, perhaps, one of my favourite things about this book.

Art is such a large part of Abby's story. It is the driving force behind her character and why she starts the list. It also is used to show how supportive Abby's family is. They take an active interest in her and her art and it was nice to see that reflected. Family dynamics are often missing from young adult novels and I liked seeing complex family relationships be a large part of the story.

The pacing felt a little rushed at the end, and I would have gladly welcomed another 100 or so pages to flesh out the ending and the growth that Abby experiences. It offers that classic Kasie West happy ending, but it didn't feel as tidy to me as some of her others have.

Those looking for a cute read that also has some great character growth will love this one. I just wish it had gone a little deeper into Abby's journey of self discovery. This is one that left a big smile on my face and that definitely makes it one I would recommend for young adult contemporary fans.

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