Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Birthday List by Devney Perry


The Birthday List by Devney Perry
Release Date - April 3, 2018
Publisher Website - Self Published 
Author Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 402 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Twelve Books/Twelve Friends Selection

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Poppy Maysen carries a journal in her purse. Its pages were filled long ago by a man who craved adventure, lived life to the fullest and never failed to make her laugh. The journal is his birthday list—one she vows to complete.

She’ll do the things he wanted to do most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can finish his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who watched her heart shatter be the one to put it back together again?

The Birthday List deals with processing grief and the ways in which opening ourselves up after a traumatic experience can be both complicated and rewarding. It's a beautifully told story that manages to both break your heart and mend it as you are reading.

The idea of the list from the title of this book is such an interesting one. There have been plenty of books about completing something in honour of someone who has died. The biggest thing that stood out to me about this particular list is how much we can tell about Jamie from the items on his list. The character work of explaining who he was is done in large part through this list and memories and it was done rather well. His sense of humour and outgoing nature is clearly captured.

The idea of moving on after Jamie's death is understandably something Poppy has mixed emotions about. She logically knows that Jamie would want her to live her life and be happy but she doesn't want to lose those precious memories of him. It brings up conflicting feelings and the reader gets to see her processing all of those emotions. The rush of falling in love again, the guilt that it stirs up, and finally acceptance as she works through all of it. Poppy was a very sympathetic character and someone that the reader is drawn to root for. 

Cole is one of the best love interests I have read about in quite a while. He is patient, gentle, and supportive. He knows what Jamie means to Poppy and respects that while still very much wanting to be part of her life. I appreciated that the book contrasted him and Jamie while making both guys seem decent and good for Poppy. The book doesn't shy away from either of their flaws and doesn't make Jamie a footnote in Poppy's story to further the new romance.

While this is a stand alone novel it does have a companion novel that focuses on some characters we meet in this novel. I am certainly curious to check out out the second book because the characters that it features are written in a way that makes you want to continue their story. 

Devney Perry is definitely an author whose work I want to explore more of in the future. The Birthday List made me cry, laugh, and swoon while also having a sweet message about healing. If your looking for a bittersweet story I highly recommend this one.

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