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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This was an excellent, page-turning YA novel, the kind where I almost didn't want it to end because I wanted to see what would happen next. As someone who's a little sick of reading about death in YA, I liked that even though Devan's dad has died recently at the start of the book, that's a plot point to propel the action, not something that leaves Devan devastated. Instead, it's about her new life, post-St. Louis, in Los Angeles, trying to fit in at school, make friends, something pretty new to her, and get to know her prickly mother, the writer Reece Malcolm. Their relationship is one of the most interesting mother/daughter dynamics I've seen, with Devan often coming off as more mature than her 32-year-old mother. Devan is wide-eyed and somewhat innocent, but a good observer of other people, even if she can't always figure them out. While there were two events surrounding her discovering some key facts about her mom that seemed outlandish and unlikely to me, that didn't stop me from being utterly charmed by Devan, her devotion to musical theater nerddom, and her navigating her love life and all the newness around her. An excellent debut novel; I'm already looking forward to Spalding's next book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
This book has already been reviewed numerous times but I'd like to add one more thing - it is very well-written! Okay, call me a nerd or whatever, but anyone who can write "That's something about theatre, how it's its own world" - and get the apostrophes in the right places - gets an extra star from me. It seems nowadays people are cranking out books so fast, they forget about things like spelling and grammar, and even throw in a few extra words here and there for good measure (presumably forgotten remnants of Sentences Past). It was very refreshing to read such a clean manuscript. I was able to stay in the story - which was a delightful one at that - instead of being distracted by why the author just called someone the wrong name, or whether or not they mean a possessive personal pronoun or a contraction. So kudos to the author, or editor, or whoever was responsible. Great job! (Oh, I loved the story, too. I've always been into choir and musical theater and lived in LA and all that, so it was a lot of fun.)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Amy Spalding's debut, The Reece Malcolm List, is an interesting young adult novel that dissects the sometimes difficult relationship between parents and their children. Despite the dark underlying themes of abandonment, trust issues, and less-than-stellar home lives, Spalding's novel manages to capture the essence of teenagehood in this fantastic debut.

Devan is a sixteen year-old teenager whose life changes drastically after her father dies. Not only does she have to mourn a difficult relationship with her father, but she has to maneuver her new life with her previously absent mother.

I love Spalding's writing style. Quirky, sarcastic, and unforgiving, Spalding shows us how difficult this new life is--not only for Devan, but also her mother. The dialogue is sharp, thanks to the many diverse characters, and the story is well-paced and inviting.

The idea of writing a new entry every chapter regarding the little things Devan knows about her mother is brilliant because it is both original and heartfelt. Devan is unfamiliar with familial love, so it is sweet to see how her small list progresses throughout the novel.

One of the coolest aspects of Spalding's novel, however, is the subject of musicals. What I admire Spalding for is how rather than challenging Devan's love of music and theatre, she gives Devan an opportunity to better herself through her one true passion.

Devan is an intriguing character. She shows pride and confidence--so much so that it flirts with cockiness--when it comes to her musical talents, yet she has a difficult time facing others and speaking up. Her inability to be more active vocally most likely stems from her lack of a caring home, and it is as months pass with her mother that Devan begins to grow as a character. It is always interesting/fantastic when a character's persona is affected and changed (positively) because of the world around her.

The romance in the novel is extremely relatable. Unlike other novels that feature straight to the point romance, Devan is a true teenager figuring out love through trial and error. Nothing comes easy for Devan, as it usually does not for real life teenagers, and I think this will make her even more relatable with young adult readers.

I recommend The Reece Malcolm List to fans of contemporary literature for young adults, teens who are searching for an understanding between obvious love and difficult love when it comes to parents, and readers who simply want a powerful story that is occasionally freckled with teenaged moments of growth.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is Amy Spalding's debut novel and oh my did she start off in the writing world with a bang! This was absolutely fabulous.

I don't even have words for how heartfelt and fun this was to read. It wasn't a fluff read by any means but it did have some funny, lighter moments in it that had me laughing or smiling like crazy. It also had some very real emotional moments as well that left my heart aching for Devan.

I loved Devan. I can't even pin point everything about her that I loved other than she was so much stronger and braver than she thought. She was scared of so many things, understandable things like putting yourself out there, trying new things and just learning to love and be loved but she pushed forward anyways. She did those hard, scary things and she was better for it. There were so many times while reading this that I just wanted to reach through the pages and give her a great big hug.

This review is going to be hard because I just know I'm not going to be able to say everything that needs to be said about how wonderful this really is and I hate it when that happens. I think the best thing I can say is just that you really need to try this one. You really need to experience it for yourself.

You're going to fall in love with Devan, with Brad (who, okay, I would want for a boyfriend!), with Sai, Elijah, Travis, Mira (just trust me on this one), Lissa and yes, even Reece.

There are some very memorable characters in here that you won't be forgetting anytime soon, at least, I know I won't be.

This is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you have put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2013
Rating: 3.5

The Low Down: Devan Mitchell is finally getting the reunion she wanted. Well, except for the dad dying unexpectedly part. But here she is, winging her way to Los Angeles, where she's going to see her mom. For the first time, since, well, birth.

Reece Malcolm is her mom, yes, that Reece Malcolm - the famous author. Once Reece finds out that Devan is a singer and totally into show choirs and musical theater, she gets her into a prestigious high school that specializes in the performing arts.

First Devan meets a fellow newbie, Sai, who has also recently moved from St. Louis. They bond instantly over singing and show tunes. Devan is smitten. Much to her surprise, she makes some new friends easily, and is happy in California.

Still trying to figure out her relationship with her mother is going to take some work. Will her mom think it's worth it?

Best Thang `Bout It: This is going to sound silly, but I like that Reece isn't totally likable. Isn't that more normal? Yet you can tell there are loving feelings buried underneath. Plus I enjoyed the dynamic between Devan and Mira. Again, the reality of someone plopping into their established social circle has to ruffle some feathers. The Elijah storyline works well, too. (*Shrugs* It happens!)

If you are into performing, singing, musicals and all of the backstage stuff that goes along with that, this is for you.

I'm Cranky Because: I was in choir for seven years. I did select choir. I am a HUGE lover of musicals. When I was a kid, pre-teen, teenager, young adult, *ahem* occasionally now, I would take the Broadway cast album of Bye Bye, Birdie or West Side Story or The Sound of Music and play them over and over again, singing along and making up hideous choreography. I was in all my high school's musicals, too; so I get that part of the book. So that's why it was so baffling to me - why didn't I enjoy all the talk? Maybe it seemed limiting, like this book was intended for a very select group of readers? Maybe it was because I have never seen Merrily We Roll Along? For whatever reason, I have to say it got a little "one-note." I enjoyed the regular back-and-forth between the characters much better, like between Brad and Reece.

My other "complaint?" Things seemed to happen so easily for Devan; I actually like the surrounding characters better than I liked her. The conflicts in the book were real, but there was not a lot of substance to them. I needed a little bit more.

The Bottom Line: It's a good book about knowing who you are - no matter where you came from. Or grew up with.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding was published February 5, 2013 by Entangled Teen. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
Mrs. Beamer's Review:
I really enjoyed this book! I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that the Goodreads blurb didn't do anything to grab my attention...but I kept the book on my radar because the reviews repeatedly called the book "funny" And yes...I've been craving a bit of humor in my books :)

This book has it all...romance, teen angst, and yes...humor. The writing is witty, snarky, clever and unique. I love when a book causes me to laugh out loud simply because the dialog is SO SPOT ON! Amy Spalding...I can't WAIT to read more from you!!!

The high school setting in this book centers around a musical group of kids (choir, show choir, musicals, etc) I enjoyed picturing the school and thought it was a perfect setting for this book. The characters were incredible. Entertaining and interesting. I really felt connected to all of them...felt like I knew them well. I wanted to eat lunch with Devan and her friends. I wanted to be invited to Reece's house. A book really succeeds for me when I'm SO SAD to have it end :) I want more!!! Pretty please Ms. Spalding!?!?!? :)

I highly recommend this to all my high school students...and to anyone looking for a fun and engaging read. Spalding really delivers in her debut novel...loved it!

My Favorite Quotes (from this book):
"His thigh is pressed right against mine, which feels a little R-rated. I mean, in my head at least."

"I hope it's not a bad sign that he keeps calling me man."

"Reece is Reece, which never really describes someone likeable."

"It isn't fair that you can never go back to not seeing something."

Mrs. Beamer's advisory rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots)
Language: 0
Violence: 0
Sexual Content: 1
Drugs/Alcohol: .5
Potential Controversial Topics: none
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
1. Devan! The heroine is smart and funny, but also a little lost and confused, and I loved watching her figure a few things out about herself and her life and others.

2. Reece Malcolm! Oh Reece, she is so mysterious and difficult and generous and cranky and aMAzing.

3. Reece and Devan! I love their relationship and the way they figure things out and how to be a mother and daughter (and how not to be), and how scared they are of each other.

4. Brad! Reece's boyfriend is great in every way possible, and I love that it's a step-parent like person who is done well and has a good relationship with both Devan and Reece.

5. Devan's friends: Travis and Mira and Lissa and Elijah! I love that Devan has distinct relationships with all four of them, and I especially love her process of figuring out how to make friends and then how to BE friends, which is something that we often have to figure out from ages 3 to 103.

6. Sai! Oh Sai. He is so talented and warm and cute and kind and confused and sad, and I just want to give him a hug and a kiss and a smack all at once. Just like Devan.

7. Musical theater! Reading this book made me want to go be in a musical immediately, and I am a terrible singer.

There are many many more things, but I will let you all come up with your own Lists about the Reece Malcolm List.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
This is one of the most fun books I've read in a long time. The characters are all very likable, and seeing Devan's relationship with her mother, the elusive and difficult Reece Malcolm, grow and develop throughout the story is really rewarding.

I feel like this book works on so many levels- for a younger reader, it's a really fun and romantic read. For the older YA fan- it's nice to have adult characters that are well-rounded and easy to relate to. I loved Reece and Brad just as much as I loved Devan and Sai.

And if you love musical theater? You will adore this book. It's right up there with E. Lockhart's Dramarama as far as that goes.

Enthusiastically recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
I feel like it's been a while since I wholly loved a contemporary book, but I can definitely make that statement about `The Reece Malcolm List'. There were just so many great aspects to the book and they all came together in a perfect way. The main focus of this book is the very complicated mother-daughter relationship between the main character, Devan, and her mother, Reece. Reece is such a prickly character, but she's also very layered. Sometimes you can't stand her and you're so infuriated on Devan's behalf, yet you can't help but find Reece fascinating; you grow to understand her and her flaws as the book goes on. Devan, for me, was a great main character. Personally I really identified with her over thinking everything, and I cheered as she learned to stand up for herself & speak her mind.

The book is full of great characterization right from the main characters to Devan's friends to even the smaller bit players. It's been awhile since I was a teenager, but these felt like real teen characters to me. They had mixed up emotions and didn't always do the right thing. This book felt like real high school to me: feeling unsure one moment and confident the next, wondering if a boy really likes you, etc -- it wasn't the overly mature and polished version of teens that some books give off, and I loved that about it.

While this book wasn't a romance on the whole I did enjoy that aspect of it. There were definitely some cute boys present, and I especially loved Sai and his nerdy enthusiasm for everything, but especially for books. I would also be remiss not to mention the show choir & musical theatre aspect of this book, because it does take up a good part of it. When I started to read this book I hadn't read the blurb in a while, so I wasn't expecting Devan to go to a performing arts high school. It was an awesome surprise, and it was so well done: not over the top, but an awesome part of Devan's life, the one aspect where she was truly confident in her abilities.

At its heart this book is an emotionally honest story about a mother & daughter, about growing together and learning from each other. This was such a great reading experience, and I would wholly recommend `The Reece Malcolm List' to all YA contemp fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
I will admit that I only picked up The Reece Malcolm List because it's published by Entangled Teen. I've only read a handful of their titles, but I've enjoyed each one, so I figured I would like this one, too. Luckily, I was right! This is a very cute contemporary book about Devan meeting her mother, the mysterious Reece Malcolm, for the first time ever following the death of her father. Devan barely knew anything about her mother, so it was interesting watching her get to know her and develop a relationship, as well as starting at a new school in a new city.

How to describe Reece Malcolm? Well, I wouldn't say she's a bad mother, but she's pretty detached. She treats Devan as more of a house guest at the beginning rather than a daughter, but it's obvious that she's trying in her own weird way. Devan keeps referring to her as "scary" but I didn't get that from Reece at all. Intimidating is probably a better description. However, as time goes on, Devan is able to add little tidbits to her Reece Malcolm List.

Immediately, Devan's voice drew me in. The author did an amazing job of infusing a memorable personality into her writing. I liked Devan right away, and she's exactly the type of person I'd want to be friends with. In fact, in high school I was friends with people in the school choir and drama club! She lives and breathes musicals which added a lot of fun to her story. I really liked the performance plot thread, even though it did get a little repetitive with all of the rehearsals and everyone telling Devan how amazing she is at singing.

There's also a really cute romance (or two!) going on. We get to follow Devan as she navigates her first boyfriend and her first love, which are completely different experiences. Don't worry though; there isn't a love triangle or insta-love. It's all very realistic that Devan would like one guy who has a girlfriend, and end up dating another nice boy who's into her, but realize that he's not the one.

If you're looking for a fun contemporary that isn't about heavy issues and focuses more on friends and family, I would highly recommend The Reece Malcolm List. It's a very refreshing read with funny moments and touching moments all mixed together. The last page is super cute and almost had me in tears, but left me with a smile on my face.

*Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review. No compensation was offered or accepted.
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