- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen (December 26, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006267577X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062675774
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Love, Life, and the List Hardcover – December 26, 2017
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Abby was such a fun heroine, and her friendship with Cooper highlighted all the qualities that made her HER. That's what made their relationship feel real and sweet and oh so fluffy. While I floundered a bit trying to feel the enormity of the close-knit, best friends group dynamic when 2 of the 4 friends were gone for all but two chapters, I'm also glad we got so much time with just Abby and Cooper because their friendship shows all the foundation work for a great romance.
Also, more than just showing the intense, already established friendships, Kasie West brings new people into Abby's life. Lacey and Elliot give Abby the swift kick she needs to get out of her rut with Cooper and with Life, capital L. I found it interesting how Kasie West compared and contrasted the importance of new and old relationships - relying and finding solace in what you've always known, and finding new experiences you didn't know you needed. That's really what this book was about. And that journey applied to Abby and Cooper; and in smaller doses Lacey and Elliot and Rachel (I don't know about Justin, he was in one scene at the end, but I hope we get to know him and the group as a whole better in the companion novels!).
I also LOVED Abby's relationship with her mother and grandfather. Especially her grandfather. It's a relationship not commonly seen in YA, so that was fun.
I must say the book was a bit different from what I expected. It’s less of a romance and more of a journey of personal growth for Abby, and that includes her relationship with her family as much as anything else. Still, I enjoyed every minute of it, even though there were parts which I found heartbreaking. I really did feel bad for Abby, and at some point I really couldn’t figure out how everything was going to end. Fortunately, the ending was perfect, and it made up for everything that Abby went through.
What I loved:
- Abby and her determination to grow as a person, as well as an artist. She was a great character, and I really respected her honesty and her decision to leave her comfort zone and face her fears in order to change herself for the better.
- Abby’s family, especially her grandfather. Their conversations were hilarious, and their love for each other was very touching too.
- Cooper. He could have came off as a bit of a jerk, but instead I found him adorable. Although I was a bit frustrated with him at times, it was still obvious that he really loved Abby, and I completely understood his reasons for not wanting to change their seemingly perfect friendship. He had some growing up to do, and it was nice to see him finally realizing that and admiting how he felt.
- The humor, in particular the scene where Abby asks Cooper to decide between listening to quartets or screeching cats.
- Abby’s new friend, she was awesome.
- The ending. At one point I wasn’t sure who Abby was going to end up with, and though I suppose the story could have gone either way, I am perfectly happy with how it turned out.
- Abby could have been best friends with Caymen (The Distance Between Us) and Lily (P.S. I like you). 'Nuff said.
What I would have loved to see more of:
- Abby and Cooper’s friends Justin and Rachel, we barely got to see them, and they were such a big part of Abby’s life that their absence through most of the book was very missed.
- Likewise for Abby’s military dad, I would have liked to see their reunion.
- Elliot! He as so cute.
- A cameo from Caymen and Xander would have been amazing.
Anyway, I loved this story, and I’m already looking forward to Kasie’s next book, I can’t wait!
I also appreciated that the "list" premise also wasn't super big stretch here as compared to other teen books, where an absurd list ridiculously drives the entire plot.
However, the thing I enjoyed most about this book was the interactions between Abby and her grandfather. They were super cute and actually made me laugh out loud, which doesn't happen often for me. I also appreciated that an elderly character was portrayed in an honest and real way, and actually had a good relationship with the surrounding characters.
Finally, this was probably the first Kasie West book where I didn't really care for the male lead at all. I understood why Abby liked him, but he just seemed kind of weak despite everything. His excuses were rather pathetic, although sadly realistic.
Basically, I give this book points for not following most teen novels where teen sarcasm, a list, and elderly characters are concerned.
Overall, a rather refreshing and, all in all, cute little read.