Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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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.
I was a bit skeptical to start this book because I have seen a bunch of not so good reviews of it on Goodreads but I should have more faith in Kasie West because this book was fantastic! I enjoyed the heck out of the story, out of getting to know both Abby and Cooper and I thought their romance was a sweet one. Kasie West delivered a fabulous young romance that I took me no time at all to sink my teeth into. There was so much to love about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.
Abby Turner is going to be a senior in high school but it’s summertime and she has plans to try to get into an art show that is put on by the local museum, that she just so happens to work at. She’s got a lot going on but more than anything, she wants a shot at showcasing her art and she’ll do whatever she has to, to get a shot at her dreams. Her home life isn’t the most ideal with a father in the military and overseas, a mother who has anxiety about everything under the sun but at least she’s got her Grandfather. A grandfather who loves and supports her through everything.
On top of everything that she’s got going on, Abby is also dealing with unrequited love. She has been in love with her best friend, Cooper for a while now and is still feeling the rejection he threw her way when she confessed her feelings for him. Not wanting to lose him, Abby played it off and has been stuck in the friend zone ever since. She’s trying to put herself firmly in the friend zone but her heart wants her best friend and being around Cooper isn’t getting any easier.
When Abby gets some bad news about her art and her chances of getting into the art show she was gunning for, a list is born. A list of experiences she feels she needs to have to give her art the heart that her boss is looking for. Since it’s just her and Cooper for the summer, Cooper is roped into helping Abby with the list and the adventure begins!
This was a quick read but Kasie West packs a punch, and it was a punch that I delighted in. I enjoyed Abby’s character a lot more than I’ve enjoyed the last few West protagonists and I was happy about that. Abby was young but she was smart and she was strong and I loved the hell out of her. It was nice to see a young character who was mature for her age but still acted her age if that makes any sense. I was cheering Abby on from the jump and seeing her go through the list and accomplish all of her small goals and then seeing her experience heartache with a boy that just would not leave her heart made for an emotional read. My heart hurt for her and I got a little teary-eyed when she realizes that something has to change or she’ll never be completely happy and gah, it was just a great coming of age story that I connected with on almost every level.
You know, a lot of the early reviews talk smack about the love interest in this book. The reviews that I read weren’t fans of him and that was not me at all. I adored him. Throughout the entire book, you can see that he loves Abby, his actions spoke louder than him not saying anything to Abby and that had a lot to do with why it was hard for Abby to move on. So I liked seeing them fumble around until they finally got it right.
Overall, this book was a good one. I adored pretty much everything about it though there were things here and there that I could have done without. Kasie West continues to shine in my eyes and as always, I’m looking forward to more from her. I definitely recommend this book to those in search of a sweet, contemporary YA romance with heart. This fits the bill, for sure.
Grade: 4.5 out of 5