Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Reviewed by Maggie: February 8, 2013
Published February 5, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Goodreads • Buy at AmazonKindle • Book Depository

What do you do when you're sad? Me? Les Miserables (Original London Cast), Disc 1, Track 5: I Dreamed a Dream
Upset about a boy? Wicked, Track 8: I'm Not That Girl
Outraged over something? Ragtime, Disc 2, Track 15: Make Them Hear You
Getting ready to parrrrty? Rent (Original Broadway Cast), Disc 1, Track 14: Out Tonight
Why yes, that is a Korean edition of the Les Miserables Original London Cast.
I needed emotional support on my first trip to Korea after being castigated
for not speaking Korean well so I demanded my mother buy it for me. 
If the soundtrack to your life is found on soundtracks to shows, this book is your kindred spirit.

Here are some things to know about Devan Mitchell:
1.  She loves to sing and perform.
2.  Her father just died.
2a. But it's mitigated by the fact that:
"Kids in musicals without parents always ended up okay -- Annie got Daddy Warbucks, Cosette got Jean Valjean, Christine got stalked by the Phantom though she did get to make out with Raoul."
3.  Her stepmother can't stand her.
4.  She found out about her birth mother through a book dedication.
5.  She's never met her birth mother.
6.  She's never kissed a boy.
"Also, ugh, really? Dad is dead and my long-lost mother would have totally preferred to stay long-lost, and I'm feeling sorry for myself about boys?"
Two of those things will change when she moves to Los Angeles to meet and live with her mother, award winning author Reece Malcolm.

The Reece Malcolm List is like an alternate world version of Gilmore Girls, exploring what would have happened if Lorelai had given up baby Rory and Rory focused on musicals instead of Harvard. Like the show, the book is a mix of humor and heart with snappy dialogue and a cast of memorable characters.

I liked Reece immediately. She's moody and socially awkward, and the only reason I don't mock the way Devan talks (like, like, like) is because Reece does it first. Okay, that also makes her kind of a bitch, but she's my kind of bitch. At 32, she's a successful writer but I love that she doesn't have her shit together. She's not only someone I would hang out it, but probably someone I already do hang out with. Devan never really fit in at her old schools but transferring to a performing arts high school finally gives her a place where she belongs. I mentioned the way she talks (like, like, like), but her voice is so authentically 16. I love that she's a bit timid and unconfident in real life but the minute she's on stage and in character, she unleashes everything inside. For a girl who's constantly apologizing, the one thing she doesn't apologize for is her talent. Reece tells her,
"When you sing you're this force of nature, all fearless and bad-ass. Then you switch off, and it's weird. It's like you really are in a musical, where you can only express yourself through song or whatever."
No wonder Reece is a best-selling author because that's the perfect analogy. Or whatever.

Of course, I have to mention the boys. There's the guylinered one and the Indian-Chinese one, which HELLO, but the one who held my attention was Brad, Reece's boyfriend. He's the most together person in the book and such a warm character. However, there are no perfect characters in this, and the realistically drawn characters are one of the strengths of the book.

You don't have to love musicals to enjoy this book, but if you are a theater geek, HANDS IN, A-CA-BITCHES! This book is your song.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

I received an ARC of this from the author but waited so long to read it that I bought and reviewed the finished copy instead. Because that's how I do.

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