The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Published: February 5, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Received: Review copy from the publisher
Things I know about Reece Malcolm:
1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.
Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.
L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.
But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything? [goodreads]
I adored this novel, so so much. It's the kind of story you go into not quite sure what to expect, but come out the other side thinking this book totally nailed it. Amy Spalding has left a mark on me with her inspiring story of what it means to be a teenager, full of hopes and dreams, but no foundation to build those dreams upon. Sometimes life has to completely turn you upside down before you realize that things happen for a purpose, at their own speed.
Devan's father just died and she is sent to live with her biological mother, whom she knows nothing about - other than the fact that she lives in Los Angeles and writes best-selling novels... oh and that she gave up Devan just after she was born. It's a hard pill to swallow. Immediately I felt so sad for Devan, but the mood of the story stayed just above what you'd expect from a depressing situation as it was. Spalding began the novel with a light, quirky flair to it. Though the subject matter was heavy, you never got lost in the tough pieces.
As Devan's life begins to take root in Los Angeles, she pursues her dreams in musical theater at the local performing arts high school. I absolutely loved this aspect of the story! For someone who knows what it was like to perform in high school (I never did the theater thing, just the dance thing), I completely connected with Devan and the responsibilities she faced while attempting to juggle homework, theater, boys and the friends she made through their shared love for performing arts. On top of all that - she was still tackling the issue of discovering who her mother is, and if she'd end up leaving Devan again... like she did sixteen years ago.
This novel balanced quite nicely between the softer, light-hearted moments, and the deeper, more emotional turns. The character development felt very natural, and it guided me through the story, at a very intentional, well thought out pace. The relationship between Devan and her mother, Reece Malcolm, is probably my most favorite aspect of the story. What begins as complete strangers, both fearing who the other might be, but then discovering how beautiful and alike they truly are, was a sweet blessing to this story. I am a fan of this debut author's work and will most definitely be reading more by her!