Thursday, October 17, 2013
Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Harry N. Abrams, 2013
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book despite seeing several reviews beforehand. Luckily that worked to my advantage because I ended up really loving this story! I found it to be a completely charming contemporary and I'm so glad it came my way.
Rebecca "Rebel" Blue is orphaned, living with her aunt, uncle, and perfect cousin, and expressing an negative attitude about everything in life. In detention, she collides with the perky Kennedy Green and both are instructed to create a bucket list. When Rebel hears about Kennedy's death the next day, she is inspired to try to complete Kennedy's bucket list, compiled of twenty do-good activities. As Rebel steps out of her comfort zone, she also makes connections healing damage with her surviving family and flirting with do-gooder Nate.
I found the book a bit slow at first to be quite honest, mostly because I was wondering how the bucket list was going to get entwined in Rebel's life. As the novel progressed and I saw how it was changing her life, I just started getting all these tingly feelings in my heart. It seemed so sweet to me and I got excited whenever Rebel managed to make something work, whether through sheer determination to complete that dang list (because Rebel is a woman of her word) or through listening to someone else and taking that valuable advice.
The romance is pretty cute though it won't be to everyone's taste. Nate is the all-around American golden boy, playing baseball, honors student, volunteers, involved in student government, etc. He doesn't bring the swoons like the bad boys of YA but he's actually the kind of guy I like in real life so of course I liked him here. He doesn't get as much page time or development as I'd like in a full blown romance but since this is more about Rebel's journey, I didn't mind that.
Another important element is Rebel's family life. Her mother died and her father was a one-night stand, leaving her to the care of her overbearing aunt, hands-off uncle, and competitive cousin. Or so it seems until this project forces Rebel to more closely examine and be grateful for these relationships. Finally she is able to see some positives and it really filled me with joy to see that recognition grow in her. Their relationship is not magically perfect but there are steps of progress made in a realistic fashion.
Overall: I really loved this book. I found it so heart-warming and felt like it really spoke to me at that moment. Really just a fantastic contemporary that reminds me why I love the genre so much. I look forward to checking out more of Coriell's writing like her debut Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe.
Cover: I think she kind of looks like Carly Rae Jepsen-does anyone else see this?
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