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Estelle: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy SpaldingThe Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: California, family, theatre, moving, starting over
Format read: ARC from NetGalley via Publisher (thanks!)

Summary: When Devan’s father dies in a car accident, she is shipped off to Los Angeles to live with Reece Malcolm, the mother she never knew and the best-selling author that she has carefully collected facts about over time.  Getting used to living with her mom is one thing, there’s also fitting into her new performing arts high school (she’s a singer and actress), making new friends, and crushing on a guy that continues to puzzle her.

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better book to be released on my birthday.

A main character who is an extreme theater geek (I was dying over all the references from classic Broadway to Troy Bolton a.k.a. Zac Efron), and a story that did an amazing job of balancing the lighthearted moments with the more serious ones?

Perfection!

Devan grew up in a house with a father who didn’t understand her interests or really talk to her and a stepmother who wouldn’t give her the time of day. When she discovered her mom was bestselling author, Reece Malcolm, she began compiling a list of facts about the woman who said very little to the media. So when Devan’s dad dies suddenly and she is sent off to live with Reece in Los Angeles, she’s not exactly sure what to expect. Can things really be  worse than the way they were before?

But she does know what she wants. She wants a warm mother who is going to wrap her in her arms and hold her, let her cry about her dad, and apologize as much as she can about never contacting her once in her sixteen years. Instead, Devan gets someone very standoffish, who clearly knows nothing about kids, and who is not going to easily indulge why she’s been so absent or what exactly happened between her and her father all those years ago.

Reece may make fun of Devan and openly admit that it weirds her out how much her boyfriend (Brad) wants to do “family things” with her yet she, no questions asked, gets Reece an audition at a great performing arts high school, takes her on shopping sprees (Devan loves fashion), and is pretty laidback when Devan starts to make plans with new friends. I really liked how atypical their relationship was. Because, gee, there is nothing normal about their situation or their relationship, and I’m glad no one was putting on airs about what their shared DNA should mean.

So on top of this new shiny (and frustrating) home life, Devan is also thrown into a new school. She’s mega-talented and takes this talent really seriously, and while not everyone is very supportive at first, Devan does get folded into a circle of friends (who have layered storylines as well) pretty immediately. (So unlike her last school.) I really liked her weighing how suddenly she should trust new people and let them in. She still had so,  much to figure out in her personal life… it wasn’t like she could just confide in anyone immediately. Even with boy situations, the author makes nothing black and white and that was so entirely REAL high school for me.

Amy Spalding writes The Reece Malcolm List in an incredibly intelligent way with flawed characters, intricate details, and a true love for theater. At 16, Devan may not have known everything about life — in fact, she often wavered between incredulous actions and wise observations about the world. Life isn’t always the happy song that musicals portray, not everything falls perfectly into place. And it takes time for people to let their guard down and to understand who they truly are. It’s like this ongoing journey, even for an adult like Reece who is hard to love and hard to get close to.

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November 20, 2013 - 8:01 am

Young Adult Book Review: Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding - […] is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding (website | twitter) Books Read by This Author: The Reece Malcolm List (Estelle’s Review) Publication Date: December 3, 2013 Publisher: Entangled: Teen Pages: 320 Target Audience: Young […]

August 13, 2013 - 9:03 am

Sweet Summertime Reads: The Yearbook, Magan - […] Winger by Andrew Smith: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Goodreads | Amazon | Estelle’s Review […]

February 26, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Alexa Y. - I’m already sold on this book, based simply on the fact that (a) it’s about a girl who’s a performer and (b) it’s set in a performing arts school and (c) theater references! Seriously, this sounds like the type of book I’d enjoy too, and I’m glad you liked it so much!

February 19, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Tabitha S. - I already wanted to read this book, but TROY BOLTON references? HA… Umm this is at the top of my “must buy list” as of right now.

But no seriously, I really want to read this one for the unique/mother daughter relationship. And the main character loves fashion? UH. This sounds like the perfect book for me.

Fantastic review!!

February 15, 2013 - 9:01 am

On a Personal Note: Estelle + the Stage (The Reece Malcolm List) - [...] while I will never be a Devan (an awesome singer, actress, and dancer), part of my enjoyment of The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding was seeing theater references in the text. Like Devan and her friends, I can be a bit of a theatre [...]

February 14, 2013 - 6:41 am

Lori - I haven’t given this one much thought until now. It sounds so great! The mother daughter relationship sounds so fascinating. Fabulous review, Estelle!

February 13, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Rather Be Reading: Our Joint Shelve It and DC Trip Re-Cap - [...] The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spading — Estelle reviewed this awesome book on the blog yesterday, singing its praises! Tara of Fiction Folio sent E a finished copy for her [...]

February 13, 2013 - 12:44 am

Bookworm1858 - Everything I hear about this book just makes me more excited-I’m not a performer but I love musical theater and crave books with such references.

February 12, 2013 - 3:01 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - I’ve been seeing so much love for this book lately! I found it all so unexpected! Just came out of nowhere. I’ll have to add this to my TBR list. :) Awesome review, Estelle!

February 12, 2013 - 1:19 pm

elena - I want to read this book for the relationship between mother + daughter, it sounds so interesting to me. Also yay for a main character who loves fashuns. You make me excited to read this!

February 12, 2013 - 11:18 am

Carla - and you said that I said it better than you! I come over all full of swag and you knocked it out of the park you big fibber!

you are so right though, I loved the flawed characters because it just made the book feel all the little bit more authentic. I especially loved how reece wasn’t the perfect adult; she was just as flawed as the teenagers. totally endearing. lovely jubley review.

February 12, 2013 - 9:43 am

Rachel - This book sounds so good! When I first heard about it I thought it sounded like something I’d maybe be interested in, but I didn’t give it much thought. I like atypical family relationships because that’s something I relate to. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for fresh contemporary. Great review!

February 12, 2013 - 9:34 am

Cynthia - This sounds like it would be an emotional coming of age story, but I’m glad the author does add some lighthearted moments too. Can’t believe I hadn’t heard anything about this one until now, it sounds wonderful. Will definitely add it to my list. Thanks for the review Estelle!

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