Published by Macmillan on February 5th 2013
Genres: Love & Romance, Young Adult
Also by this author: Ink is Thicker Than Water, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)
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?
The Reece Malcolm List, Amy Spalding’s debut novel totally took me by surprise and had me grinning from ear to ear. It is such a cute and touching read that pulls at your heartstrings. The performing arts backdrop is a bonus but the action behind the scene steals the show. You will cheer for Devan’s successes and ache with each roadblock on her journey to find where she belongs.
It all starts off with a list. Devan never met her birth mom, famous author Reece Malcolm. All she knows about her is from book jackets or the rare author interview, and each new clue is jotted down in her notebook. When Devan’s father dies, Devan leaves her home in St. Louis to live with her elusive birth mother Reece in Los Angeles. Finally she’ll get to figure out the mystery of her mother, a woman who dedicated a book to her but has never reached out in sixteen years.
Devan did not have a close relationship with her dad or stepmother in St. Louis, but her love of musical theater kept her going. That is one area that she feels confident about, and moving to LA allows her to flourish at a performing arts school. Here she can finally be around people that share her passion for the arts and really get her. And she even falls for another fellow student from St. Louis, the gorgeous and talented singer Sai.
While Devan connects with her new school, she’s still trying to find her place with her mom, and Brad- Reece’s boyfriend. Reece is a very private person and a tough nut to crack. They find in some ways they are a lot alike though they are each scared to let the other in. Devan adds more entries to her Reece Malcolm list in each chapter, and some of the items warm your heart while others cut like a knife. I could see both Reece and Devan’s side of things and really rooted for them to find their bond.
There are other supporting characters in Reece’s world that help Devan decipher the mystery of Reece. Brad especially is so nice and supportive and helps to make the transition easier.
Los Angeles is its own character in the book, with popular landmarks like The Grove, Amoeba, and The Arclight getting a mention. I always like to read books set in my city, and to see it through someone else’s eyes. Devan never thought she could belong in LA (NY she thinks is more her speed) but it takes her by surprise.
I also think Spalding gets the performing arts scene right. Even though Devan is a little shy and unsure in her social skills or with Reece, she blossoms on the stage. She knows what she wants and goes after it. Sometimes there’s jealousy and hurt feelings from her peers, but that is all true to life.
Amy Spalding has a knack for dialogue and for creating realistic characters. I found both Reece and Devan relatable and likable. The writing is sharp, witty and quick to read. I really wanted to pace my reading to make the book last but couldn’t help but speed through it. Though the book is a stand-alone I wouldn’t mind another book with these characters.
If you have a passion for the theater you will adore this book – there’s even a big musical finale. But you will also find a truly satisfying story with great characters and heart, and contemporary fans will eat this one up. Amy Spalding’s next book is Ink is Thicker than Water due out at the end of the year.
I received a review copy of The Reece Malcolm List from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. The book is available in paperback or e-book now and is a bargain at just over $5. Read more about it on Goodreads.