The novel’s protagonist, Devan, is a theater/choir kid, which I thought was really cool. I loved how passionate she was about her hobbies and realistic about her talent. To be honest, that whole culture isn’t something I’m part of, so I was kind of looking into a whole new group of people, so that made things really interesting. In general, I thought The Reece Malcom List did a great job showing life in show choir, musicals, etc., and the group of friends Devan found for herself was really endearing, even though they had some difficulties (like any clique, I’m sure.)
And as a character, I liked Devan a lot. After her dad died, she gets shipped out to LA to live with the Pulitzer-winning mother she’s never met, who turns out to have an awesome boyfriend and an entire life of her own. Devan, naturally, feels a bit awkward in her new home, since it’s pretty clear that her mother isn’t jumping for joy over having her there. The mother-daughter relationship was pretty much the entire reason I wanted to read this book, and I’m very happy to report that Spalding completely sold the development and growth of Reece and Devan’s relationship throughout the book. It was honestly my favorite part of The Reece Malcolm List.
But like most YA books, there’s also a romance side of the plot, and I just…ew. Devan’s love interest (for a little bit there’s a love triangle but it was subtle and realistic and not-annoying)—anyway, her love interest just did not work for me. In my opinion, he needed to be roasted over a luau pit while Devan did her own thing instead of settling for that loser. I mean, I’m glad there were no declarations of love, and I honestly don’t see it being a lasting relationship, but that guy was pretty awful and immature and I didn’t like him. At all.
But aside from the relationship I didn’t buy into, this book was awesome. It was funny and charming in all the right places, and serious and touching in other spots. Amy Spalding did an awesome job with The Reece Malcolm List, and I’m really glad I got to read it. Seriously, this is a really great book.