Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1305
Freedom or Cult?
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Tabitha kissed another girl's boyfriend. The secret is eating her up inside. She can't tell anyone who knows her but she can tell the Life by Committee - a website dedicated to those who have secrets to tell. As a member, she must share a secret and then receive an assignment. At first, having the LBC make her decisions for her is freeing and she is doing things she never thought she would. Soon, however, the assignments take a dark turn and Tabitha must decide if keeping her secrets is worth the fallout that the assignments will bring.

I chose this book for review because I was really interested in the premise. I have to say, I was a little disappointed that (after searching) there was no Life By Committee website - holy missed marketing opportunity Batman!

Tabitha was a really difficult character to relate to. I could understand her being swept up in the forbidden romance of her flirtations with Joe. Chatting well into the night, trading secrets has a secret allure that makes it exciting. However, it was her actions with regard to her family and her friend Elise that made her rather unlikeable. It is understandable that she be shell shocked, having been abruptly ditched by the people she thought where her friends but, throughout the novel, she comes across as whiny and self centered. She doesn't seem to understand her role in her situation and makes decisions that negatively impact her family and friends.

I found the other characters and, in particular, Tabitha's school, interesting. As a teacher, I always find it rather difficult to believe that crunchy granola, feeling circle, kind of schools actually exist. I was slightly annoyed with the actions of the guidance counselor, and the things that she was saying made me question the honesty of Tabitha as a narrator and kept me questioning every twist - for exampel, even in a very progressive, new agey school, I am not sure that Sasha could have gotten away with some of the stuff she pulled.

As the plot goes on, the things that the LBC group are asked to do get more and more outlandish. Zed starts to come across as more and more pretentious and questioning his motives added to the plot.

ZED: it's a moral obligation to have us ALL live our best lives. There's doing the right thing and there's doing the best thing. They're not always the same thing. The best thing is a challenge, the right thing is often a submission.

I felt like he was some creep pulling the strings of all these gullible young people, laughing as they took on his outlandish dares and never took any risks himself. At one point, when one of the other members is revealed, it takes on the feel of a cult mentality - the character is unable to decide on any actions on her own and must check with Zed first. I do wish the ending were a little more believable and didn't feel like the big reveal provided the shock value that I think it intended.

Overall, an interesting premise that leads to examinations of the characters motives as well as their willingness to put someone else in charge of their every decision.
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