Publication date: 5th February 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars.
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?
Fresh, funny and tinged with heartache, The Reece Malcolm List tells the story of Devan, a girl still discovering her place in the world. Devan has always been on the move her entire life, her last place she was finally able to find a close friend in Justine. But then unexpectedly her dad is killed, she was never close to her dad but he still was still her only real family. Tracey was her step-mum, but there had always been that bitterness between them. So three months after her father’s death, Devan’s biological mother’s lawyer turns up with the announcement that she will be living with her mother. Devan hasn’t heard a peep from her mother in her sixteen years so she doesn’t really know what to expect. Who is the real Reece Malcolm?
My first impression of Reece Malcolm was that she didn’t give two hoots about Devan; she didn’t even make the trip over to pick her up from St Louis, sent her lawyer instead and then didn’t even acknowledge Devan when she came to pick her up. But her aloofness and distance did simmer down pretty quickly, she did everything a normal parent is expected to do, but she never made it out that she wanted to do it. She was nice enough but not the best communicator; she was always one to make rash comments which came across quite hurtful without thinking things through. But Brad her boyfriend definitely made up for her behaviour, he was down to earth, charming and always thought of Devan.
I enjoyed the journey we went on with Devan discovering who Reece Malcolm was. It was funny how she had to find out bits of information through Google searching, observing her mother’s behaviour and snooping around. I wanted Devan to form a strong relationship with her mother who had abandoned her for 16 years with no explanation and at points we did see that coming through, but I’d rather have preferred Devan and her mother to be honest with each other in the beginning instead of keeping their ideas cooped up, eventually we knew it would lead to a big blow up. But I guess it was all necessary for them to realise the truth.
Devan was a solid protagonist that I didn’t have a hard time connecting to, she was talented in the performing arts and she just needed stability in her life to keep her grounded. She wasn’t afraid of doing things which went against the grain even if it meant having no friends, and I admired her honest voice, it made her situation appear more realistic. Of course there were stumbling blocks along the way with a love quadrangle developing, (why is it always the case when a person is single you do nothing about it, but then when you’re with someone you suddenly show interest). The guy that Devan admired really wasn’t my cup of tea, he was indecisive, and how he always ran to Devan in time of need when he had a girlfriend made me root for the other guy. I supposed the way things resolved themselves between these characters would sit well with the majority of readers, but the behaviour of this guy didn’t leave the greatest impression on me.
However The Reece Malcolm list was solidified with a great set of secondary characters. They brought their own drama and cheerfulness which could perk you up very quickly. I liked how I’d started off with my initial favourites but was quick to change sides as the book progressed.
Amy Spalding’s The Reece Malcolm list is definitely one debut novel to look out for this year, it delves into several issues Devan had to face in a realistic way, but also brought a lot of fun along the way.