December 26, 2017
Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.
Which is where the list comes in.
Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.
But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems . . . and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.
"Very enjoyable!" By Ashia 3 months ago
Kasie West is on my auto-read list, although after her last two releases, I'd almost given up on reading a book from her that I truly loved (The one I love best was P.S. I Like You). However, I'm happy that I gave this book a chance! I really enjoyed reading Love, Life and the List. It's more than a young adult romance; it's about Abby's growth as she navigates through life, things she realizes about herself, her relationships with the people around her and the pain of growing up.
When Abby was rejected to display her art at the museum and was told she needed heart and depth, she decided to have more life experiences, believing this would help her growth. For this, she started a list of traits she wished to acquire, traits espoused by the people around her. I was inspired! I thought it's an amazing idea, and I wanted to have my own Heart List. As for Abby, I really do think she grew as she went through her list; it forces her to become more aware of other people, like the Tree Guy, and to go out of her comfort zone to experience life.
I love Abby's relationship with her Dad, who's the best email writer in the world. I thought it's great she has a supportive dad, that even though he's always so far away, he makes time for her whenever he could. Her Grandpa is just wonderful too; he's basically the stable male influence in her life, and it's funny how they're so alike in their love for sarcasm. Abby's relationship with her Mom is a bit trickier, but then, I think our relationships with our moms are all like that. Added to which, Abby's mom suffered from some mental illness, and I like how the author treated it with respect, like the way Abby and her family didn't discount it (as so many do) but did their best to help. My psychology professor used to say there's no such thing as normal, only degrees of abnormality. So…
Another thing I like is Abby's friendship with Lacey. Part of growing up, as I mentioned earlier, is to experience new things, and this includes making new friends. You can't have too many friends! Though of course, it's always best to choose friends with care. Good for Abby that her friendship with Lacey gave her the emotional support just when she needed it most. This brought me back to my own high school days…which is a trip best made alone. :)
Lastly, I love Abby's friendship with Cooper. From their every scene, you can see that they're truly best friends, the kind that knew each other soul-deep. However, Abby is also in love with Cooper and had even told him about this last summer, only to have her brush it off to save face when she realized Cooper didn't return her feelings. So this summer is all about Abby trying to get over Cooper, while said boy is chasing another girl and even matchmaking Abby with another boy called Elliot. I have to admit that by 50% of the book, I was so frustrated with Cooper that I want Abby to end up with Elliot. (He's a nice guy. Mom and Grandpa approved.) I thought this part of the plot (Will she or won't she? With Cooper, I mean) just dragged on and on and on… If some scenes were cut, I think this book would've been a lot better.
Abby's voice as a narrator is engaging and makes for easy reading, and it was really interesting to learn about painting and her struggles as an artist.
Overall, Love, Life, and the List is a very enjoyable read, and I'm sure lots of young adults would find themselves relating with Abby. As for the adults, it's a great catalyst for a trip down memory lane.