Kerry Winfrey
March 01, 2014 2:00 pm

A couple of months ago, HelloGiggles writer Anna Swenson had a great interview with author Amy Spalding. They talked about having a “day job” and a writing career, and Amy seemed so smart and funny that I knew I had to read her books immediately. But I guess I have a really lax definition of “immediately,” because it’s two months later and I’m just now getting around to telling you all how amazing The Reece Malcolm List is. Let’s not focus on my (lack of) timeliness, though, okay? Let’s focus on The Reece Malcolm List.

All Devan really knows about her mother is that she’s a successful author. She doesn’t have any contact with her at all…that is, until Devan’s father dies and she’s shipped off to L.A. to live with Reece Malcolm. Devan is surprised to find that Reece is super young (there’s basically a Gilmore Girls age difference between the two of them)…and she’s also not offering up any details about her past. Reece is cool enough to enroll Devan in a totally sweet performing arts school a la Fame. Did I ever tell you guys that I love Fame so much that I once went to a junior high production of Fame Jr., despite knowing no one at that junior high? Well, I did, and I’m not ashamed (I’m a little bit ashamed).

But back to the book. Devan is making a ton of cool new friends (and some cool new sort-of enemies) and hanging out with not just one but multiple cute dudes. That takes a backseat, though, to the relationship with her mom. What’s the deal with Reece Malcolm, and will she and Devan ever have a real mother-daughter relationship?

Obviously I’m not telling you. Duh. Read the book. But I will tell you that The Reece Malcolm List is hilarious but still has a lot of heart. If you like Leila Sales, Julie Halpern or Stephanie Perkins, you’ll probably love this book.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

-Maybe this is just because I’m basically a corpse walking among all you younguns (kidding–I’m 27), but I thought Reece’s boyfriend was a total babe. British, a good cook, into music and super nice to a 16-year-old houseguest…what’s not to like? I mean, sure, Devan’s love interests were great, too, but I liked that The Reece Malcolm List also had strong, believable, interesting adult characters. Reece Malcolm is legitimately cool, and I’m not just saying that because I’m closer to her age than I am to Devan’s. She’s a rich and famous author who lives in an awesome house! I mean, if you had to be reunited with a long-lost parent, you could definitely do a lot worse.

-A lot of YA novels deal with characters who don’t know what they want to do with their lives, which is cool, but Devan definitely knows what she wants. She’s so into theatre and performing, and it’s really awesome to see a character who’s confident about her talents (even if she isn’t so confident about everything in her life).

-The romantic plot was pretty perfect. It had just the right mix of romcom moments and it was actually sort of unpredictable (which is rare in a romance!). It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite YA books, Anna and the French Kiss.

-Without giving away anything, The Reece Malcolm List had one of the best (verbal) fight scenes I’ve ever read. It was so realistic and, weirdly, cathartic!

-Amy Spalding’s newest book, Ink Is Thicker Than Water, just came out recently. She also has another book, Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys), coming out in 2015.

-You can also read what Amy has to say about her dog on one of my favorite websites, The Toast. Yay! Dogs!

What about you guys? Have you read The Reece Malcolm List? Did you love it as much as I did? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at youngadulteducation@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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