| Review – YA Contemporary Romance | Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List Book Cover Love, Life, and the List
Kasie West
Young Adult Fiction
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.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

** I received an e-arc back in November ’17, in exchange for an honest review

This was my second Kasie West read and one thing that I’ve noticed so far about her writing is that it is light-hearted most of the time, easy going, humoristic and heartfelt. The romance Is part of the story but not overly so – which took some getting used to in this one, but it gave room to let other elements of the story develop further which evidently I appreciated even more in the end. The curiosity about whether Cooper might eventually return Abby’s feelings or if Abby would move on to another guy kept me intrigued and hoping for that Happy Ending to happen because I really was rooting for Cooper here even though Cooper’s cluelessness borders on being a jerk from time to time, which was a little frustrating sometimes haha. Kasie wrapped everything up really nice and delivers a beautiful YA contemporary read. Her writing is fluid and light and makes you want to keep reading until you finish the book – which I did haha I couldn’t stop reading, once started. Was this book mind-blowing? Definitely not. It’s honestly more of a 3.5 for me, but I felt like it was fair to round up to 4.

So let me tell you a bit more about some of the elements in this book; the romance, the story-line and the characters and how I felt about it all.

I’ve developed a hate/love relationship with
the romance in this book haha.

unfortunately, I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed by the development – or better said; non-development – of the romance throughout the first half of the book. When I was at 45% in, there still wasn’t much going on in the romance department. The feels present, were – for as far as I could tell – only one-sided so far. C acted so careless around her all the time; he was constantly flirting with others and Dating with them, ugh. I really liked them as friends, but it was hurting me how he was acting around her while he knew – since she told him about it a year ago – she had feelings for him. Unrequited love just sucks don’t you think haha? I’ve had the non-pleasure of experiencing it myself a couple of times when I was younger and it broke me back then so I can really understand how this must feel like for her. I was constantly looking for little openings/moments as to where he would open up to her because I really was rooting for this ship to start sailing you know? So it kind of hurt me to see her dealing with him being like this. And those little moments of me thinking he actually felt something; They’re there sometimes, but so very small that I had to re-think about them a lot, re-read them to tell there really was something there, wasn’t it?

It picks up later on, but for me, it was a bit of a disappointment though, that it didn’t get developed sooner on in the story. For them maybe, it was going on for years now – their growing feelings for each other – but since we only read her POV, it’s really hard to tell how he feels in all of this unless he explicitly tells. And as said before, the moments as to where he Did show something that remoted to having feelings for Abby; they were so very small in the beginning that I didn’t dare hope that there was something there. And feeling like this for so long throughout the book, made me not feel the development of the romance much. I’d just liked it if it’d be a bit more prominent from the beginning. It is being published as a contemporary romance after all. The friendship between Abby and Cooper though is light and fun and was a beautifully written friendship I think. But overall, I felt that her ROMANTIC relationship with Cooper fell flat through the majority of the book and then wrapped up a bit too easily in the end maybe?

The story-line and especially the things involving the Heart List
were so beautifully written/developed and were the main reason
for why I, overall, Did end up loving this book.

So, I was disappointed by the non-development in the romance department in the first half of the book. But thankfully Kasie focused on developing other elements in this book, which were the main reason I fell in love with this story despite the lack of the romance department development. I REALLY loved the family elements in this book for example. Abby’s family was a joy to read about and all of these wonderful relationships felt so real; it wasn’t a picture-perfect family. They were a family with real life, recognizable problems which Kasie did an amazing job with when writing about all of that. And I especially loved Abby’s relationship with her grandpa – he is So Funny! I loved him so much as a minor character and already miss him! He was a real joy to read about and a great addition to this story I think because of the well-developed written relationship he and Abby share together.

Then there’s also the whole ‘heart list’- element going on in this story which is such a great addition to this whole. With this list, Abby hopes to find more depth and emotions in herself which she can then use in her paintings to gain more experience so she’s able to showcase her portfolio. I loved the things she and Cooper, and she herself as well undertook. Undertaking these things ensured there were a lot of tender, heartwarming moments and a lot of humoristic ones as well – and I do love humor in a book!

And I loved that while reading the book, this list 1. still remains in the background a bit and doesn’t get overwhelming and 2. is the cause of a really beautiful development in all of the characters present in the story and the romance development as well later on. The idea behind this list is a great addition to this story and the writing of it all is just really well done! Aside from these amazing characters, whom I come to love, the Heart list is such an important element in the book and I just really loved how Kasie wove it throughout this story-line and created a beautiful balance in writing this original element of the list in the story as to the characters and story-line development. Reading about Abby’s list and her ‘adventures’, seeing how she really grew as a person thanks to this list, makes me want to compose a Heart List of myself! – Come to think of it…I really think it’s a great blog-article-idea and something fun for me to do personally-wise as well – couldn’t hurt to try! So more info on this very soon!

Overall, I really enjoyed Love, Life, and the List even though it maybe looks like I didn’t since I had quite a few remarks on this book. It was a really cute read, with great characters, I loved the friendship and the banter between Abby and Cooper and Kasie’s writing is just really addictive. I definitely recommend this book to those in search of a sweet, YA contemporary with heart. It’s a great read to pick up at any time, anywhere and is that kind of book you just thoroughly enjoy with a smile on your face while reading. I’ve seen many readers out there loving the cr*p out of this book and rating it 4.5/5 stars so be sure to give it a try if you’re into books like this one!

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