Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
“No matter how much we wish we could twist and bend someone’s will to ours, they have to want it too.”
The summer before senior year Abby is left by two of her quartet of best friends to spend it with Cooper. Cooper, the boy she professed her love to the summer prior but then brushed it off as a joke to save embarrassment at his daunted face. To make matters worse she has been told that her paintings lack heart. In an effort to add more life to her art, she compiles a to do list to help inspire her work. Cooper latches on and decides to partake in the project, unknowingly being the check for one of her tasks, “have my heart broken“. Through the list she learns more than just her love for her family and friends is needed for inspiration, but also to experience feelings outside of her comfort zone.
I am sucker for the in love with your best friend trope.
Okay, I am a sucker for a lot of those cheesy tropes, who am I kidding. Needless to say I adored this book. Though there were a few things that I didn’t like about the book, as a whole I was pleasantly surprised. Partially because I was so let down by the last two Kasie West books that my expectations weren’t very high. But, there is something to be said about a book that can make me shed a tear. I mean that with all sincerity because I don’t really cry during books or movies for that matter. I have cried in three other instances that I can think of: that one scene with Dobby in the Deathly Hallows, the part in What to Say Next with the bullying, and lastly the scene in the movie Click when Adam Sandler is dying and says “family first” to his son. Okay, so you get it, I seldom cry, and it’s usually over the unexpected things.
Anyway, what I liked about this story was that it wasn’t about getting the boy. I mean it was, but ultimately, Abby was trying to enhance her skill as an artist. Don’t forget guys I am married to an artist, so art is a dear subject to me and actually pretty major in my life. Unfortunately, there was a small thing about this that really irked me, which I will talk about later.
I am always happy to see characters having development by reaching outside of their comfort zone, especially when the means are within reason. The tasks that Abby does to accomplish her list are all things that aren’t so extreme that you might question how old the character was, her expense account, or even her rationality.
The characters in this book thankfully acted their age….or so I thought at least. Even though I wasn’t exactly rooting for Cooper I figured that he’s a teenage boy, it can’t be expected that he would be completely aware of Abby’s feelings. Though there were many instances when I thought he was a tease and HAD to know what his friendly touches met. I mean, he’s a TEENAGE boy, touch has to be a major part of his senses. I sort of thought that Abby didn’t really treat her new friends very fairly as she only called them when she needed them. This is supposed to have two more standalone books that accompanies this one that has some of the same characters, and I am really hoping that Elliot gets his own story in the spin offs.
Things I particularly liked and didn’t like
-I loved the relationships with Abby and her family. The fact that she kept in contact with her dad so much while he was deployed was really sweet. The banter she had going with her grandpa was super endearing as well. In fact he was one of my favorite characters in the book. It was refreshing to have a family dynamic that was still put together, yet had it’s problems to deal with.
-I loved that this book didn’t heavily emphasize cliques or anything, but that she was willing to make new friends when the opportunity arose. With that, she was also willing to include said new friends with her new friends as well.
-I loved that there wasn’t a ridiculous amount of girl drama. There was at one point a part where the book could have gone incredibly petty, and I am really glad that Kasie steered clear of that.
-I didn’t like how Abby treated the museum like it was the only place she can sell her art. For being a millennial you would think she would understand the concept of selling her art online, specifically on sites such as Etsy.
-Sometimes the writing in the book actually drove me nuts. I kept thinking to myself, is this really necessary? Why didn’t it edited out? For example, we do not need extra play by play in some scenes. For example:
“I pulled the handle on the faucet and scrubbed my hands and face with water. Then I patted dry with a hand towel.”
Now while the scene emphasized something in particular regarding the faucet and the sound it makes. Those two sentences were not necessary. This is just one small example. I know it’s a really bizarre thing to be bothered by…don’t judge me for my weird peeves.
HAIM – Little of Your Love