Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. god, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive and actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Corey Ann Haydu’s Life by Committee is one of those books that has been talked about for a long time, to the point where I don’t even really remember what made me want to read it. Sure, it’s contemporary and as we all know, I’ll read pretty much anything contemporary. But beyond that I don’t really know why. And I guess because of that, I had this idea in my head of what the book would be. In the end, it wasn’t what I had thought it was going to be. It was actually better.

Since the beginning of the school year, Tabitha has felt isolated. Ever since she got hotter, her old friends dropped her, saying she was no longer the same person. To everyone, it looks like Tab only has one friend, Elise. But what they don’t know, is she spends all her nights chatting online with Joe. Joe who has a girlfriend everyone loves. And who Joe says he loves. But Joe also tells Tabitha that he’s starting to fall for her. Tab wants nothing more than to tell someone her secret, but who can she tell? Her best friend who would disapprove of the whole thing? Her admittedly cool parents? There’s no one Tab can talk to. Until she stumbles across Life by Committee. On LBC, Tabitha can finally share her secret. But there is one catch, for every secret she shares, she has to complete an assignment. If doesn’t complete her assignment before the deadline, her secrets will be revealed. Completing the assignments, Tabitha feels strong and brave. But what if it goes too far?

Life by Committee was an interesting read for me. For one thing, I started reading the book before I left for BEA, got about 100 pages in and then left for a week. And then I picked it back up when I got back. Because of that, I almost had to get into the story twice. But in a way it worked for me. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it did. And then, as I’ve mentioned before, there was the fact that I had completely the wrong idea about this book. For whatever reason, I thought Life by Committee was going to be something completely different. If I’m being honest, what I thought it was going to be didn’t really make much sense so I’m really happy with what the story ended up being. There were so many things about this story that intrigued. Just the whole concept of the Life by Committee website was fascinating to me. The idea that you would willingly share your secrets with people who will basically make it a point to blackmail you with them if you don’t do what they say. And while I wouldn’t personally get involved in something like that, I could see why the people who were on the site were there, and why, ultimately, Tabitha went there. Even if I also had some issues with Tabitha herself, but I’ll get to that in a moment. I guess my one gripe with the book was how it all ended. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how it all worked itself out. I just wish I could have seen more of what happens after everything goes down. And that has to do with some of the people involved.

I’ll admit that it didn’t take long for me to really like Tabitha. But it also didn’t take long for me to get annoyed with her. So while reading, I was kinda conflicted. I could see so much greatness in Tabitha, but at the same time, the more I read the more I grew frustrated with her because I could see right through everything Joe was saying to her. And I’m not going to lie, I got more than a little annoyed at the whole cheating part of things. But eventually it did work itself out and I totally get that Tab had to go through that in order to come out stronger and better. When she finally got it, I was back with the Tabitha love. The people who really stole the show, though, were Tabitha’s parents, Cate and Paul. So often in YA novels, parents tend to be conveniently absent. But it wasn’t the case here. I loved Cate and Paul. They weren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination (I mean, Paul is a stoner) but they were there for their daughter when she needed them to be and I appreciated that so much. And that brings me to the one person I wish I could have seen more of, Devon. It seemed at times that so much of Tabitha’s backstory revolved around him, especially the fallout with her former friends, and yet I feel like I only got a few brief glimpses of Devon. Sure, I really liked those glimpses, but I just wish I could have seen more. 

Overall, Corey Ann Haydu’s Life by Committee is a book I really enjoyed. Though there were some aspects of the story I had my issues with, they didn’t stop me from turning pages faster and faster to see what would happen next. If you’re looking for your next contemporary read, then Life by Committee might be something you want to pick up.

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