Friday, June 27, 2014
Review: Life By Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Published: May 13, 2014
Hardcover, 304 pages
3 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an 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?
The concept for this book is quite unique. Tabitha finds a website where she can share all her deep, dark secrets, and as long as she does the assignment given to her afterwards, her secrets are safe. Seems pretty cool and it plays out flawlessly, but there were a few things about this book that irked me. Throughout the book, there are references to Tab's appearance and moments where we notice that her friends have started treating her differently after she goes through puberty. There are claims that she dresses slutty but nothing about her wardrobe screams slutty to me. Thy pretty much hate her because she has bigger boobs than them and I guess is pretty. It's a very strange situation that didn't seem realistic to me. But with that aside, Tab is the kind of girl who's hard to root for. She's in love with Joe, who has a girlfriend, and they chat online every night and are very cautious around each other at school. The day they cross the line into a new territory is the moment she discovers Life by Committee and her life changes drastically.
Things spiral out of control and everything about the book becomes much more intense. I got invested in Tab's life once she put her secret on that website and once she got her assignment: Kiss him again. Suddenly there are even more moral issues involved in Tab's life. Not only has she already kissed a guy she shouldn't have, but now she must kiss him again and perhaps do even more things she's not comfortable with. But she does it and she continues to put secrets on the website. Everything from that point on in the story is mostly morally wrong and a lot of things happen that I wish didn't, but I understand how they had to in order for the story to play out. This was certainly different from any book I've read before.
Now, I love unlikable characters. Courtney Summers writes fantastic characters who do a lot of wrong things but I still love them. I had a hard time loving Tab, but most of the time I did like her. Her redemption at the end was nicely done and I loved how she read throughout the book. Her active reading trend was fun to read about and made me want to do that with my books. This book had some problems, but the main theme came through perfectly: Everything has consequences. If you kiss someone else's boyfriend, life will not be so easy for you after that. I liked it like this better than in some books where the cheaters end up with a happily ever after.
“I am a vacation. I am the Caribbean, and a fruity drink and a sunburn and a break from real life. But I am not real life. No one lives in the Caribbean. No one wants a fruity drink every day. I’d rather be water: necessary.”
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