In Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Posted July 13, 2014 by Kim in 2 Stars, In Review / 1 Comment

In Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann HayduLife by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: eARC, 304 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating:

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?

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in review my thoughts

Secret: I used to be more than a little addicted to PostSecret. As someone who’s pretty forthcoming with her thoughts and feelings, I found it fascinating the stuff people hide… the good, the bad and the ugly. The blurb for Life by Committee reminded me a lot of PostSecret and I was really excited to read it. Ultimately, it fell short and I’m a little disappointed.

In a nutshell, Life by Committee just wasn’t the book for me. The premise was interesting, but the execution was poor, in my opinion. My inability to connect with Tabitha made it difficult to enjoy any part of this book. She wasn’t a very nice person, and was an even worse friend, but I never quite understood where rumors of her whoredom came from. She grew boobs and put on makeup so she was a slut? It’s been a long time since I’ve been in high school, but that just seems ridiculous to me. I feel like part of the story was missing. Tabitha’s parents were odd. It bothered me that she called them by their first names, but since they behaved like teenagers themselves, I guess it’s not that much of a stretch. Tabitha’s relationship with Joe just seemed wrong from the start. I’m not one of the people who judge a book on cheating alone, I like to get the whole story, but this was just bad. Despite the fact that he repeatedly told her he loved Sasha, she continued to go back to him and kiss on him when he felt like spending some time with her. How about having some self-respect?

The whole LBC part of the book was quite interesting, but there was a flaw in the execution for me. I just can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, though. I think it was just that it was all too malicious. Zed was a little too much of a puppet master for my liking. It was creepy. The twist was one I didn’t predict, but what followed was so cheesy and unbelievable that I wound up rolling my eyes at what should have been a meaningful part of the story and Tabitha’s growth.

The one piece of the book I really enjoyed was Tabitha’s active reading hobby and the way she collected old books that others had written notes in. I liked that a lot. It made me want to go into a used bookstore and search for these gems. That was a special little detail that added a lot to the book for me. I know it ultimately led Tabitha down a not-so-great path, but I loved the idea.

I didn’t hate Life by Committee. I was just frustrated with it. What frustrated me most was the lack of feeling I had while reading it. I found that I honestly didn’t care about what was going on, and after I was finished, I was still pretty ambivalent. It was a quick read and it did hold my attention, but that’s more because I was curious to see how it all ended and not because I was particularly invested in any of the storyline. I won’t say I’m exactly in the minority here, but there are people on both sides of the camp with this book. The only way to find out where you fall is to pick up a copy and try it out for yourself. If I were you, I’d check it out from the library or borrow it from a friend.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

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About Corey Ann Haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is the author of OCD Love Story, Life by Committee, Making Pretty and her upcoming middle grade debut, Rules for Stealing Stars. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Corey has been working in children’s publishing since 2009.

In 2013, Corey was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s Flying Starts. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections.

Corey also teaches YA Novel Writing with Mediabistro and is adapting her debut novel, OCD LOVE STORY into a high school play, which will have its first run in Fall 2015.

Corey lives in Brooklyn with her dog, her boyfriend, and a wide selection of cheese.

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