Love, Life, and the List: A Cute, Simple Contemporary Romance

4/5 Stars

Author: Kasie West

Publisher/Imprint: HarperTeen

Edition: Hardcover, 374 Pages

Publication Date: December 26, 2017

A Spine that Shines? Fairly Well

Initial Thoughts

Overall, I found Love, Life, and the List to be a cute romance. I always enjoy reading Kasie West books, because they’re very clean and leave the reader feeling light-and-fluffy inside. The plot of the book is pretty simple and straightforward. Abby has an unrequited crush on her best friend Cooper. In the midst of dealing with her crush and her mom’s severe anxiety problems, Abby is rejected by an art show.

Angry and hurt, she creates a list of things to accomplish that will help her grow as a person, thereby infusing more emotion and “depth” into her artwork. The list includes challenges such as: read a classic novel, get your heart broken, fall in love, watch life come into the world, etc. It is interesting to follow along with Abby to see what kinds of activities she devises to fulfill the items on her list. Love, Life, and the List also includes some cool scenes in an underground garden as well as the Cheesecake Factory! Yum!

The Characters & Believability

Here are my thoughts on the characters and their actions:

  • Abby is sweet and artsy. She hopes to get into a special art program in the winter. Her dad is serving in the military overseas, so she helps take care of her anxious mother. One of my favorite aspects of this story is the witty banter between Abby and her grandpa. (That old man can really make you laugh!) Abby is really into Cooper, her best friend.
  • Cooper is the “cool,” sporty dude. He loves to race across sand dunes. Unfortunately, Abby and Cooper’s chemistry is not as great as the chemistry in West’s other books. Abby and Cooper are cute, but it doesn’t feel quite right when Abby puts herself out there for him multiple times, and Cooper doesn’t really respond.
  • In fact, near the end of the book, I was having issues with how both Cooper and Abby were acting. After the big catastrophe, Cooper’s explanation did not cut it for me. His reason is not believable enough; it doesn’t matter if his phone got wet. He would have had to have been in a coma or something for that thing to be believable. This is one of the things that indicated to me that the plot was not as well thought-out as some of West’s previous novels. Abby also acts like a jerk towards her family after the catastrophe, and it makes her seem more childish than mature.
  • Elliot and Iris, Abby and Cooper’s other potential love interests, could have used more development. They seem more like character archetypes meant to fulfill a particular role in the plot. The thing I remember the most about Iris is the scene in which she literally gives Abby the “back-off” speech, which feels quite cliche. I don’t think it needs to be so explicit there; subtlety would’ve worked just fine.
  • Justin and Rachel, Abby and Cooper’s two other friends from school, seem almost non-existent throughout the story since they are out of the country and rarely communicate with Abby and Cooper. But their appearance and camaraderie in the final scene does add to the cuteness of the ending.

Final Thoughts

The ending wraps things up nicely in West’s signature style. If you like simple contemporary romances, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It might also be worth noting that Love, Life, and the List introduces Lacey Barnes, the main character in Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss. There will be some cross-over characters in the latter.

This particular Kasie West book may not be my favorite, but it was still an enjoyable read, and I will continue to pre-order Kasie West books! Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts to add?

Spines that Shine


1 thought on “Love, Life, and the List: A Cute, Simple Contemporary Romance”

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