Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann HayduLife by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

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?

Upon finishing Life By Committee all I can think of is that I am… indifferent to it. I breezed through the novel and did enjoy reading it, but I failed to connect to it in any way so it was a very passive experience. This is a bit of a disappointment to me because I was such a huge fan of Haydu’s OCD Love Story, but at least I did manage to enjoy the reading a bit.

I think my inability to really connect with the story was mostly due to the fact that I never felt like I got a real understanding for our MC Tabitha. Tabby was a very cold, closed off character. This attitude is really understandable in her story because of what she had been through. Her life long best friend randomly dropped her at a dance because she didn’t feel she was a good person and didn’t like how she had changed over the summer and that really left her with no one in her life. There is this weird judgey thing going on at Tabby’s school. Because she got pretty over the summer and started wearing clothes that were a bit more revealing she was judged pretty harshly. People thought she was a huge slut and that she was this boy crazy girl that she really wasn’t. I mean she had crushes sure, but it was nothing out of character for a teenaged girl. The reasoning for everyone in the school shutting her out was one that never really resonated with me because it was really silly.

A big part of the novel was the one relationship that Tabby did manage to maintain with her best friend Elise and this also failed to emotionally affect me in any way. See, I never felt like Elise was a good friend to Tabby at all so when they had their falling out I didn’t really care because it was kind of like, well, good riddance to bad rubbish to me. Tabby never felt like she could be honest with Elise (though Elise was honest with her about some pretty private stuff) but Tabby always feared judgment from Elise and to me that is not a quality I would ever want in a best friend. As far as love interests go, we are shown a mostly one sided relationship as Tabby pines for Joe, a boy at her school who already has a girlfriend. I didn’t much like Joe at all, I mean he was using Tabby and he was a cheater and that’s not exactly a turn on in my eyes. For me relationships and the way they are built and maintained is a large part of my enjoyment in a novel and that just wasn’t present here so it definitely left me longing for a lot more in that department.

We are also treated to a lot of family life in Life By Committee. This was one part of the novel that I did really enjoy. Tabby’s parents were very young when they had her and are now pregnant with another baby and wanting to do things differently the second time around. I did feel bad for Tabby as she prepared for the big change in her home life. I mean, being an only child for 16 years and then being faced with a new sibling is pretty huge in the life of a teenager. I also was left feeling pretty bad for her as she witnessed her parents intense need to “do things differently” for this second baby which left Tabby wondering why they felt they screwed up so badly with her. I mean I understood the viewpoint from the parent’s mind, they were young with Tabby and definitely didn’t raise her in the most mature of environments but I totally understood why it would hurt Tabby.

Through all of these changes and shut outs in Tabby’s life she ends up finding solace in a Life By Committee website after she finds the web address written in a used book. She gets immersed in this weird web where members tell secrets to the other members and are then given a mission to help them deal with it by the site runner. Some of the things these people do are hefty and I had a hard time believing people would listen to this random person from the internet as they fly around the world and make incredibly revealing things public.

Upon finishing this review my feelings toward the book are really no more clearer than they were prior to writing. This was definitely not one of my new favourites but it was interesting and kept me entertained all the way through. I do think that OCD Love Story was a much stronger story and I am still excited to see what topic Haydu tackles next.


3 Hot Espressos

10 Responses to “Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu”

  1. Kayla

    Thanks for the honest review! I was debating with myself if I should pick this up or not but I think I’ll pass for the moment

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I have this one coming up for review and while I haven’t read OCD Love Story yet, I’m excited about this one. It’s a shame to hear that you didn’t connect emotionally to the story. I’m going to keep in mind what you said about Tabitha, so hopefully, she won’t frustrate me too much.
    Lovely review.

  3. S.Huston

    This saddens me..I was really looking forward to this one but it sounds like I will be disappointed. I will probably still read it but probably won’t jump on it right when it comes out. Thanks for the review 🙂

  4. Amanda @ Book Badger

    Hmm, I expected a lot more from this book than it gives. I thought it’d be mind blowing and fantastic, and it’s kind of disappointing that it wasn’t that, that it was mild. I’m sorry you didn’t like this book more Jenni, it’s a shame because it could have been great. Great review though hun 🙂

  5. Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

    There’s something about the cover that makes me want to read this one, but the synopsis doesn’t sound great to me. I especially don’t like the sound of the love interest being a user and a cheater. I also enjoy the development of a relationship in a book. A strong relationship is key, whether it’s a friendship or romance or family. This doesn’t sound like it’s for me, but I’ll have to check out OCD Love Story and see if that one will suit me better!

  6. Lauren

    I’m not sure this one is for me, but your review has reminded me that I still need to read OCD Love Story, it sounds like that’s one I’ll definitely enjoy. Lovely honest review!

  7. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Aww I always hate when I feel kind of indifferent towards a book I read! It’s definitely a let down and I’m sorry that this was the case for you, although I can definitely understand from what you said about the overall personality of the protagonist. While it’s understandable, it’s super hard to actually relate to. Fantastic review, Jenni! <33

  8. Pili

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t connect with this one much, and even though the reading was enjoyable it wasn’t something more that you’d expect.
    Thanks for the honest review, Jenni!