Title: Life By Committee

Series: Stand-Alone

Author: Corey Ann Haydu

Expected Publication: 
May 13, 2014

Published: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 304

Genres: Young Adult ♦
Contemporary ♦ Romance

Source: Edelweiss

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?

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 05/05/2014): 3.82

  • Christina thought this title was good. It goes on her 3rd shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Rating: 3 stars! There were so many aspects that I liked about this novel, but sometimes I actually disliked how they were executed. At times I found myself rooting for the protagonist, but other times I wanted to shake some sense into her. Overall, I have to say that I liked and disliked this book in equal measure, which is why I settled for a “good” three stars.

The Lowdown: Deserted by her former best friends for finding interest in boys, growing curves, and acting “different,” Tabitha’s closest friends are her parents and she finds her escape in the pages of her favorite books that have been marked by others’ thoughts. It’s in a copy of The Secret Garden that Tab discovers a kinship with its former owner, gravitating to the person’s thoughts on love and life that can found through highlighted sections and the pretty red penmanship swirled in the margins. It’s at the end of that copy that Tab also discovers a website, Life By Committee. It’s a site where members have to divulge secrets and Zed, the creator, gives assignments based on the secret, and then the community of secret-keepers offer their support and thoughts on both the secrets themselves and the completion of the missions. For someone like Tab, who has felt the strain of her evolving life weighing her down and her secrets are becoming more of a burden, this space feels like the exact thing she needs at the exact right time. These people will become her friends and they’ll help her guide her life.

The secret that marks her membership: I kissed someone else’s boyfriend.

Her assignment: Do it again.

     And then, before the day is up, I need to do my Assignment and kiss Joe again. Not because I have to. Not because I’m scared of the Rules. But because I want to, and now I have permission.

     Sasha Cotton can be as weird and artsy and as naked as she wants. But I have something better. I will be part of something bigger. I will do things and be more.
~quote taken from the eARC of Life by Committee at 34%

My Thoughts: Honestly, this will probably be the most confusing, mixed review I’ve written to date. There were elements of this story that I liked and disliked simultaneously. For example, I loved her parents, how they were present and treated her like a friend at times, but when they suddenly wanted to drop that friendship and be “parents” it came off as forced and out-of-character for them. Additionally, I liked Tabitha and thought she came across genuinely, like any other teen on the cusp of growing up- being uncomfortable with her changing body, having mixed feelings about boys, and learning to deal with growing apart from lifelong friends. It was in those moments, these things that most teens deal with at some point in life, that really allowed me to connect to her as a reader. But then, she would do or say things for extended periods of time that aggravated me so much that I would find myself almost hating being inside her head. Lastly, I liked the idea of this secret community and initially I really liked that it was this driving force in Tab making decisions for herself, but somewhere along the way, Zed and the other members started becoming the source of all the drama and it become less fun and more… unnaturally complicated? Like all the other parts of this book, it felt like a giant mood swing halfway through book. Or, perhaps, the fault lies with me and I had the giant mood swing. However, the ending really pulled it out for me. I like that Tabitha was brave, cut her losses, stood up for herself, and wasn’t afraid to let the chips fall where they may. She took control of her life again and I fistpumped the air so hard for her.

Rec It? Yes, but I would probably recommend waiting for it to go on sale or getting it from the library. I didn’t love it enough to shove it in everyone’s hands, but I appreciated a majority of the story and what it represented: Being yourself and not being afraid to tell people your thoughts is important. Sharing your opinion and letting others see the real you doesn’t make you weak. That adults can be assholes, and maybe they don’t always know the right way to handle things all the time either. But mostly, you can’t let other people tell you how to live or act, you have to make those decisions yourself because ultimately that’s the best part about growing up and learning and evolving. It’s what’s going to make you you.

♥ A very special thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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