October 27, 2013

Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue

What first attracted me to this novel was that cover—I mean, how awesome is it? I am so jealous of her awesome hair.

But also the plot. It sounded interesting, like a book I would really enjoy. I did.

Title: ‘Goodbye, Rebel Blue’
Author: Shelley Coriell
Pages: 320
Publisher: Abrams
Available: NOW
Source: requested from Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

My Thoughts:

Who knew a stint in detention could change someone? Well, if you’ve seen ‘The Breakfast Club,’ you already know this is possible. That is the feel this novel had for me—it was a John Hughes novel on paper.

Detention: the bane of teenager experience. What happens when teens are asked to make a bucket list while sitting in detention? Is the assignment taken seriously, or is it just something to do to pass the time? For Kennedy Green, it is a time to discuss belief and the afterlife. Rebel, not so much. It’s just one more hurdle.

When a peer is lost, it shakes teenagers. It reminds them that they are not invincible. For Rebel, she is not only shaken but also curious. After all, she just talked with Kennedy the day before, and it wasn’t just random teen banter.

After being called to the principal’s office to discuss the loss of this young lady, Rebel becomes curious. Whispers are that the girl make have taken her life, and Rebel wonders: “What was on her bucket list? Was there something there that could have shown that she was willing to give up on life?”

Rebel decides she must find that list, and she sneaks back into the detention room. The list seems normal enough. But what happens when that list haunts and keeps finding itself back into Rebel’s hands? Is the universe trying to tell her something?

Is it time to take a different path and do more good in the world?

And thus the novel goes…

Rebel is a character I can get behind. After losing her mother and having to live with family, she finds her own beat and continues to thrive on that beat. But she also recognizes that the universe has different plans for her.

At first, working through Kennedy’s bucket list is daunting. This is not the life Rebel was planning, but she quickly learns to embrace what she can change and that her one life can make a difference.

While Rebel is the star of this storytelling, Nate is the one who steals the show. He is the big man on campus, the do-gooder, the all-around American high school boy. Why would someone like him be interested in someone like Rebel? It’s simple: he sees the real her. He has faith in her ability to change the world, in her own way. He understands her…but can she open herself enough to allow him in?

The on-page flirtation between Rebel and Nate was almost too much to take. I do not understand why authors play with readers in this way. I mean I do, I get it: you have to keep the reader engaged, turning that page, but man it is torture to wait.

The secondary characters in the novel really enhance the story in one way: they are there to help Rebel (and Nate) shine. They remind readers that even in high school there is a system, and when an outsider tries “invading” that system, both sides of the coin have strong feelings.

I did mention this was like a John Hughes movie on the page, right? Think ‘Pretty in Pink’ meets ‘Sixteen Candles’ meets the modern day bucket list.

And I loved it.

I recommend this to all readers of YA but most especially to fans of Stephanie Perkins because it has that same feel to it.

What has been your favorite YA novel lately?

Comment below and let’s talk about books.
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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