Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West is a story about art and self-improvement. While the premise has promise, I was disappointed by the lack of descriptions of the main character’s art as well as the forced romance. On top of this, the main character’s sarcasm is taken too far and becomes both tired and almost disrespectful. I had such high hopes for this one, but unfortunately, it does not measure up to Kasie West’s other works.Title: Love, Life, and the List
Author: Kasie West
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.
Which is where the list comes in.
Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.
But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems... and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.
Review: Love, Life, and the List
This book follows Abby, an artist who is rejected from an art show because her work lacks emotion. Determined to get the opportunity to showcase her work, Abby creates a list of activities designed to push her in hopes of improving the quality of her art, including facing a fear and falling in love. I love books about art, and I was thrilled to see a main character who paints in the novel. I do wish that there were more descriptions of Abby’s work, however, as it is difficult to imagine how her paintings transform as the story progresses. As well, there is a fantastic friendship included, and I love how supportive Cooper is of Abby. Even so, I personally would have enjoyed the book more if they had stayed as friends—there is someone else Abby would have been better with, and her relationship with Cooper seems forced.
Sarcastic Main Character
My main issue with the book is the main character. Abby is a classic example of a sarcastic character who is taken way too far. Of course, I appreciate a snarky character, and I actually liked her remarks at first, but when someone (or Abby herself) comments on her sarcasm every other chapter, it really gets old. We don’t need to be reminded that Abby is sarcastic, and this makes it seem like her snark is all there is to her besides being an artist. Her sarcasm isn’t even funny a lot of the time; she says some borderline mean things and makes “witty” comments that are inappropriate for the situation. I do appreciate how Abby pushes herself to be better and how both her successes and failures are shown, but I couldn’t get over her immaturity.
Not a Favourite Kasie West Book
Love, Life, and the List has all the elements that I would look for in a fantastic contemporary, but it really fell flat for me. I am a big fan of art books, but there was not nearly enough art to capture my interest. As well, the main character is incredibly immature, even disrespectful at times, and I had a hard time rooting for her. This is not my favourite of Kasie West’s books.