November 9, 2013

Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Page Count: 320
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Rating: A great bucket list story with a fantastic life lesson attached.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Rebecca (Rebel) Blue lived on the road until her mother died. She then moves in with her aunt, uncle and cousin and proceeds to hate everyone and pretty much have no friends. Things get worse for Rebel when, after a bizarre detention that required the detainees to write a bucket list, the girl Rebel served detention with dies. Even though Rebel didn't really know this girl beyond detention, she takes it upon herself to complete as much as the bucket list as possible. It's a compulsion. Or a strange show of faith - especially considering Rebel doesn't have much faith in anything. And in the end, this dead girl's bucket list proves to be so much more important than Rebel could ever understand.

Let's break this down:

I love Shelley Coriell's books. Both this one and her first, Welcome Caller, This is Chloe have this way of being so light and fluffy while still having deep, heavy undertones. And there's an excellent message and great meaning in both. Now, I think Chloe is a little lighter and fluffier than Rebel Blue (mostly because Chloe, as a character, is much sweeter than Rebel), but both books have the same feel - and it's a feel I adore. 

But I'm going to stop with the comparisons now and just talk about Rebel. Because she deserves it.

Rebel is the tough girl. She's the one who has the hair dyed a funny color and shark teeth on her bag. She's the girl you don't really want to mess with or get too close to because she's different. And that's just how Rebel likes things. Yeah, she's friendly with this girl Macey, but just friendly. She doesn't really know anything about her and she doesn't seem to want to buddy up to her.

But it's not that Rebel doesn't have people trying to care for her and be her friend. She just doesn't seem to want these people caring for her or trying to be her friend. She's prickly, stuck in her ways and doesn't seem to want to change at all to make room for new people in her life. Or maybe, it's that she just doesn't know how to do that. So when Kennedy Green dies, no one can really be sure why Rebel was compelled to fish Kennedy's bucket list out of the trash, but it's pretty clear that it's said fished-out-of-trash bucket list that helps Rebel make the changes she needs to make and connect with the people in her life.

Kennedy's bucket list also helps Rebel deal with the idea of fate. Does everything happen because it's meant to happen or do things happen because we make them happen? It's a pretty popular question, but given Rebel's career as the resident angry girl, it's one she has to ask herself. Which is what makes this a coming of age novel in the truest sense. Rebel really asks herself the hard questions and decides who makes the big choices throughout the course of this book and it's really something to watch (er... read?).

So the plot here is pretty fantastic and I really enjoyed all of the items on the list and watching Rebel better herself and improving her life/relationships with people in her life as she completes the task. But I also really like the boy in this story. I don't totally buy how he edges his way into the story, but Nate's a really sweet guy and a nice "other half" for Rebel. Macey, Rebel's only sorta friend at the beginning of the book, also becomes a perfect friend other half for Rebel. I really enjoyed watching them become closer. And what's really great about these three as a whole is that none of them are even a little bit put together at the start of the book. They each have their own issues. But they all help each other be better and, by the end of the book, are better people for it.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Definitely one of the better bucket list books out there.
World Building: I feel like Nate kind of just appeared in Rebel's life and I don't know why Rebel was so compelled to fish that list out of the garbage, but I liked how the pieces fit together.
Character Development: Rebel's an angry mess when we find her and a slightly less angry mess when we leave her. But that more believable than any other possibly outcome in my mind.
Prose: Just as prickly as Rebel. But also very introspective and easy to read. 
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you're looking for a good, contemporary, bucket list story, you need to read this book IMMEDIATELY. Also, if you're into anyone of these three things individually, you should also pick this one up.

Are you looking forward to all of the bucket list books that seem to be coming out now? Well, I promise you this is a good one, but if you have anymore questions about it, let me know in the comments below!