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I Belong

Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Life by CommitteeTitle: Life by Committee

AuthorCorey Ann Haydu

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 13, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-100062294059 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062294050 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


Secret: I kissed someone else’s boyfriend.
Assignment: Do it again.

Like most who find Life by Committee, Tabitha is a little lost. Her best friend has ditched her, her Vermont town is feeling way too small, and she’s falling head over heels for a guy named Joe—who already has a girlfriend. Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she discovers 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 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? Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jennifer E. Smith, Life by Committee is a fresh, vibrant novel about the power of wanting, the messiness of friendship, and the truths we hide and share.

Quick & Dirty: An enjoyable and original contemporary read with themes of coming of age and discovering yourself.

Opening Sentence“Hey, Tabitha? I have a secret”, Joe types.

The Review:

Tabitha went through changes as she grew, much like everyone else. She was fortunate, receiving an hourglass shape and a gorgeous face. Unlike her other classmates, however, Tabitha’s new style and body have made her shunned from her peers, her friends… and her home life isn’t much better. Introducing her stoner father and her pregnant mother! Chats online with Joe, a boy with a girlfriend, are her only escape into a place with love from another or is it just lust? And then she finds something online. Joining the elusive website Life By Committee is supposed to make her bolder, stronger, and by the end of the book secrets will be spilled and people will get hurt.

Tabitha was a strong point of view. Her thoughts were teenage thoughts and easy for me especially to understand. During the end, though, her ideas get jumbled. I start finding it harder to get where she’s going with the deep mental epiphanies and I only get that clarity back when the novel reaches the last few chapters. But besides the confusion towards the middle, Tabitha delivers a very original personality in a very original book.

I must say, contemporaries can sometimes be harder to read than other books, especially if it’s the same boy meets girl with a little drama mixed in here and there: a best friend’s betrayal, lies from the parents, huge fight between the love interests. You get my point. It’s hard to write an original plotline for a contemporary, and though I’ve experienced many an ah-maz-ing contemporary (Tease, The Fault in Our Stars) there have also been the iffy ones mixed in. But a shady website, secret relationship, bingo! Here we have a unique plotline with lots of hooks to keep reading and cool characters that I loved getting to know.

Some major plot twists toward the end kept me guessing. I was really excited by certain scenes that made my heart melt a tiny bit, and scenes that made it flame in anger. Yes, I became emotionally invested in Life By Committee. It gave me something to think about and was a thought-provoking read. It you love the gushy, cutesy conversations between love interests, check out something else, though; this book I enjoyed for the moral of the story and the beautiful friendships and relationships that were formed and broken. It’s more focused on testing your limits, being brave and bold but being you, finding yourself, that sort of thing. Also, this novel was full of fights that kept me reading, but not too many that it became redundant.

Life By Committee was an enjoyable read. A contemporary for those who would like to open up something different, not just romance based, about knowing yourself. Tabitha’s struggles stayed with me for awhile after closing the book, and though I will admit the novel had problems, it is worth your time. The ending was unexpected but not to the point that it was stupid, or cheesy —- things clicked into place and made sense.

Notable Scene:

Secret: I kissed someone else’s boyfriend.


FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Life by Committee.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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