Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

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?

Take Post Secret, add a little Mean Girls, a little Truth-or-Dare, and a splash of social media and you have Corey Ann Haydu's Life by Committee.

I've been a fan of Corey's since I read her debut novel OCD Love StoryThat book gave me high hopes for what was to come from her next books, and this one did not disappoint. The protagonist is Tabitha--a girl who is newly shunned by her friends when over the summer her body changes and people start to regard her as pretty. One of my favorite things about this book is that Tab never apologizes for this. She embraces her new looks even though she knows that going back to how she used to dress could win her back her friends, she wants them to love her unconditionally.

When Tabitha stumbles on an online community that revolves around spilling your darkest secrets and then acting on them, her entire life is changed. This brings up so many questions. What in your life do you consider a secret? What secrets would you tell a group of complete strangers? What would you do if you thought you could change your life, but were afraid to?

Life by Committee explores the power of anonymity in social media and both the benefits and harms that it brings with it. The sense of artificial closeness that text on a screen brings us can have both glorious and terrible consequences, and peer pressure can reach us even through the digital plane.

With an unapologetic heroine trying to find her way through new territory, and social situations we can all relate to, Life by Committee is a novel with lasting impressions that everyone should take the opportunity to read.

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