Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue

Author: Shelley Coriell

Publication date: October 2013

320 pages

Rebecca “Rebel” Blue has a serious attitude problem—at least, that’s what everyone tells her, so it’s no surprise when she ends up in detention. What is surprising is the presence of Kennedy Green, one of the biggest do-gooders Reb has ever met. Their assignment? To reach deep into their souls and create their ultimate bucket lists. Reb doesn’t take it seriously—that is, until Kennedy dies in an accident and Reb feels compelled to finish Kennedy’s bucket list, one good deed at a time. In the process, Reb realizes that her loner ways no longer suit her and finds herself reaching out to her family and potential friends. But how can she connect when she keeps screwing up everything good in her life?

This book practically flies by. It’s really well-paced and the characters are delightful and multilayered, which I wasn’t expecting. Rebel herself is great because her constant battle between wanting to connect with people and wanting to keep herself guarded is something a lot of us can identify with, and her dry voice allows that inner turmoil to simmer without boiling over into silliness. Her cousin Pen could have easily been written as a vapid, shallow prom queen, and I’m really pleased that Coriell gave Pen and the rest of Reb’s family room to be complicated instead of mere complications for Reb’s journey.

My love for Reb’s one and only friend, Macey, kind of snuck up on me (bless you and your pie therapy, Macey). Then there's Reb's unlikely love interest, Nate. He's cool and all, but his family is actually way more fun than him to read about, particularly his 10-year-old sassy fashionista sister, Gabby (or his youngest brother, who solemnly tells Reb every time she curses that she’s going to hell). The one thing I really wish we’d had more of is Kennedy herself. I understand that her purpose in the story is to guide Reb into being a better person, but I wish we’d gotten more insight into her life and personality instead of her death just being used as a plot device.

I’ve seen this book compared to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, and while the plot is somewhat similar, the tones of both books are wildly different. Mainly because Thirteen Reasons Why is a great book, but also a bummer. This one leaves you happy and satisfied, which is why I give it a solid B+. It’s really fun with some heavy moments, but it’s very well-balanced and the characters are spot on. Check it out and tell me what you think!


Want to check out Goodbye, Rebel Blue? Find it here on the CMRLS catalog and place a hold on it!