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The Reece Malcolm List - Amy Spalding Things I know About The Reece Malcolm List:1) It will make you laugh.2) If you are at all into musical theatre, it will make you sing. If you’re not into it, it’ll probably give you the urge to check it out.3) It will make you want to go to LA (even if you live in Southern California, and hate the traffic, like me).4) It will make you a little giddy.5) It will make you cry. (But mostly in the happy way.)This might be my favorite read of 2013, so far. I went in with zero expectations, but finished with cheeks that ached and were sporting a few tear trickles. Devan grew up in St. Louis with her dad and stepmother, knowing absolutely nothing of her mother--not even her name. It wasn’t until she happened upon one of her mother’s books with the dedication made out to her, that she began to suspect. And research.When her dad dies unexpectedly and she’s shipped off to LA to live with her stranger of a mother, she knows exactly five things:1. She graduated from New York University.2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.5. She’s my mother.Things with Devan and Reece are awkward at first. Reece has no idea how to be a mom, and Devan has no idea how to relate to her famous, and a little abrasive mother. The only bright spot is her mother figuring out she’s into musical theatre, and enrolling her in a fancy performing arts high school.Which is pretty big for her. She’s always had a natural talent and affinity for performing, but going to school with other kids just as passionate as she is is a new for her. She’s used to being part of a small niche of geeks on campus--but now her entire school is made up of people just like her.And she’s one of the best.She expects to be treated with jealousy and bitterness for being the talented new kid, but instead finds she has friends almost immediately--another first for her. As is the fact that the seriously beautiful (and yet seriously nice) Sai, a fellow new kid, even talks to her, let alone pursues her friendship. While she finds her place in school, she and Reece begin to find their place together as well. Devan soon finds herself comfortable, if not on her way to actual happiness. Until she learns something about her mother that could break the tenuous bonds they’ve begun to forge.I really loved the relationships Amy Spalding created here. Devan isn’t the damaged, angry mourner I expected. She’s a lot awkward, and a little self-involved, both of which I found refreshingly accurate for a sixteen year old. And Reece may be a thirty-two year old famous author, but she’s almost as clueless as her daughter. She isn’t the absent, negligent parent we see in most YAs--she’s just not really sure how to go about being a mom. But she’s trying, and I liked watching them dance around one another until they found their rhythm.I loved the musical theatre focus, and can see it appealing to fans of Glee, even if they aren’t into theater. And although I think some may be turned off by Devan’s voice, as it’s very teenage girl, I found it endearing and authentic. (But maybe that’s just because I live in Southern California and have never quite outgrown the Valley Girl in me.)“Knowing they’re in, like, True Love is a weird thing to comprehend. I feel a weird surge of happiness for them, along with a lame zap of jealousy that I could have made it to sixteen without any boys even wanting to kiss me. Also, ugh, really? Dad is dead and my long-lost mother would have totally preferred to stay long-lost, and I’m feeling sorry for myself about boys?” Devan has the voice, and the wants / fears / dreams of a normal sixteen year old, but doesn’t come across superficial or vapid. Just real.I found The Reece Malcolm List very reminiscent of Anna and the French Kiss in some ways, which is about the highest praise I can give a contemporary YA. It’s not as swoony as Anna, as the main focus isn’t on the romance (though the romance is there, and it is swoony), but it left me with the same giddy, happy feeling as Anna did. Which is pretty much my favorite way to end a book. The Reece Malcolm List is Amy Spalding's debut novel, and will be followed up this December with Ink is Thicker Than Water, which sounds equally fun.