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?
Publishes in US: May 13th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
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I wanted to read this one because the cover and synopsis appealed to me. I wanted to know what the secrets were, how the love would develop, and more about this committee and what goes on with assignments.
Right away I caught on to the excitement of Tabitha and falling in love. It is an internet connection, but she knows him in real life. And then came my problem. Joe already has a girlfriend. But she admitted that she wasn't the kind of girl to kiss someone's boyfriend, but she had to say that she wanted to kiss him. I don't get why he is with his current girlfriend, and he seemed to have another personality at school and then seperate when he is chatting with Tab.
Tab's falling out with her childhood friends because "she was going in a different direction." Now they make mean comments or give her the cold shoulder, and not only are they at school with her, they also come to her family's cafe.
Her family dynamics are interesting. Her dad seems more like a big brother and her mom looks out for everyone. I like that he gets her "active reading" she has conversations and writes in her books and takes them to the used book store. She likes to find other people's notes to find out what they were thinking and feeling while reading. Her deep love of books and ability to feel and connect with the characters so much is what kept me so hooked.
Because even though there was chemistry and the time spent together, Joe is with Sasha... who has some depression issues. And even with that, its hard to let myself fall for someone who is cheating. What's to say he wouldn't get bored of Tab, and cheat on her? I could empathize with Tab because of raging hormones and the connection, feeling like someone else gets you, thinks you're smart, pretty, worth attention... well, its an addictive feeling. But to let it go on with him still with Sasha, she probably should have stepped away. But we all make bad decisions, and it lead to the plot and drama in her world.
But it just got harder and harder as she got deeper into the Life by Committee site, they have you share a secret and complete an assignment or they say your secrets aren't safe. At first she feels this big rush, that they are really making her life better, helping her make better choices. But she seems to be making more and more bad decisions, it feels like her family is starting to unravel, her dad smoking weed more and more, pregnant mom Cate stressing about raising this baby right, and word starts going around about Tab and Joe. Tab has confrontations with her ex-best friend Jemma, and Tab is still trying to understand what went wrong, and why she is alienated.
But then she hurts or pushes away childhood friend Devon as well as her only real life friend Elise. She makes other plans, or blurts her secrets, and she feels more and more alone. The assignments that once felt exhilerating just seem to be getting harder, and feel more wrong to her. She is trying to grasp at straws but the one person she connected most with on the site, Star goes silent at the moment where she is needing her the most.
It all clicks with her in a huge moment near the end of the book, and everything starts to fall into place, and the way she views herself and LBC site starts to shift. I was kinda expecting parts of the twist, but I couldn't put them into place fully myself before the reveal. The ending scene is hardcore powerful and I totally appreciate that sort of ending. I know that its highly unlikely, but I think that given the extreme motivation and Tab's actions, that its not outside the realm of possibility. I would just be curious to see if things and relationships at the school changed a week or a month out, knowing what they did.
But I especially liked how hope was sown in Tabs' family and that the strong bond that was tested with all of Tabs changes and the outing and pressure from the new baby.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
In the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?