I haven’t related so much to a book in a long time, and while things didn’t work out with my own Cooper, I absolutely loved reading this book. It is the perfect pick me up that brings me down a couple notches along the way and makes me wish my love life was a little more exciting these days. Kasie West’s Love, Life, and the List is a must-read for all YA contemporary romance readers.
Abby is an artist, but she wants to be a great one and be in shows and get into this awesome winter art program. Problem one: her boss at the museum tells her that her paintings don’t have any heart. So Abby sets out to get some heart by accomplishing a list of things during her summer including: try new things, face a fear, see live go out of the world, learn a stranger’s story, et cetera. Along for the ride is her best friend Cooper who is absolutely perfect in so many ways and who, of course, Abby is in love with. She told him once before but played it off like a joke, and now she’s dealing with the consequences. This book charts their friendship and Abby’s journey in her art over the course of one summer with a lot of quad races, trips to the beach, funny jokes, and scenes that will make you wish you could have that high school first-love feeling again.
Sure, it’s tropey and of course we all know how it is going to end. I read one review on Goodreads that chastised the book for how Cooper’s other female love interest is portrayed, as catty and all that, but as someone who has had their own Cooper with his own Iris, I can tell you this is spot on. Girlfriends get jealous of female best friends and try to edge them out. It’s unrealistic to pretend that doesn’t happen, because it happened to me. So sorry random Goodreads reviewer.
Anyway, along with the typical love story and artistic adventure at the center of this novel, this book also touches on some heavier themes just a bit. Abby’s mother is agoraphobic but won’t really call herself that, something that becomes a major plot point later in the novel but is present throughout. I think it’s really interesting to have an agoraphobic side character because you get to see how their illness affects those around them, especially those who love them. Secondly, Abby’s father is stationed overseas and we never get to meet him, though we get their exchanges through email and phone calls. This adds another layer to her mother’s agoraphobia but I wish the father’s absence mattered a little more to Abby herself. She only seemed to think about him when she was emailing him in her room at night.
Something I really enjoyed in this book was Abby’s relationship with her grandpa who lives with her and her mother. Not a lot of contemporary books portray an intergenerational home, which is a reality for so many families, including my own, and I loved how the grandpa had a real personality and was an addition to the story and its plot instead of just a crotchety old couch cushion in the corner like in some books that features grandparents living in the home.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s only my second book of 2018 but I feel like I’m off to a good start! One of my 2018 bookish goals is to read all of Kasie West’s books this year, so I think I’ll listen to Lucky in Love later this week on my plane back to school.
What is your favorite Kasie West book? Let me know in the comments!