Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.
I didn’t read Shelley Coriell’s debut, which was a contemporary book about a radio show or something like that if I remember correctly, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with her sophomore effort. The premise sounded both interesting and a tad bit frightening – a girl dies and the protagonist sets out to finish her bucket list, which definitely isn’t a happy premise – but an interesting premise in the wrong hands can turn into a painful book. Luckily, this particular story seemed to be in the right hands.
Rebecca “Rebel” Blue is not perfect. She’s interesting and often fun to read about, but she is not the good girl like the dead Kennedy Green (yep, the color names are addressed). In order to follow the bucket list, she has to change some habits and become a better person. Things aren’t always easy for her, though, just like in real life. People don’t instantly change their opinion about her just because she does some nice things. And she’s not always nice – she tries, but being a good person isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers and following a list.
The romance was sweet enough. I thought it seemed a bit rushed at time and I had trouble fully rooting for them, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have their cute moments. It was a perfectly cute romance, with its share of drama, but it wasn’t much more than that. Same with some elements of the story. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but there were times that I just didn’t feel as invested in the story as I think I was supposed to feel.
Overall though, this was a perfectly good book. Not a great book, probably not one I’ll remember next year when I’m coming up with my various best of the best lists (although I don’t know if this would even count, since I read it in the last week or so of 2013), but definitely one that I enjoyed while I was reading and would recommend to most contemporary fans.