Buy from the Book Depository
Title: Life By Committee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Source: Library copy via Overdrive, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.
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? - via Goodreads
Life by Committee introduces some very relevant concepts today involving the power of rumors, bullying, and virtual relationship building. This intertwined with the traditional YA concepts of growing up and discovering oneself produces an emotionally charged story that can be summed up as "you don't know me."
The voice actress gives Tabitha an authentic sound to wade through the pains of "slut shaming" exhibited through the eyes of adults and peers alike, including her own parents. This is the strength in Haydu's writing. Tabitha's pain and confusion surrounding something she has no control over is central to the story and the writing's cultural relevance. Her bodily changes take on a persona of their own, for better or worse, reminiscent of your own teenage awkwardness.
The foundation of the various arcs surround the idea that nothing is really what it seems. Tabitha is juggling several compelling issues that could have made for great writing points on their own. Instead the reader is left behind with unfinished issues raining down in the last pages.
Why I won't read it again, but recommend it for...
I liked it but there were definitely things that were more tolerable than others. Tabitha has several relationships that she's working on throughout the novel. While her school stuff sort of gets sorted out in the end, a la Mean Girls style, her relationship with her parents is left without a solid conclusion. While I think peer resolution is important I think we can all admit it's our parents who shape us for better or worse and I was left wanting more in this case. It's kind of a big deal for me...
The online forum, Life by Committee, presents a unique scenario diving into online based relationships founded in mutual trust, anonymity, and exploring the concept of blending virtual reality as physical reality. I really wanted this concept to be flushed out a bit more versus being used as a catalyst for driving the plot.
Call me mushy, call me a girl but I wanted more legit swoons. I needed those specific swoons!!!!! I like him. :)
I won't be reading this again, while it was deep and tackled important topics I just didn't connect with the MC and the ending left me feeling incomplete. I recommend this read for teens who are exploring web-based friendships for the first time, or enjoy reads about social and relationship issues.