Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye, Rebel Blue (Book Review)

Monday, October 7, 2013 7:38 AM with 13 comments

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Goodbye, Rebel Blue

Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

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MY THOUGHTS:

When I first saw the cover for Goodbye, Rebel Blue I immediately wanted to read it. The color of the title, the girl's blue extensions, the idea completing a dead girl's bucket list. Everything about it pulled me in, and I wasn't disappointed. I was completely charmed by this book and loved following Rebel as she used another girl's bucket list to discover herself. 

Rebecca Blue, who goes by Rebel, is living a life she doesn't want. During her formidable years she traveled the globe with her photographer mother. The two were never tied down and never needed for anything. They had each other and the outdoor world, and that was enough. After her mother's death a few years ago she was forced to move in with her uncle, Bob, his wife, Evelyn, and their daughter, Penelope, who is the same age as Rebel. Never feeling completely welcome in their perfect family unit, Rebel...well, rebels. She dyes her hair bright blue and is a frequent visitor of detention after school. It is during detention when her entire world changes.

On this particular day in detention a do-gooder girl named Kennedy Green has also inexplicably received detention. On this day, the detention supervisor decides that the students in detention will spend the time writing out a bucket list. Kennedy tries sparking up a conversation with Rebel, stating that she always believed the two could be great friends due to their last names--blue-green being her favorite color--and that she knows the two are there at the same time for a reason. That fate must have decided to throw them together because fate knows when two people need the other in their lives. Rebel scoffs it off, and is shocked when she finds out that Kennedy died in a car accident that night after they left the school.

Rebel becomes obsessed with the idea of their bucket lists residing in the waste basket in the detention room where both girls had thrown them on their way out and breaks in during school to retrieve them. She decides the best thing to do is to give it to Kennedy's parents, but a series of events leads Kennedy's bucket list to remain in her possession no matter what she does to get rid of it. Is fate telling her that she must complete Kennedy's list in order to get her out of her life? Rebel believes it is worth a shot. 

Goodbye, Rebel Blue is a wonderful novel about self-discovery. Even though the story revolves around a dead girl's bucket list, the novel is full of warmth and humor. While tackling issues like what it means to be a family, self-mutilation, and, of course, death, it is never weighted down by these issues. 

What makes the novel so wonderful is Rebel, herself. I was drawn to her character immediately and loved following her on her journey. Rebel feels kind of lost without her mother and never knew her father. Her uncle stands up for her sometimes, but she still feels like an outsider in their house. Aunt Evelyn is a strict and seemingly perfect woman. Her job is to "stage" houses that our for sale, and Rebel feels like she is living in a staged home. Her cousin, Pen, is bitter that she has to share her room and her parents with this wild child. The two maintain a mostly civil, but volatile relationship. Pen blames Rebel for any disagreements her parents have and believes that Rebel ruins everything she touches. Pen never invited Rebel into her world when Rebel first moved in and, even now, Rebel remains an outsider not only in their house, but in school.

Her one friend is a girl named Macey. The two often have detention together, but are not the type of friends who hang out outside of school. They are friends of convenience. This begins to change as Rebel starts completing items on Kennedy's list. Rebel begins to feel like she could use a real friend after all and is surprised when she begins to see how good of a friend Macey could really be.

Finally, I absolutely adored the addition of the sweet love story between Rebel and good boy, Nate. Nate was in the philanthropy club that Kennedy was a member of. Rebel joins the club for the list and is shocked to find herself falling for Nate, a boy she wouldn't have looked at twice even just a couple of weeks ago. I loved Nate's crazy family which was reminiscent of Jase's family in My Life Next Door. There are lots of siblings and always a lot going on in his house whenever she goes over. My favorites were his grandmother who teaches the two to tango and his little sister, Gabby, who wants to be a fashion designer and is entranced by Rebel and her bright blue hair.

I highly recommend this warm and lovely book. I loved being a part of Rebel's journey and will most definitely be on the lookout for Ms. Coriell's next book. 

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*

13 comments:

  1. I've never really read the synopsis for this book even though I've seen it around a lot of the bloggers I follow. I like the idea of completing someone else's bucket list; there's something about doing someone else's that seem less terrifying than doing my own. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, looking forward to reading this now, Nat. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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    1. Thanks, Joy. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do, too. I agree that finishing somebody else's list could be easier than doing your own. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. This book sounds so sweet! I think that I'll give it a go when I feel like a fun read!

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    1. It is a pretty fun read, although a fairly serious subject matter. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. The premise definitely intrigues me and, after your review, I really want to read this book. I love the way that you describe the main character and the sweet love story between Rebel and Nate (and bonus about his family reminding you of My Life Next Door, love that book). Great review! ~Pam

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    1. I love My Life Next Door, too. It was just the size of his family that reminded me, although I did the romance was pretty sweet. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by, Pam!

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  4. I recently read a review for this book from someone who wasn't a fan at all, so it makes me quite happy that you enjoyed it. I really want to read it because I think it sounds so interesting and Rebel sounds like an amazing character. The family dynamics sound interesting as well. I'm not normally into that aspect of books, but I always like when the family isn't the typical ideal family.

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    1. Hmm. I wonder what they didn't like about it. I found it so charming. I hope you like it if you do pick it up. Rebel really is a fun character and the family dynamics are interesting. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Glad you enjoyed this book, I really did too! I agree, Rebel was such a great character and really made the story for me (and I also adored reading about Macy, Nate, & his family) and I loved her sense of humor! :) Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

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    1. Yay! I'm glad you liked it, too. I really loved all of the characters (although I wanted to smack Pen a few times). Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. So glad you liked Goodbye, Rebel Blue. I really like the concept of the bucket list, and your description of the friendship/romance that forms between Rebel and Nate. They both sound like really great characters. Thanks for sharing-great review Natalie!

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    1. It really is an interesting premise. I loved Rebel and Nate's relationship and was happy it didn't overwhelm the story. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Ah, you're making me want to read this now! I know all too well about friendships of convenience, but I initially wasn't all that interested in this one. Seems like a lot of books are taking on the bucket list approach lately. But this one sounds good and different and maybe exactly what I need. Thanks for your review!

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!