Author: Shelley Coriell (Twitter)
Publish Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.
Rebel's life is a never-ending series of detentions and debauchery. Rather than walk the line like everyone else, Rebel strays from the norm and does everything she possibly can to change what could have been an otherwise sterling reputation. But a chance encounter with Kennedy, her absolute opposite, changes the path on which Rebel is headed. Rebel has the chance, and the choice, to change her ways and do some good in Kennedy's name...but it might just change her...forever.
There's a subtle sincerity to Goodbye, Rebel Blue that sang from the premise alone, urging me to pick up the book. Contemporary fiction, when done well, can sway one's emotions - taking them from the depths of despair and catapulting them to hope, faith and peace. Author, Shelley Coriell, has taken each and every one of these elements and woven them into a story that is heartfelt, sweet and urges one to find their passions and live them each and every single day.
As a rule, I don't like books that are preachy or force a certain way of thinking down my throat. So, despite the solid premise and engaging plotline, I had a few concerns about Goodbye, Rebel Blue, and I worried that the novel would take a sharp turn from inviting and rich, to cliche and kooky. Thankfully though, the heavy undertones and aching sadness that creates a base for the story also anchors it in reality, keeping the story heading in a strong, straightforward direction. The bucket list aspect of the story was definitely engaging, and it was a fun way to proceed with the plot, fueling it along, item by item. It was also wonderful to watch as Rebel slowly but surely (and believably) transformed with each and every item she completed in Kennedy's memory. There's a delicate balance of plot and character-driven drama in the novel, too. While the actual bucket list drives the events, the changes in Rebel, and the soft, flowing romance that we're privvied to with Nate, gives us a reason to become truly invested. I'll admit that I struggled with Rebel at first. She remarked heavily about how her greatest attribute was her honesty, but she was often so dishonest with herself. Watching her vulnerabilities surface and take hold made her much more accessible though and, as such, gave me more of a reason to enjoy Goodbye, Rebel Blue.
Overall, Goodbye, Rebel Blue was a sweeping story that could probably have continued another 50 pages without ever losing my interest. Though I would have changed Rebel's initial attitude, at times, I think that it served to better the book in the end. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.