Review: My Rebellion Checklist by Susan Soares

My Rebellion Checklist by Susan Soares

Victoria Matherson’s summer to-do list looked something like this:

1. Get organized for college
2. Complete summer job at Dad’s office
3. Spend a romantic summer with Adam

During the first week of her summer vacation, Victoria’s super planned life suddenly swerves completely off track. Her boyfriend breaks up with her unexpectedly, she gets in a near-fatal car wreck, and her parents announce the end of their twenty-year marriage.

Victoria decides to live life messily, to take chances, and finally to rebel. Taking on the new name of “Tori,” she creates a checklist of rebellion:

#3 Get an extreme haircut
#6 Pierce something

which she’ll use to show everyone around her that all the changes to her perfectly organized life haven’t affected her in the least. Even though they have.

With the help of her quirky and cute co-worker Zack, Tori will check off the crazy items on her list and learn what it means to give up control and be free. But just how far will she go?

Title: My Rebellion Checklist
Author: Susan Soares
Publication date: March 10, 2015

I received My Rebellion Checklist in exchange for an honest review.

I finished two books last week: Finally and My Rebellion Checklist. They’re both about girls Rory (age 12) and Victoria (age 18) trying new things, but for different reasons. Rory’s finally allowed to do certain things because she’s turning twelve and Victoria’s letting go after her world falls apart following a serious car accident and her parents’ separation.

Unlike Rory, Victoria, who decides she’d rather be called Tori (it even rhymes with Rory) doesn’t sound like she would be much fun to be around. She’s too tightly wound, always trying to do the right thing and please her parents. At one point Zack asks her to go somewhere a few towns away and Tori pretty much quietly freaks out about going there for the first time without a trial run. It seems that whenever she has to go somewhere new, she goes there a day or so before to make sure she can get there without getting lost. It’s recommended that you do that for a job interview, and maybe it would be a good idea before meeting your boyfriend’s parents or something important, but just for meeting friends to hang out? I mean, the girl has a cell phone. GPS is going to get her there.

I’m kind of surprised she managed to hang onto her boyfriend Adam for as long as she did (a year, before he dumped her one week before her car accident). There really isn’t anything to suggest that they would have put up with her complete focus on rules, organization, and order, and since they weren’t having sex either, I don’t know what he would have seen in her. She’s lucky to be rid of him, though, because he’s a jerk. I don’t get what she saw in him either.

After abruptly quitting her job in her father’s office, Tori makes a list of more rebellious things she can do over the summer before she leaves for college. Her parents are too absorbed in their own separation drama — and jumping right back into the dating pool — to pay much attention, but it’s clear that they don’t really understand what’s going on with her. And maybe they just don’t care. It doesn’t seem like they’re checked out parents, but they don’t put any effort in either.

One of the rebellious items on Tori’s list is to make different fashion choices. Instead of her usual conservative neutrals, she starts shopping at thrift stores because where else can she afford a whole new wardrobe and still be able to buy books for college? Claudia Kishi would approved of some of the outfits Tori puts together.

It’s fun to watch Tori step out of her comfort zone and try the things on her list. She can’t completely let go of her cautious nature and enjoy them all, but she’s willing to give them a try. Along the way, she makes some new friends at her new job. Zack and Annie seem like they’re really good for her, and they’re there for her a little more than her best friend is. That’s at least partially Tori’s fault for making a lot of changes in a short time and not including Rebecca in them. It’s understandable that Rebecca would be caught off guard and not quite understand why Tori is trying to change who she is.

Tori and Zack have some fun scenes, but the romance isn’t strong and it seems like elements of it are missing, like they are to be filled in later. Although My Rebellion Checklist is overall well-written and entertaining with good characters, there’s nothing really to make it stand out in a crowded YA contemporary market.

3 1/2 stars
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Jenna