Love, Life, and the List

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
Love, Life, and the List Book Poster Image
Sweet contemporary romance about finding yourself.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows some basics about studying art, applying to be in an art show. Some information about mental illness, specifically agoraphobia, or fear of going outside. 

Positive Messages

Be true to yourself and focus on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled, even when you're facing so many setbacks. It's challenging to pick yourself up after a big disappointment, but if you're determined to turn your life around, you can make it happen. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Abby's grandfather, who lives with her, is a loving and supportive character. Although he and Abby bicker throughout the story, his love for her comes through.  


One juicy kissing scene. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love, Life, and the List, by Kasie West (P.S. I Like You, The Fill-In Boyfriend), is a light, fun, contemporary high school romance. The tone is quite young, although it does touch on issues such as a mother's mental illness and a father's deployment overseas. This story has important messages about how to lift yourself back up after hitting a roadblock and discovering what you're passionate about in life. The characters are white, except for Elliot Garcia, a boy who likes Abby and has dark, curly hair. 

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Written byAnonymous March 10, 2021

Favorite Kasie West Book!!

I loved the boy next door and my older brother's best friend kind of books, but I LOVE best friends falling for each other. It is just soooo cute!!! Love,... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAZ3 August 18, 2020

Best book ever! Very touching and has a way to to pull you in.

Best book ever! Very touching and has a way to to pull you in.

What's the story?

LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST opens with 17-year-old Abby Turner in the middle of a disappointing summer. She's in love with her best friend, Cooper, who apparently doesn't feel the same way. Abby and Cooper's two best friends are away for the summer, so they're spending a lot of time alone together, while Abby's feelings grow stronger. In the meantime, her mother's anxiety is getting worse (it appears to be agoraphobia, or fear of going outside), and her father's in the Middle East stationed with the military. When Abby gets rejected from an art show because her work "has no heart," she's devastated. Along the way, she realizes that she can't change her art if she's not willing to change herself first.

Is it any good?

Some parents will like how tame this story is (no swearing, no sex), and teens will like the protagonist's quick self-deprecation. The scenes are quite light at times with low stakes, so this is definitely a fast and fun read. The best part is seeing Abby's growth as an artist and her process of working through her creative blocks. The love interest, Cooper, sometimes comes across as clueless, but in the end, Abby's sense of humor carries the novel. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the romance is portrayed in Love, Life, and the List. Does it seem realistic and relatable? Do young adult romance novels help readers sort out their feelings and learn how to communicate, or do they create false expectations about teen relationships?

  • What would it be like to grow up with a parent who's mostly absent, like Abby's father who's in the military and stationed in the Middle East?

  • Have you ever wanted something badly but didn't get it? How did you handle the disappointment?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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