Book Talk: Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu


Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


Tabitha has been ditched by her friends who think she’s suddenly changed just because she’s gotten bigger boobs and become a bit of a beauty. She’s dealing with mean rumors at school. Her parents are having a baby. And the boy she thinks she is in love with (whom she’s sure shares the same feelings)  and has been secretly hooking up with? He has a girlfriend. It’s almost serendipitous that she finds this online community called Life By Committee to share her secret relationship with. The rules? If you share a secret, you will be given an assignment to compete within  a certain amount of time that ensures YOUR secret is kept safe. The assignments give Tab a chance to do things, related to her secrets, that she would never do on her own — a chance to take risks and be bold — until they assignments toe the line of causing absolute havoc in her life and the lives around her.

a2HOLY SHIT. *sends frantic g-chat to April saying,  “LIFE BY COMMITTEE. Read that shit!”

a4WOW. This book. It was as addictive as it was powerful and thought-provoking. I’m going to have a hard time talking about this one. You should know it made my top ten books of 2014 so far…that’s how much I loved it!

Here’s what you need to know:

1. I FREAKING LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT. Everything about this book was just flawless for me and MAN Corey Ann Haydu can WRITE. The things I need for a book to really stand out were in this book. It was complex, beautifully written, gripping and thought-provoking. Honestly I’m really frustrated because I don’t have the words to explain what an EXPERIENCE this book was.

2. The story nor the characters are of the “neat and tidy bow” variety: The main character, Tabitha, is not always someone you like and you are going to cringe often because of her though, actually at her core, I really LIKED her. We would be friends despite me not liking her actions sometimes. I mean, there is cheating and Tabitha KNOWS the guy  has a girlfriend and she does it anyway. Some of the decisions made because of the Committee are going to infuriate you. The story is not always black and white and Tabitha is just trying to figure it all out because life is not so simple always. I could feel myself wanting to SHOUT about things but, in my heart, I could UNDERSTAND things — the way Tabitha is acting because of how she’s been treated at school, how alone she felt in not yielding to what people wanted her to be, etc.  But it was such a raw portrait of how we as humans deal with the mistakes we’ve made in life. It’s messy and complicated and imperfect and I LOVED IT. And it just isn’t Tabitha that but also some of the secondary characters…and they just were all such so ALIVE and complex..just the way I like it. Lots of learning and picking up the pieces to the messes you’ve made — not just for Tabitha but for other characters.

3. The concept was TOTALLY original! Secret online society? HELL YEAH: I was fascinated by the idea of this online community from the initial idea of it — a community that would keep your deepest secrets, but in return for telling a secret, you would get an assignment related to that secret and HAD to complete what they told you to do or all your secrets would be shared. I totally felt how exhilarating this new community was as someone who has gotten sucked into MANY online communities. There’s that camaraderie. That obsessive logging in and just being OBSESSED WITH IT. I was always dying to know what assignment would be given next. I could totally understand Tabitha’s interest in being bold and DOING things which is what the assignment’s were supposed to do — push the limits with whatever situation you were dealing with. It was exciting and I think, at the core, it was supposed to be super empowering. But then you see what happens when other people start dictating your life for you and how maybe that isn’t a good thing especially as some of the assignments get a little bit out of hand and could have some really lasting effects.

4. Seriously, this book was addictive and unpredictable in the best way possible. You’ll be reading faster and faster because you want to know what is going to happen next with Tabitha’s missions and then a point came where something happens and it was VERY MUCH an “OMG” moment for me because I sat STRAIGHT up from my lounging position (to which Will laughed and said, “Shit must have gotten REAL in your book.” and I was FRANTICALLY flipping back through the whole book to see THINGS.


factors+ writing, plot, characterization, addictive factor…really it has it ALL.

Re-readability: I already want to read it again!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Absolutely!

a5people who don’t mind characters who make big mistakes and are super unlikeable at times, contemporary YA lovers who like messy & complicated stories, people who like smart & thought-provoking books


Corey Ann Haydu’s Life by Committee is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It’s addictive, well-written and the way in which it constructs and deconstructs these characters just drives home the fact that PEOPLE and interactions are complex and life is messy. There are a lot of really thought-provoking themes that kept me up late at night that are woven together brilliantly with the page-turning plot that never became predictable. Highly recommend!


Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Did you find yourself sympathizing with Tabitha or no?
* Did you kind of LOVE the idea of this online community at first and then were like OH NO NO STOP?
* Were you SHOCKED by THE THING?

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I loved it too. I read some bad reviews first, so I was nervous. But then I read it and was like wtf, this is amazing! I love it so much. I wanted more of the friend’s brother (I’m really bad with names). I thought it would’ve balanced out the asshole more. Also I loved the revelation (Agnes related) at the end. I was like holy moly. It was so good and I didn’t see it coming. This is why I will by Haydu’s book and push it at people 🙂

  2. Your review just says it all! I felt the same way, sometimes I liked Tabby and sometimes not, but I was always rooting for her. The whole Life By Committee thing was also so intriguing, and frightening. I also had the same feeling you got like I just had to read faster and faster to find out how this was all going to unfold. Loved the whole “active reading” thing too! I think it would be so fun to trade/find books that someone had written stuff in.

    I think you wrote a great review/book talk!

  3. I love love love your reaction upon finishing. Both the idea to include that in your book talk and also how you reacted upon finishing this one! I’d heard meh things but of course now it’s a must read for this kid. I love me some flawed characters and addictive reading!

  4. I read OCD Love Story a few weeks ago and loved it! I was totally not expecting to like it as much as I did, but it just kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t initially planning on reading Life by Committee but after OCD Love Story, I really want more of Haydu’s writing!

  5. I’ve read a few reviews for this book but wasn’t really sold on it. However, now I want to go buy it now. I like books that aren’t neat and tidy. It’s unrealistic for people not to make mistakes so it’s nice to see books that make it clear the character is not perfect. Great review, I will be reading this one soon.

  6. Awesome review. I have been going back and forth on this book. I found out so much more about it form your review and must read now. secret socity online…. kind of a form of blackmail but not forced. awesome.

  7. Great review! I’m glad you liked it so much. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed with it, but you made really good points and I love your reaction after you were done. That’s what a good book does! Makes you want to tell all your friends to go read it! 🙂

  8. This one is definitely on my radar. Great review Jamie! You just made me want to read it NOW.

  9. This is the second glowing review i’ve read for Life of Committee today so i have to say “OKAY FINE YOU TWO HAVE CONVINCED ME GUYS THAT I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! YOU WIN!” LOL

  10. Ashley Norris says:

    I loved it too! It was one of my favorite books this year for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned above. I did sympathize with Tabitha and I WAS SHOCKED by THE THINGS!!!!

    I usually don’t read books that are so not neat and totally un-tidy, but the messiness was actually what I loved most about this book! I need to check out Corey Ann Haydu’s other books!

    I’m glad you loved Life by Committee too!

  11. I freaking loved this book!!! It was so addictive and so good. I agree that the main character wasn’t always likeable, but I think that she was relatable. I loved her relationship with her parents and her friend and just everything. LBC was super unique and interesting too. I was completely fascinated by the concept even though their assignments were a bit extreme at times. So glad you loved this one!

  12. I’ve been wanting to check this one out. This is a great review, and I’m even more excited to read this book now. I’m going to need to move this one up on my list of books to check out from the library, or maybe I’ll just go ahead and buy it. Thanks for the awesome review!

  13. I’m really glad you enjoyed Life by Committee, Jamie! It was definitely one of the stronger contemporary novels I’ve read this year. While Tabitha was hard to like at times, I definitely agree about feeling like she was a real teenager reacting to the situations she was in. Haydu just cleverly wove in all the other elements – friends, frenemies, the boy, her family, the online community – too!

  14. I was really in between with this book because the cover didn’t appeal to me but after reading your review I think I will give it a go! It sure seems interesting to me now 🙂

  15. Ohh this sounds really interesting! I’ll have to read it!