March 14, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

life by committee

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
May 13, 2014
Dial Books For Young Readers
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Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?


First Sentence: “Hey, Tabitha? I have a secret, Joe types.”

One word to describe this book that everybody will agree on: Messy. (The good kind.)

Life By Committee follows the story of Tabitha, a young teenager who’s friends drop her because she “changed” and got hot, as she tries to deal with the many secrets that she keeps like how she’s in love with Joe, another girl’s boyfriend. Then, she finds Life By Committee, a support-like group that exchanges secrets for assignments that may empower the members through encouragements and bad advices.

It’s about growing into the person you want to be and taking risks even if the outcome isn’t ideal. You may find some strength in it.

Six Things I Liked About Life By Committee that I Think Readers Will Like Too

  • It’s incredibly messy. 

What life isn’t messy? And what kinds of people aren’t flawed or unlikable to someone else? The messiness of the decisions in this book is one of the things I enjoyed. Tabitha makes poor decisions like kiss a guy who already has a girlfriend, and is quite unlikable because of her selfishness, her impulsiveness, and her disregard for other people’s feelings except her own, but she is completely realistic. And teenagers sometimes make decisions that aren’t, in hindsight, the best at all.

  • Tabitha loves books. 

Readers will find that Tabitha is a big reader. When she reads, she active-reads, which means she writes notes in the margin as a way to engage in the text. She constantly does this, and falls in love with notes in the used books her dad picks up for her. I love the idea of marginalia. It isn’t something I do personally, but I do love reading people’s notes. It’s just so fascinating to see what speaks to them. Many readers may not like marginalia, but I think it’s a form of compliment to the book.

  • The Life By Committee helps in a really unconventional way. 

Life By Committee acts as a support group of sorts to the members. When you join the group, you share a secret, and the head of this group gives you an assignment to complete. (It’s exchanging secrets for assignments that may help you with your life.) And you have to complete your assignment within 24 hours or else your secret won’t be safe.

This exclusive group of strangers send encouragements and advice that boost Tabitha’s spirits. They don’t always give the best advice, which can be destructive like advising Tabitha to kiss Joe even though he has a girlfriend. But it strangely works out. It shows the characters what type of people they want to be, and it helps them face issues that plague their lives.

  • Tabitha takes risks.

I have to applaud a person is willing to take a risk and make decisions that are, in hindsight, terrible ones. Those risks may lead to something horrible or something worthwhile, and it’ll teach you something about yourself like how you can face anything life throws at you. You have to take risks to get what you want in life.

  • Tabitha’s parents are cool young parents. 

Her parents had Tabitha fairly young, and run a local café. I loved seeing them being involved in Tabitha’s life. They are expecting another baby, which causes a bit of problem, especially when one of them haven’t quite grown up just yet. It’s fascinating to see how things are changing for them with a second baby coming. They have to be responsible even when they aren’t quite ready yet.

  • Everybody’s to blame for their actions.

All the characters have to bear the consequences of their actions. Tabitha can’t simply blame Life By Committee for advising her to do something that wasn’t a good idea in the first place because it’s ultimately her decision to go through with it. This book shows how it’s important to decide for yourself and not let people persuade you into doing something that you shouldn’t do.


Life By Committee is the best kind of messy that has a wonderfully unlikable character you couldn’t help but watch her make bad decisions after bad decisions. It may have been very frustrating, but it’s realistic, which is what matters. The Life By Committee was a wonderful addition to Tabitha’s world because it taught Tabitha more about herself, and it teaches readers that it’s okay to take risks, but it’s also important to decide for yourself.


2 Responses to “REVIEW | Six Things I Liked About Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu”

  1. Shannelle C. says:

    I’ve seen a lot of people enjoy this one, and I hope I’ll be able to read it someday! The Life by Committe group sounds really interesting.

  2. Alexa S. says:

    Yes, yes, yes to your thoughts on Life by Committee! I really liked this book, and mostly because, as you’ve pointed out – it’s messy. Main character is flawed, story is riddled with not-so-great choices, but that’s just how life can be sometimes :)

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