Man, oh man, did I want to love this book. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I had the pleasure of finding it at my local library. Unfortunately, though, there was some miscommunication with the publisher in regards to ARCs and printing so while my local library does have a copy, it has the non-ARC cover with the ARC content inside. The author, Sierra Abrams, goes into full detail about it on her Twitter.
Title: The Color Project
Author: Sierra Abrams
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press
Release date: August 14, 2017
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Length: 464 pages (U.S. paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.
Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.
When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, THE COLOR PROJECT is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.”
So there’s the thing: this was an adorable book; it really was. The characters are cute, their relationships are serious goals, and the friendship and family are so important as well. And yet… Things felt too over the top, and there was drama when I didn’t think there needed to be any, or it simply was strung out when it had a simple solution or could have been solved easily.
While I enjoyed the whole concept of Bee not telling Levi her name, the mysteriousness and playfulness behind it eventually became boring. I guess because I didn’t understand the point. Bee simply doesn’t like her real name because it’s too old lady-sounding. If there was a different connotation with her name, like it was part of a dark past (lol Is that too extreme?) or she was named after someone she was really close to and then the person died or something (too morbid) I might have understood… But it was just her name, and I don’t understand why she thought Levi would have even cared.
I really liked how Bee worked in flower shop, and she found a niche there. Personally, I would have liked more of that, especially since Bee seems quite passionate about it and thoroughly enjoys flower arranging and design. I felt that area was lacking.
I did love family dynamics, especially in Bee’s own family and the tragedy they face. I can understand Bee’s desire to ignore it and then not tell anyone about it, even her best friend Gretchen (which is another story in itself that I struggle to like). However, I did feel the drama that it created with Levi–the drama Bee created surrounding it–was a bit off. She goes into feeling super awesome about herself and her romantic relationship with Levi and yet because of particular events, she doesn’t feel as if she can give her whole self to Levi (not sexually, but as a person). Okay, sure?
As for Levi… Meh. Sure, he’s accomplished a lot of at the young age of nineteen, and he has his quirks (like his sweaters) but… Other than that, I’m indifferent toward him. He’s passionate about what he does and has a great love for The Color Project, but I guess I am still struggling to comprehend the romantic connection he and Bee share, though their relationship is cute.
Which brings me to another thing. Everything happened so fast, especially Levi and Bee’s relationship. There’s definitely some insta-love, which is fine if you enjoy that, but I’m on the fence about it. Then when tragedy strikes, and certain people request Levi specifically, there’s the whole “I love Levi a lot” or “he means a lot to our family” and I’m just like, “How?” I guess I wanted more of the relationship building instead of the author simply telling us.
Overall, I think most of the things in this novel tried too hard and was over the top. There was also a small section that really bothered me. One of the female characters in the book hid her love for erotic romance novels and when Bee and the others find out, they make fun of her, and I really don’t like it. This causes said character to hide her books even more. I think that’s just kind of weird.
So yeah… I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to, but kudos to the pretty cover.