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.
The Color Project is a book about first love and family, and involves a character who sets up a charity organization that is named The Color Project. Bee doesn’t like her real name, and that is her number one secret. When Levi enters her life, she is simultaneously ecstatic and wary. There is a component of first love that it is difficult to open up to someone that much and this book explores that.
While the story is definitely cute and Levi is honestly an adorable boyfriend to have, the book itself made me quite bored. I couldn’t relate to the protagonist or to the plot in any way, and for the first half of the book I was wondering where exactly the story was trying to lead to. The second half felt like it was trying to insert some conflict to justify the smooth sailing in the first half, but by that time (remember this is a 400+ page book so 200 pages had passed here) I was so thoroughly disinterested in the story, that I proceeded to put down the book every few chapters. Then I had a nearly 3-week long reading slump, after which when I picked up the book again, I was further dissociated from the characters but I wasn’t going to back to reading ALL of that!
Soooo, what exactly is good in the book if I gave it 3 stars, you might ask? There are a couple of things that still felt like it may be a good read for people interested. Firstly, the writing is good – Abrams puts together a beautiful prose, with a juvenile voice, but it works well for the character of Bee. Secondly, the personal relationships of the characters, particularly the familial relationships and friendships depicted are good, as well as Levi’s and Bee’s beginning as friends and slowly moving towards partners is organic and beautiful. However, all this couldn’t save me from a plot that felt it was going nowhere. Granted, the story was about first love and balancing a love life with a personal crisis and being together through the tough times and all that, but it was just not my cup of tea.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from the author.