The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy ARC Review

book review

The second installment of The Kindness Club needed a make it work moment to really shine.

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy is the second book in The Kindness Club by Courtney Shienmel. In this novel, fashion forward club member Lucy Tanaka is determined to stick to the club’s goal, completing three acts of kindness a day. When a classmate’s mother passes away, Lucy sees this as the perfect opportunity. Her classmate, Serena, loves birthday parties, so Lucy wants to throw her the perfect party at her family’s bowling alley. However, unforeseen circumstances threaten Lucy’s plans.

I read Sincerely, a two-in-one book, by Courtney Shienmel and absoutely loved it for its realistic characters and situations. When I received an ARC of The Kindness Club last year, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite work by this author. When I saw the second installment of The Kindness Club on NetGalley, I requested it right away. Unfortunately, out of all the books that I’ve read by this author, this book is my least favorite.

I think one of my biggest issues was with the characters, especially the main character Lucy. While I appreciated the characterization of The Kindness Club in the first book, it was a little overkill in this book. The group’s personalities and conversations felt so unnatural and it felt like they walked on eggshells around each other in fear they would say something that would accidentally offend someone.

Out of all the characters, Lucy especially annoyed me because she refused to listen to anyone’s advice. After devising the plan for Serena’s birthday, even after numerous warnings from friends and family members that it wasn’t her place to do this and tat she should find another way to show Serena that she cared because her plan would make Serena uncomfortable, Lucy never stopped. Especially since Lucy also lost her mother, it would make more sense if she understood Serena’s need for privacy at this time. I felt myself cringing throughout the entire book at her actions. I felt like so many characters tiptoed around Lucy because they didn’t want to hurt her feelings, instead I think they needed to be more frank about how some of Lucy’s ideas weren’t the correct way to handle specific situations.

While there were several aspects that I didn’t enjoy about this book, there were a few things that I did enjoy. Even though I think the book focused too much on the party idea, I do think it resolved that particular story line fairly well. I think Lucy’s fashion talents were used in a creative way beyond making clothes. I also think Lucy’s relationship with her father and grandmother were portrayed realistically and appreciated how much they were involved in the story.

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy wasn’t my favorite book of the year, but I still liked some aspects of the story and the overall message this series strives to send. I give The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy three out of five stars.

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