This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey
|This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A mysterious teen drama that delves into reality, and reality TV, with lots of 90's nostalgia sprinkled in too.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: February 2021|
|Publisher: Quirk Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Jess is a normal 90's teenage girl, just trying to navigate the usual stresses of school, and boys, and parent troubles. But strange things seem to be happening in her small town, with a mystery flu keeping lots of people indoors, and a strange metal device, with an apple on it, that slips out of her friend's bag, but that her friends just won't talk to her about. Jess feels like she might be hearing voices, and her sister (who is very ill) seems to be responding to her in strange ways sometimes. Is there something going on beneath the surface of Jess' life?
It's quite difficult to talk about the book without revealing spoilers! Although I've seen it described as a thriller, it didn't really feel like a thriller as I read. There are some twists and turns, and some action, and a strange mystery going on, but not in the huge suspense-full feelings you get in a thriller. But as it is, it's a good teen drama. Jess is likeable, and the story is very easy to read and engaging. I was intrigued from the start, wanting to know what on earth was happening, and I rather liked the little drip feeds of information. As a reader, you start to form your own ideas of what might be going on just a little ahead of Jess, and that works well as you're urging her to figure things out.
There's a lot of 90's nostalgia throughout the book, which is great for a grown-up mum like me, but I'm not so sure how young adults would take it, and as I read I felt many of the references might pass my teenage daughter by. I suppose any who are gripped by watching 'Friends' or have grown up listening to their mum's music choices will be able to follow along! It has echoes of the Truman Show, which again I think many teens won't be familiar with, but perhaps that means certain aspects of the story will come as more of a surprise to them.
Both of Jess' parents turn out to be pretty terrible, which is always a good angle for a children's book! It is quite shocking, when you start to think of the scale of events in what's happened to Jess. As I read, I was always intrigued by what must have happened in the world for it to have reached this point. I think, though, when you look at some of the television shows that exist, you can see how it could potentially happen! I personally would have liked more explanation of that, and (without revealing too much in this review!) more of a reveal of where and when Jess really is would have added extra layers, extra depth, to the story. The ending felt a little hurried, to me, and I wonder if there's a sequel to come, because there are a lot of threads to the story that are left unfinished?
I think this is a good story for those who enjoy reading about conspiracy theories, or anyone who just enjoys a teen drama. Although it lacked a little substance for me personally, it was a fast, engaging read.
You can read more book reviews or buy This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey at Amazon.com.
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