The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon
|The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Chicklit comes to YA with an offshoot of a very popular series. Jessie's life is turned upside when her mum dies and she finally discovers the identity of her biological father, rock star Johnny Jefferson.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: January 2014|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
Jessie Jefferson isn't having a great time of it. Her mum died in a freak accident. On Jessie's birthday. While buying Jessie's birthday cake. Grief and anger at the loss of her mother has sent Jessie into a spiral of teenage rebellion. She's drinking and smoking and partying and stepfather Stu is at the end of his tether. So much so that he finally tells Jessie something she's always wanted to know: the identity of her biological father...
... it's Johnny Jefferson, global rock star.
And suddenly, Jessie is thrust into an entirely different world. LA is full of luxury mansions, designer clothes, fabulous parties and guitar-wielding, flirtatious boys. Will Johnny live up to Jessie's expectations? And can she ever move on from her mother's death? And will home ever be home again?
Ok. I'm not the best reviewer for this book - I don't read much in the way of women's fiction or the more romantic YA stories either. And I had no idea that it was an offshoot of a very successful adult series. But The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson hit Bookbag Towers not long before publication. There was no time to send it on to a reviewer who is a fan of the genre, so it was me or nobody. (Note to publicists: you'll get the most appropriate reviewer if you give us time!). And I won't lie to you: for me, the entire premise was a bit silly, I found the endless descriptions of clothes and make up and interior decor tiresome and I won't even start with the dialogue tags. But that's me being churlish and criticising something simply for being what it is supposed to be, isn't it? So I'll tell you what I liked.
Jessie herself is just great. She's beautifully observed as a slightly rebellious teenager. She sees everything through the prism of herself, is quick to a tantrum, rude and prickly. But all this bluster is just that. Inside, Jessie is grieving for her mum and terrified of most things she finds in her path - boys, school, a new family. But you have to love her as she meets it all head-on and is honest enough to acknowledge her mistakes, given enough time to think about things.
In fact, everything is so beautifully observed that I found myself completely absorbed into the story, despite this being a genre I'd never look twice at in the usual run of things. Truly: I didn't put The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson down until I'd got to the very last page.
And I really loved the ending. Can't spoil that for you, but I wondered where everything was going and I wasn't disappointed at all. Good for Paige Toon for some common sense underlying all the escapism!
So yes, I'm recommending The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson for all fans of YA chicklit. Bet that surprised you, didn't it?
YA readers will probably want to find out about the same characters in Toon's books for adults and our Zoe thoroughly enjoyed Johnny be Good.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon at Amazon.com.
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