Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: Jesse's Girl (Kenneally)

AUTHOR: Miranda Kenneally
SERIES: Hundred Oaks
PUBLISHER: SourceBooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402284823
PAGES: 287
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: contemporary romance
SETTING: Nashville, Tennessee; present day
SUMMARY: 17-year old Maya Henry dreams of being a rock star. After losing her sort-of boyfriend and her band on the same day, Maya is excited to get a chance to shadow teen country sensation Jesse Scott for Mentor Day at her high school. But when she arrives at Jesse's mansion, she finds him to be an opinionated, rude jerk who can't resist pushing Maya to try a solo career.

WHAT I LIKED: I just adore Miranda Kenneally's books and have read all six in this series so far. Some are better than others, but I love them all for different reasons. Jesse's Girl definitely isn't my favorite Hundred Oaks book, but I still zipped through it quickly and enjoyed the story well enough. Fans of Catching Jordan will enjoy a glimpse into the adult lives of Sam Henry (Maya's older brother) and his girlfriend Jordan Woods.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Jesse's Girl does have some quirks that I didn't like. The most glaring issue for me is that I never really connected with either Maya or Jesse. Neither was really dealing with issues that are all that substantial. Both are confident in themselves, have loving people in their lives, and life will go on if they decide to break up. I never questioned whether or not Jesse and Maya could make it work. Their relationship issues (a.k.a. the story's conflict) never really seemed like that big a deal to me.

As determined as Maya pretends to be about making it on her own, she really doesn't make it without Jesse's help. She trains with his voice coach, and Jesse's fame gets her all kinds of publicity. Later in the book, Jesse makes a deal that involves Maya's assured success. It's fine for Maya to take these opportunities if they are offered to her--she'd be crazy not to. The irony is that despite her insistence to the contrary, Maya's success is largely due to her fame as Jesse's girlfriend. To pretend otherwise is just disingenuous.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It's not the most exciting in the Hundred Oaks series, but I still recommend it for fans of the series or for any teen who loves a quick, romantic read.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. There are better books in this series, but libraries that stock Kenneally's books will definitely want to have this one. The Hundred Oaks series is a must for high school and public libraries.

READALIKES: anything in Kenneally's Hundred Oaks series; Pushing the Limits series (McGarry); Perfect Chemistry series (Elkeles)

  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

  • Language: mild-moderate; several sh**
  • Sexuality: moderate-high; boy and girl swim in their underwear; off-screen intercourse and nondescript oral sex
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; mention of a past party with teen drinking

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