AUTHOR: Jen Brooks
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2015
GENRE: magical realism; romance
SETTING: present-day USA (Boston?)
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: When he was eight years old, Jonathan Aubrey survived a horrific plane crash that killed his mother, father, little sister, and aunt. After emerging from a coma months after the crash, Jonathan realized he had the ability to build fake worlds. Now age 18, Jonathan prefers to live in his favorite fake world where popular Kylie Simms is his girlfriend, instead of the real world where Kylie barely knows he exists. But when Jonathan gets his worlds mixed up–and tries to kiss the wrong Kylie–he starts to wonder if his worlds could be colliding.
REVIEW: I’m just going to say it right now…this book deserves attention. I won’t be surprised to see it on 2015 Best-of booklists or even the Goodreads Choice Awards in December. In A World Just Right is well-written, suspenseful, emotional, and beautiful. Jonathan is a sympathetic character right from the start; he’s a brilliant-but-scarred loner who experienced unimaginable tragedy at a very young age.
I don’t want to say much about this book out of fear of giving away too much. While I thought it dragged a bit in the middle, there are some surprises throughout the story that I really enjoyed. I finished the book this morning while riding a city bus, and I had to try SO HARD not to cry at the end. For that reason and so many others, I am adding In a World Just Right to my own “Best of 2015” list. I am absolutely positive it will also appear on many others.
THE BOTTOM LINE: An impressive debut! Beautifully-written with sympathetic characters and a very unique premise. Despite a few slow spots in the middle, it’s one of my favorites of 2015 so far.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I am so getting this book! I talked about it with several of my library classes this week, and my students are excited to get this title for our library. And for a romance about 18-year old characters, it’s relatively clean.
READALIKES: Every Day (Levithan); All Our Yesterdays (Terrill)
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 4/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5–a bit overlong; some slowness in the middle
- Language: very mild; a couple of hells
- Sexuality: mild; mainly kissing. Fake-Girlfriend Kylie sleeps in same bed with Jonathan, but nothing is described. A sensual massage, but again, it’s pretty mild.
- Violence: none
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; a couple of references to beer, wine, and whiskey