**We were gifted an copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
The Truman Show is one of my all-time favourite film’s, it’s so well done with such an intriguing storyline and in my personal opinion it’s one of Jim Carrey’s finest acting performances; so imagine if you will a book with a similar premise! When I received an email a couple of months ago asking me if I’d be interested in receiving a copy of said book aptly named It’s Not The Jess Show, I couldn’t believe my luck and of course readily agreed. This young adult book set in the 90’s, the era I spent my tweens growing up in, had my full attention just from reading the blurb, but how would that stand up in terms of the execution I hear you ask….well today I’m thrilled to be sharing my full review of this newly released title and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Thank you to Quirk Books for gifting me a copy of this title for review.
About The Book
The year is 1998: Titanic just won 6 Oscars, boy bands are dominating MTV’s airwaves, and like any other teenager Jess Flynn is just trying to survive high school. Between a crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents, and her sister’s worsening health, the only constant is her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.
Jess is resigned to her small-town life, until the day she discovers a mysterious device with an apple logo, causing her to question everything and everyone she’s ever known. As more cracks appear in Jess’s world, she faces a choice: can she live the rest of her life knowing it’s a lie or should she risk everything for the truth?
Jess is just your average small-town high school student with the usual teen worries about boys, dates and friendships, but she begins to notice some odd occurrences. It starts when she hears voices shouting which no one else seems to hear or acknowledge, before half the town of Swickley is struck down by a mysterious flu and even her dog’s behaviour has changed; what is going on?
Before long Jess realises that something bigger is happening beyond her control and these odd incidents aren’t isolated, but in fact are all part of a bigger scheme she knows nothing about. Things come to a head when Jess’ best friend accidentally drops something from her backpack and Jess realises she need to find out the truth no matter the cost.
This is such a difficult book to review as not only did I really enjoy it, which always makes it harder to compile my thoughts to do it justice, but also because this is a book you need to go into with as little knowledge as possible.
This book is jam packed with 90’s nostalgia which if you are of a certain age or a fan of the era will have you reminiscing alongside Jess as she fangirls over the stars of the time. The first half of the book really is the Truman show personified and I couldn’t get enough as I devoured page after page to discover the clues which would ultimately lead to the truth for our protagonist. However, what I didn’t expect was the curveball from left field that author Carey threw into the mix! It completely changed the book for me taking it from an enjoyable YA to a fast paced gripping drama that kept me up reading till way past my bedtime!
Carey has written a fantastic YA book which offers an insightful social commentary if you bury your head beneath it’s surface. It offers a complex look at relationships, manipulation, abuse, trauma and much more which left me questioning many aspects of the online culture we all subscribe to in this modern era.
This Is Not The Jess Show is an extremely well thought out and perfectly executed story that kept me on the edge of my seat until it’s climax. I found Carey’s easy writing style perfectly suited to the story and I will certainly be looking to read some of her backlisted books too. I’ve heard that there could be a follow-up to this book and I will certainly be picking it up if that’s the case, however I’m unsure where the story would go?? Although I’m certain there would be a few twists and turns thrown in there!
About The Author
Anna Carey is the author of The Eve Trilogy and the Blackbird Series. Her books have been translated into twelve languages. She went to NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn college, where she was the recipient of the Himan Brown award. She likes miniatures, subway generated wind, flea markets, chalkboard silhouettes, dance-offs and top-of-your-lungs car singing. She dislikes pennies, paper receipts and tuna.
This Is Not The Jess Show is available to purchase now from Amazon*