Title: This is Not the Jess Show
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction–and how far we’ll go to create our own version of reality.
Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama … but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister’s worsening health, the only constant is change–and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.
Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device–with an apple logo on it–falls out of her best friend’s backpack and lands at Jess’s feet.
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My Mini Review
This is Not the Jess Show surprised me in the best of ways. I was intrigued from the first chapter, with the introduction of the main character, Jess. This book does a great job combining mystery, thriller, adventure, and a sprinkle of romance. If you’re like me, you won’t want to put this book down until the last page.
Jess is your typical high school teenager: she has a good group of friends, likable personality, and she’s dealing with a crush on her childhood best friend. Everything seems to be perfect in Jess’s world…until it’s not. Strange things start to happen around her: she hears voices that no one else seems to hear, her friends start acting weird and closed-off toward her, and her dog seems to have had a change of personality toward Jess. Everything seems to be slowly changing around her and it causes Jess to question everything she’s ever known.
And then, all of a sudden, the truth is revealed, and what a shocking truth it is! I was not expecting that kind of twist, but it fit so well with the story and Jess’s life. Once the first bout of action started, it was almost never-ending. It turned into an action-packed, fast-paced story that kept me hooked to the page. I needed to know what was going to happen to Jess after finding out the truth. The truth completely turns her life into turmoil and sends her on a rollercoaster of emotions. There were so many shocking revelations that I was honestly surprised with how Jess reacted. But that just shows she’s a brave and level-headed teen.
Carey’s writing really did a great job of capturing Jess’s feelings, especially when her life takes a twisted turn. The author makes sure to grab your attention from the very beginning. I could easily see this book being a TV show or a movie, one that I believe so many people would like. Carey flawlessly combines contemporary with thriller and easily creates a compelling story. And trust me, when you read that last line of the book, you will be wishing you had the sequel (which comes out next week!).
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed This is Not the Jess Show and the wild adventure this story took me on as the reader. If you’re looking for a great contemporary with a shocking twist, then I highly recommend This is Not the Jess Show. My review of the sequel, This is Not the Real World, will be up next week, so stay tuned! Of course, if you have not read This is Not the Jess Show, I would avoid reading my review of the sequel to avoid any spoilers.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars