After graduating from Dartmouth College, Jen taught high school English for fourteen years. She holds an MA and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A competitive hurdler and jumper in high school and college, she coached high school cross-country and track & field for thirty-one seasons. When she’s not writing in her office overlooking her back yard pond, you can find her running, hiking, visiting national parks, or going out for ice cream with her husband and son.
Title: In a World Just Right
Author: Jen Brooks
Publisher: Simon + Schuster
Publication: April 28th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5
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In a World Just Right is a crazy ride of a book. So many twists and turns. Lots of emotions and plenty of amazing characters. Even the 'other' characters had their own personalities. This is a contemporary book with a splash of, not so much supernatural, but magic? I'm not sure how to say it without saying too much.
Jonathan is this really amazing and eccentric character. His thought process is both frightening and powerful. He has one of the strongest personalities I think I have seen in a male protagonist. His is just truly a work of art. I do, however, think he would be completely different if his parents and sister hadn't 'died' or maybe even if he just didn't have the scar. I think because he had so much time alone with himself that he just turned into a somewhat bitter hermit.
I don't know if this is a spoiler or not. I mean I won't be giving away any major plot points so here goes. Jonathan can bring things to and from his mad up worlds. Letters, T-shirts, and other material items. So I kept thinking, why doesn't he just replace his files or something with the ones from his 'other' school? Or slip the acceptance letter from one college to another? After thinking about it for a while it sounds pretty hard and a bit crazy but he did do the world in both worlds so if he was really worried so much about starting college ASAP then I am wondering why this idea never crossed his mind.
Why is everything about Kylie? I know she is the reason Jonathan created her world but Tess is right there... RIGHT THERE and all his questions are based on Kylie? That would be the furthest thing from my mind. What about his parents? Did they have this ability too? And is Tess the same one? AHHH!!! I wanted to yell at Jonathan so much!
When I read books I really enjoy the conversations in them. You get to know not only the main character but whoever else they might be talking to. In this book, there is a lot more description and thought sections, not enough conversation scenes for me. I know that Jonathan is a loner in the Real world but he isn't in his made up worlds so I feel like there should have been a bit more conversing. Sometimes the book went pages and pages without conversation. I feel like this was the only problem I truly had with the book.
Now you might think I would give this book a low star review because of some of the statements. But I think that if a book makes you feel, makes you want to yell at a character, then it's a good book. What is the point of reading if you don't feel something? This book made me feel sadness, anger, confusion, happiness and complete. I love love love when books just make you feel everything. And the ending of this book just made me go BOOM. So many unpredictable paths. This book was just abso-freakin-lutely stunning and I can honestly say its the FIRST book I have enjoyed from a male protagonists perspective.
Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.
1) What was the inspiration behind In a World Just Right?
I honestly don’t remember where I got the idea for a kid who can create worlds. Doesn’t everyone wish for that power at some point? I do remember having this idea about a scene with kids riding a night bus home from a track meet (I used to run, then coach, track and field), and the world maker kid was on it, and some nefarious organization (or maybe the government) was in pursuit of the kid. That scene never made it into the book, though!
2) If you could create a parallel universe, what would it be called, and what would it contain? (Mine would be called Carpe Librum. I would own a huge house with a 3 story library and I would have a ton of money to spend on young adult books.)
Carpe Librum! I love it! Can I come over?
I think In A World Just Right makes clear that when you create another world by changing some parameter(s) of the real world, there are ripples and consequences. Most of the things I would want to put in a parallel universe would be big changes (no war, no disease, no poverty), but to outright eliminate any or all of those might have unexpected consequences for biology, ecology, economy, etc. (Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try, though.) I do think it would be wonderful to create a world where people could coexist without judging each other, especially pre-judging each other. Think of how many news stories you’ve seen recently would have turned out differently in such a world.
3) If you were given the opportunity to be a guy for a day, would you? And why?
Ha! I have never been asked this question, but I have to say, I definitely would. I read an article somewhere recently, written by a man, that talked about how men view women. One of the points the author made is that men view woman as sort of insane because they are so emotional, implying that guys think way more rationally. I also relatively recently had the experience of reading Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle, which to me felt eye-opening with regard to how “guys” think. I would welcome the opportunity to experience guy-thought, as it would be tremendously useful for understanding things they do/say. However, I absolutely must note that I don’t believe all guys think exactly the same, so to be “a guy for a day” would be a different experience depending on the guy I got to be!
4) Are you currently working on any new books?
I just typed THE END on the first draft of a new manuscript! I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a top secret project, though.
5) Coffee or tea?
Would you believe I only drink water? Occasionally juice or lemonade.
6) What is the best part about being an author?
There are many unbelievably wonderful parts. The best is having readers contact me to say they loved my book. I really can’t express how it feels to know your words made a difference to somebody. The other best is sharing the journey with others in the business. I’ve met so many wonderful, generous, talented people on this journey, and I’ve made some very good friends.
7) If someone came up to you and asked your opinion on In a World Just Right, and they didn't know you were the author, what would you say and how would you pitch your book?
Wow. Tough question. I guess I’d say that people are calling it a thought-provoking book. I also frequently see descriptive words applied like beautiful, unique, original, philosophical, and my favorite from one particular reviewer: freakin’ exquisite. I think the audience for the book is one that likes to be challenged on a certain level by what they read. Jonathan is a character whose loneliness makes him deeply sympathetic, but he also makes choices that are questionably ethical to escape that loneliness. This makes for good discussion, I think, and that is the kind of book I wanted to write.