Thursday, July 12, 2018

REVIEW: Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM

Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 15+ (underage alcohol usage, sex, trigger warnings for suicide)
Pages: 416
Disclaimer: I got this book through KidLitExchange. Thanks! All opinions are my own.


It’s Kind of a Funny Story meets Daria in the darkly hilarious tale of a teen’s attempt to remake her public image and restore inner peace through reality TV. The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

I am not a fan of YA Contemporary and honestly, I didn’t remember ordering this book from KLE. So when it arrived I was not excited to read it. Then I read it. The book isn’t a normal contemporary. It’s darkly funny like Daria and the main character feels genuine. The author included some diverse characters in it, including a bisexual best friend and a love interest who suffers from what appears to be suffering from OCD. The main character herself suffers from clinical depression. The plot and pacing are very well done and I loved the diary format of the book. I seem to be loving these of late.

However, I did feel that the book didn’t focus on some of the side characters enough. They aren’t very well developed in comparison to Jane. The father is mentioned to have certain traits and some of the housemates are too, but beyond that, they aren’t very well developed and the ending is a little ambiguous for everyone. While I liked that type of ending, I know a lot of others really won’t.

Verdict: If you like dark humor you’ll love this book.


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