Back in eighth grade, I read the first book in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, Finding Jordan, and loved it. However, by ninth grade, Kenneally’s other books, including Stealing Parker, Racing Savannah, and Things I Can’t Forget, just didn’t appeal to me as much. Either my taste became more refined or Kenneally’s writing worsened, but I couldn’t get into her books as much. Or at all. In the case of Jesse’s Girl, the book was a fun, cheesy read at best and an overbearingly mushy one at most.
Everyone at Hundred Oaks High, especially Maya Henry, knows that career mentoring day is a joke. But Maya gets to shadow the Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol, in the hopes of pursuing her dream to be a rock star. But spending the day with Jesse and seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder to Maya of everything she’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and her opportunities to play the music she craves. Plus, gorgeous Jesse is pushy and opinionated. He thinks Maya is playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her dreams and go solo?
Though Maya and Jesse are super cute together throughout the entirety of the book, I couldn’t really connect to either character. Typically, if the premise of a book is hard to believe, then the characters have to be really easy to relate to in order to make up for the far-fetched plot. However, with Jesse’s Girl, Jesse and Maya don’t seem like real people I could meet on the street or at home. They seem like characters generated to be in a young adult romance. They lack the depth and humanity that Kenneally’s other characters have.
This being said, the prose of Jesse’s Girl is spot-on. Kenneally has mastered writing things humorously without losing out on elegance. Her descriptions are generous but not overdone. Plus, she tells enough of the new story while bringing back characters we’ve met in her previous books. Sam and Jordan are around a lot in this book, and it’s by far the best treat of the entire book. Sam and Jordan are the original couple, and they will forever be the cutest and funniest couple in all of Hundred Oaks.
While Jesse’s Girl is far from Kenneally’s best book, it’s still a great book to read if you want to laugh and swoon.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (July 7th, 2015)
Length: 304 pages (Kindle)