This is Not the Jess Show By Anna Carey | Book Review. - EllexMay

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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

This is Not the Jess Show By Anna Carey | Book Review.

Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Y/A

*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This is Not the Jess Show has been the 8th book I've finished this year, it's definitely been one I was unable to put down due to the storyline and era. As someone that grew up in the 90s and relished everything I had I was sucked into the setting and story, Jess is a teenage girl living life to the fullest even under her mother's watchful eye. She has a younger sister who is very poorly and has been going down hill for a while now but they have a very close bond. She is a typical rebellious teenager with her whole life ahead of her but there is a catch, her life has been shown to the world since she was a toddler and every embarrassing thing she has ever done has been showcased to millions of people.

A bright Jess has everything a teeanger could want, the perfect family life, friends and family who loved and adored her, crushes on boys that she would never be able to admit to outside of her friendship circle. She has a good outlook on life and tries to see the bright side of life rather. This book is completely different from other teen dramas I have read, in fact it was more believable than most teen dramas because of Jess's reactions throughout the book, she took things in her stride and tried to make sense of whatever came her way, she's a very level headed young girl.

One day whilst in school Jess is hanging out with her two best friends and something unexpected happened that was out of the ordinary in this 90s world, a small metal device falls out of her friends backpack and on the back there is an apple symbol, tech like this wasn't around in the 90s yet and her friend had to come up with an excuse fast so she said it was her dads, that he worked in tech, that sounds plausible to you right? After this the pace of the book picked up a lot, Jess's life begins to unravel before our eyes and it's heartbreaking to see everything she loves isn't real.

We find that Jess wasn't the type of girl to just sit down and accept the strange occurrences around her, she likes to question things and find an answer, she is the least fake person you could come across in life even when it came to friendships with people. Her over protective parents made it hard for her to spread her wings she is obviously the kind of girl who wants to explore and find out more about the world but it's impossible when they restrict her every movements even when it comes to her going home after school. 

Jess is hard to dislike, I felt a connection to her instantly especially when it came to her and her sisters close relationship, early on in the book I could tell something wasn't right even with the 90s settings and sussed out what was happening quickly, this didn't deter me from wanting to read on in fact it enticed me to progress further. The life that surrounded Jess was convincing she knew of nothing else and the producers of the show had the upper hand when it came to introducing different things into the story for Jess to believe, it's almost like they steered her to be a fan of whatever they pleased as well as putting ideas in her head not giving her free will which is something that the show obviously needed to do to keep her in line with the show.

I don't want to go into more detail as it will ruin the rest of the book but I do want to discuss how this fresh take on the Truman Show showed just what could happen when fame takes over and people happily do things for money if it comes with a large paycheck, I wouldn't put any of this above my child no matter the cost, the trauma they will go through from finding out their whole life is a lie would send me spiraling because I would have been responsible for it. But my other conflicted notions on the book brings me to the realisation that I would love to experience the 90s again, seeing Jess talk about her loves and what her interests were in that era made me feel so nostalgic, I would want privacy though not for the whole world to look in on me.

With an interesting twist and structure the book is easily comparable to the Truman Show except from a teenage girls perspective, drama plays a big part throughout Jess's life and seems to follow her no matter what she tries to do. Having an introduction to everyone in her life was early on made the book focus more on how these people who she considered close to her betrayed her hit me to my core, I couldn't imagine finding out that my whole life has been a lie and the world knew all my secrets. I highly recommend giving this book a read, it's a refreshing tale that will hook you!




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