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Jessie's Story

By

Not for me 😔

A very problematic look at high school bullying and teen life with a mix of realistic events and highly unrealistic dialogue.

I really wanted to like Jessie's Story. A YA novel with themes of bullying, mental illness and complicated family dynamics? That's so far into my wheelhouse I couldn't wait to start reading. Unfortunately I figured out quite quickly that it might not live up to expectations. Even though I did my best to give this book the benefit of the doubt, tried to ignore the parts that bothered me in the hopes that it would get better, it never did.


First, the good. They aren't for everyone, but there should be more issue-driven YA books about tough topics. The more we talk about bullying, depression, suicide, the more open we are to have genuine, authentic conversations, the more smoothly we can handle these problems. So credit to the author for tackling such big topics.


Now, the bad. Put simply, the biggest trouble with this novel is the fact that it's listed as a Young Adult novel when it isn't, not really. My advice to the author would be to read some YA novels to learn more about how they work. It is written very much in the way that adults believe teens speak, think, and act, and it does not come off authentically at all. Every bit of dialogue reads as adults talking, and not only that, but fictional adults. What I mean is, it's hard to be sucked into the story when speech is filled with those kinds of 'Yes I'm feeling sad because I don't get to spend much time with my mum, because, as you know, she is an alcoholic who is too unstable to be reliable'. A father and daughter would never talk that way, because they both already know. It isn't the best way to get the information across to the reader.


The other problem is one that bothers me quite a bit more, and to talk about it is majorly spoilery, so stop reading here if you don't want to know.


Seriously, it's massive spoilers.


Like, how the book ends type spoilers, are you sure?


All right, can't say I didn't warn you. So after handling the bullying and familial addiction issues quite well, and really putting Jessie through the wringer, the author chose to have Jessie kill herself. Like I said at the beginning, I love me some dark YA, but it's vital that the ending is handled correctly! As someone who was almost bullied into suicide myself, I strongly feel that stories like this should show better ways to deal with it. As it says on the cover, Jessie's Story is the beginning of a series and her death reverberates through the lives of everyone close to her. Perhaps that is the larger point being made, that if only Jessie had known how much it would effect everyone, she wouldn't have done what she did. I disagree. That's the kind of purpose these novels should serve.


So overall, sadly, I do not recommend this book. At the very least, read with caution.

Reviewed by

I am an indie author, a Teacher and an MSc student. When I'm not working, I love to read and review to help give my fellow authors a boost! I primarily read contemporary MG/YA and LGBT Romance but also write and enjoy Horror.

Prologue

About the author

Bella Christian has always had a thirst for stories and wrote her first book at the age of eight. As a mother to five teenagers, she has plenty of reference material to use in her young adult books. view profile

Published on February 16, 2020

40000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by