This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction–and how far we’ll go to create our own version of reality.

Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama … but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister’s worsening health, the only constant is change–and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.

Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device–with an apple logo on it–falls out of her best friend’s backpack and lands at Jess’s feet.

It was the unusual blend of comp titles and the mystery of exactly what’s going on in the small town of Swickley that made me request this novel from NetGalley. And what a surprise it turned out to be.

This is a difficult review to write without revealing spoilers. The first several chapters are Jess’s average teen life – high school, friends, crushes on guys – you get the picture. I especially enjoyed the 90s setting that was full of nostalgia – music, fashions, magazines, and food. But strange things pop up that will leave you as puzzled as Jess. Her friends are acting weird, a mysterious flu has overtaken the town, and her dog undergoes a serious personality change. Then the story takes a sudden turn that may have you asking “What the $*@# just happened?” And then it all makes sense.

Fun, clever, and imaginative, this novel is also full of action sequences and a bit of romance. It took me by surprise, and I finished the book in less than a day. I was excited to learn a sequel will be released later this year, and I’m anxious to see what happens next with Jess.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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