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This is Not the Jess Show – Anna Carey

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an early eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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.

But the year is 1998, and the first iPhone won’t exist for another nine years. 

I saw this book completely by accident not too long ago and it was the concept of, This is Not the Jess Show that took my attention. I was so intrigued as to what might happen throughout this book because the synopsis doesn’t give much away. It is a unique, fun and interesting novel that had me invested throughout. This issue is, I did actually feel quite let down with the way that this book and its writing played out.

I can’t really discuss this book in much detail due to the possibility of giving away even the most minor of spoilers, but I’ll discuss what I can. I enjoyed the concept, the characters and most of the pacing of this book. Jess’ character is well-rounded, believable and a character that I really enjoyed reading about. I did enjoy a couple of the secondary characters as well but I won’t mention their names.

I was expecting This is Not the Jess Show to be more of a thrilling story than what it actually was. I’m unsure if this is because I’ve read a lot of thriller stories recently and this was as thrilling as those. The pacing of this book starts out fast and gripped me, then the middle section slowed down and lost my interest. It just seemed to drag on way longer than necessary. Then for the last few chapters, the pacing picked up rapidly and I was hooked on the story again. So, if you read this be prepared to go on a pacing rollercoaster.

This book has sections that feel incredibly believable and then sections that felt really unbelievable. I don’t quite know why certain sections of this book felt so far fetched but they really did and it took me out of enjoying this book.

That being said, I did have a fun time reading this book and seeing the twists and turns throughout the plot. I am intrigued with where this story can go as it is part of a duology. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the TV series, Black Mirror or the movie, The Truman Show. It is an intriguing story with such an interesting concept! Give this one a read because the synopsis gives nothing away!

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