Banned Review: Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

The Meta Details:
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eBook
Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: January 9th, 2018
Genre: Coming of Age
Content Level: Young Adult
Pearl Clutching Content: allusions to sex, underage alcohol use, mcnugget abuse, allusions to drug use, crisis of faith
Trigger Warnings: suicidal thoughts and ideations, previous suicide attempts
Featuring: all the typical people you’d associate with reality TV…

Recommended for: people who want to see their depressed and or nihilistic asses in print
Rating: fucking amazing

Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts: Okay, so this review is going to be a little non-standard as I’m not currently sure what to rate the book… Let’s work through it together and see where we end up, shall we?

First and foremost, it’s fitting that this book is going to reviewed in a non-standard format as it’s written in a non-standard format. The book is a journal with lines of dialogue written out like a play. Or text messages. It took a bit to get into it, as the formatting on my Kindle ARC was not great, but I stuck with it awhile and it actually really worked with the story.

Even when you’re like “WHEN DID YOU HAVE TIME TO JOURNAL THIS” she actually makes note of when she found the time and… quite frankly that’s an impressive bit of writing.

The next thing I have to mention is that there were several sections of the book that had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt. For minutes at a time, uncontrollably. It was wonderous and totally what I needed.

Conversely, Jane Sinner is a depressed nihilist who’s been an utterly shit friend with utterly shit friends surrounded by real people who make real mistakes and a real unlikeable. There are sections that made me take a long look at myself and wonder if I’d done the same damage to loved ones that Jane had. There are sections where I didn’t want Jane to be so forgiving since I’ve been there and know she’ll get hurt again.

There are sections where I felt utterly unsatisfied because SERIOUSLY, THAT’S ALL YOU’RE GOING TO DO! THAT’S IT. I’M DONE, I WASH MY HANDS OF ALL OF THIS AND ALL OF YOU!

But that’s sort of what made the book work. What made it magical. That it was this wonderful coming of age story where you realize that life isn’t perfect. It’s actually kind of this huge joke where if you don’t laugh at yourself, the world at laugh at you anyway.

That life is too serious to be taken so seriously.

So in the end, it turns out I sort of loved it.

Go figure…

A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review via Edelweiss.

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