Thank you to Quirk Book Publishing for kindly sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my review whatsoever.
This is not the Jess Show by Anna Carey is a young adult thriller and a second one is coming soon! It was also named one of Brightly Best YA Books Being Published in 2021 (rightly so).
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.
All the characters were deeply developed and had many layers. My favorite part was that you didn’t know who to trust, and who to not. In my opinion this is a very important aspect in a thriller. Also, it was interesting to watch the characters change over the course of the book.
The worldbuilding was minimal because it was in the modern(ish) world so most readers knew what was going on. The only worldbuilding that was necessary and included was more information about Jess’s hometown and daily life. Overall the worldbuilding was easy to understand and spread out so the reader didn’t become overwhelmed.
The plot was amazing! The book was a short 300-and-something-pages, but the author somehow fit so much into it without overwhelming the reader. It was delightfully fast paced and there were so many twists and turns. It was a very well written and developed plot, and you can tell the author really put all the love into this book.
Some of my favorite quotes :)
“I’d never needed things to be perfect. I still saw the missing shingles and the dented trash cans Turn over near the curb, and I knew life outside the set would have its own problems. I didn't know anyone here besides Kipps. I only had $3 in my wallet, and even if I could get one of those device things I had no idea how to use it. But racing forward out over the potholes and broken concrete, my small town and my parents and that hospital felt far away, like it was a story I'd heard about someone else. I let the speedometer climb above 30 which I never done in the Home Depot parking lot. The car responded to even the slightest way on the pedal, every tilt of the wheel. I was in control”
“I've never felt so safe-not even in Swickley, when I was home.”
“He covered my hand with his hand, and I didn't have the sweet, buzzy feeling I used to. Everything in me went cold. I tried to smile and tilt my head to one side, like it was the same as it had always been between us, but I didn't feel it. Something was wrong.”
Considering all of this, and the fact that the book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through, I think it definitely deserves a 5 star rating from me! I am also preordering the second one (set to be released May or 2022) as soon as possible! The characters, worldbuilding, plot and overall theme of the book was perfect for my taste.
If you enjoyed We Were Liars and Everything, Everything- This book is for you!