Publication date : January 9th, 2018
Publisher : Clarion Books
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 420
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*
TW: Depression, suicide attempt, suicidal ideations, emetophobia, ableist language, panic attack
Ever since I heard of Nice Try, Jane Sinner I’ve been eyeing a copy of my own, so I was thrilled when I got sent one by the publisher. It was promoted by everyone, their mother and their dog as a book tackling depression without sugar coating but with a lot of humour and I gotta say. I’ll have to agree. I loved this book so much. Just how honest and unfiltered it is but without taking itself too seriously.
The format in this one is quite peculiar, it’s written in journal entries without chapter separations whatsoever, at first I thought that would be dauting but it was surprisingly quite the fast read. Like a true diary, it’s just day after day after day, sometimes one page would contain two days while other days would expend over pages and pages. In that way, it felt very authentic. The way the dialogue was written threw me off a little though, it was just like nothing I’ve ever read before (aside from in, like, plays) but once I got used to it, I didn’t mind it much.
So the story itself, when you read the synopsis, kind of prepares you to this being quite the entertaining read, with Jane participating in a reality TV and honestly that’s all I expected it to be, I didn’t expect it to be so fun while still tackling depression so head on. But it did. The Author never shies away from telling the hard cold truths of this mental illness (or one of the forms it manifests at least), we see Jane’s good and bad days, we see her be the light of the party as well as being unable to get out of bed. And I never felt overwhelmed by it as I often do with books tackling depression, because of the MC’s sarcastic and nonchalant voice.
Besides that, Nice Try, Jane Sinner also gives quite the importance to showing different perspectives and people having different relationships to religion (Christianity in this case), from Jane who was born into it and ended up finding that she just didn’t believe, to Bonnie, her bisexual best friend who chose it and whose faith grew stronger every day. It also goes in depth into Jane’s friendships, from her high school friends to the friendships she starts when she joins community college and how those are different from each other and how she is different in each of them.
Jane is such a flawed, funny and smart character. She’s kind of an ass and she knows it but doesn’t like to admit it to herself. She also pretends not to care about anything or anyone but cares a lot. The way she never took anything seriously and uses sarcasm as an uncrackable wall was frustrating at times but I saw so much of myself as a teen in her that I couldn’t resent her, it just made me love her more. There’s this one particular things she does where she analyzes people’s behaviours that I especially saw myself in, I tend to do that as well, not in the same way but close. Jane just kept on checking all the boxes for me.
The side character were pretty well done as well, her best friend, Bonnie doesn’t always get her, but she respects and support her even when they argue and drift apart a little. Robbie, one of her new friends and also love interest, is an indian boy and the two of them are way more similar than Jane would like to admit because she gets mad at him for the same things and strategies she uses in the show which was pretty interesting to read.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner was honestly a case of right book at the right time for me, I picked it up when I need it most I think and it made me laugh while making me feel seen and acknowledged.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Nice Try, Jane Sinner? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.