Review: Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton

Title: Jessie Hearts NYC
Author: Keris Stainton
Publisher: Orchard
Publication Date: 7 July 2011

Source: The lovely lady herself – Keris Stainton

Synopsis: From Amazon
Jessie’s just arrived in New York, hoping to forget about her awful ex.
New Yorker Finn is in love with his best friend’s girlfriend.
They might be perfect together, but in a city of eight million people, will they find each other?

I adore the ideal of soulmates and destiny; the way fate conspires to bring two people together. These notions are breathtakingly woven into the story. The number of coincidences and near misses that ultimately bring Jessie and Finn together was a joy to follow; the parallels with their thoughts, actions and events was ingenious. The weaving together of the simultaneous plot thread was inspired.

Plus Keris’s adoration of NYC shines through the prose, merging beautiful descriptions with realistic imagery making for a three dimensional picture within my imagination.

Written in third person narrative but mainly focalized from either Jessie’s or Finn’s perspective. the parallels with the imagery and descriptions from both main characters add another dimension to the main storyline. There are a lot of initial characters and background details to pick up on, but the story is well paced and compelling. I have to say I absolutely adored Finn *swoon* the more I got to know him the more I was routing for him in everything from his family, college to Jessie herself. OK so he has a crush on his best friends girlfriend but he was thrown into circumstances that intensified this crush yet never acted on it til one silly drunken moment and he was instantly overcome with remorse. He is a ‘nice’ guy.

I instantly identified with Jessie from the first page, it always amazes me that Keris can get into the mind of a teenage girl with such ease. Jessie feelings about the divorce of her parents were relatable, showing the way in which it affects all members of the family, this was heart-wrenching even when you know that it is the best option. The way in which Jessie’s fathers relationship was depicted with brutal honesty endeared him to me, there was no white washing or covering up. I actually sniggered for a while at his reaction to Jessie dating; images of J and his thoughts about our children dating filled my imagination even though they are not old enough to have boyfriends yet. I completely understood Jessie’s feeling that you could perhaps be a different person by changing location/hair/clothes, I am sure we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. I could actually feel Keris herself shining through the narrative, so much so that I began to picture Jessie as a teenage Keris.

The use of contemporary pop culture references really brings the story to technicolour life. The conversation about Sesame Street had me laughing for ages and the Russell Crowe reference literally made me fall about laughing (this is very difficult to explain when you are reading in public and suddenly snort with laughter).

The use of media stereotyping for the way in which motherhood is portrayed stood out dramatically, you are automatically supposed to be loving, caring, nurturing and self-sacrificing. Yes motherhood does include all of that at times but you should still be viewed as a separate individual with a personality of their own rather than just someones mother. Motherhood is the hardest job I have ever had even if it is the most rewarding.

The way in which both families redefined their relationship in light of the revelations was awe inspiring. Jessie in particular seemed to mature emotionally through the story.

I am having trouble summing this book up because I just want to gush – fantastic, awesome, brilliant – what I will say is that I had a warm, squishy, fuzzy, happy feeling for ages after reading it. So what are you waiting for – go order it now.

Author: Book Angel Emma

Book List Obsessed – Alliteration Addict – Secondary School Librarian – Mother of Girls – Zumba Freak

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