Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda KenneallyJesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Series: #6 Hundred Oaks
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on July 7, 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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five-stars  

She’s dreamed of only making music and the school job shadow day brings a dream come true. In this latest installment to the Hundred Oaks series, the author brings together a small town girl who has big music dreams and a jaded before his time child prodigy superstar teen singing sensation. Their story is told through the eyes of Maya Henry who is kid-sister to the Sam, hero of the first book, Catching Jordan. The wry, down to earth way Maya tells her story, the engaging characters, the heartfelt relationship and plot along with the settings and secondary characters make for a fantastic read that I couldn’t put down. Though part of a series, like the others, this book can standalone nicely.

The story opens with Maya’s response to ‘what do you want to be?’ lands her in a fairy tale like dream when her high school principal’s answer to her ‘I want to be a rock star’, is to make arrangements for her to shadow Nashville singing sensation, Jesse Scott. She isn’t a fan of his music since 80’s rock is more her thing, but truly hopes to learn what it will take to break into the music business. Maya is eager and willing until her first encounter with the rude jerk changes her mind. She needs to complete this project to pass high school so she goes on with things even when take two goes equally as bad.

However, Maya sees something beneath Jesse’s demeanor and behavior and guesses that he could really use a friend. Jesse lives isolated after being used and tapped dry by everyone’s claims on him and he craves the warmth of family even though his own pushed him aside. Slowly Maya gains his trust as she follows Jesse around on a day in his life. Jesse isn’t the only one opening up and she rewards his trust of his secrets with some of her own. They work on music, they get up to some mischief, they surprise each other, and somewhere along the way, they become friends.

Until Jesse pulls away and rips that from Maya when he returns to suspecting her of playing him and using him. It hurts, but Maya prosaically takes what she was given from her day and the lessons learned to reach higher than she ever did in the past. Will she achieve her dreams? Will she regain her friend? She doesn’t know, but she has to put herself out there and try.

Maya is the girl that I wish I knew in high school. I’m pretty sure we could have been BFFs for life. She isn’t afraid to be herself, but she is well aware that being herself leaves her on the fringes because others don’t seem to like the real Maya. She has spunk and doesn’t just roll over, but she is vulnerable, too. She made some mistakes, but this girl owns them and learns from them. Maya isn’t flashy and she comes from Salt of the Earth folk, but she is the real deal and has forged a few strong relationships. I loved how connected she is to family and her true friends and how the people that really matter respect the heck out of her.

Back in middle school when I had my first crush, Mom gave me a piece of advice that I listened to but never actually followed. She said that I should never waste my time pining for a boy, because the boy I’m meant to be with will want me so bad, I won’t have to pine at all.

Loc 767 Maya from Jesse’s Girl

Okay there, I’m done with my Maya love fest. As to the story, it’s a bit of a fairy-tale, but has a nice heartwarming and humorous tone to take it beyond the shallow end of the pool. The romance is there, but I loved that the author let them be friends first. The conflicts were a blend of internal and external as Maya strove to achieve her dreams and work through the complications of her life. And while this is Maya’s story, Jesse and his story are right there, too. He starts out as a jerk, but soon won me over with his loneliness and longing when he saw the treasure that Maya is and valued her. The angst was nearly absent and yet this wasn’t boring or unemotional.

I used to think trust means “never let you down,” but really, it’s about love. Family can’t always help fix a difficult situation, and everybody makes mistakes. We shouldn’t expect perfect. But we can hope that the people we love love us enough to try to make it right.
Loc 1985 Maya from Jesse’s Girl

The setting of the music world and references, Nashville for the day, and a Christmas in New York made me feel envious and long to be there for real. The author has an absolute gift for making the background a well-loved character in her stories.

On the side, this story offered a nice follow-up secondary storyline for Sam and Jordan. They were scene-stealers every time they were around. Sam is the best big brother for Maya and Jordan fit right in with their family. I loved getting the update on them.

This is a YA so for my YA warnings, there is language and sex so this is probably best for older YA audiences.

To wrap it up, this was a fantastic read and an equally fab heroine. This story full of warmth, wit, and friendship turned to love- a music lover’s dream story. I would recommend it to those who enjoy steamy YA Contemporaries that address life from a laid-back, loving life, and wry standpoint.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • When I read the title of this one, it took me right back to high school when I head Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield on the radio. lol Then to read it’s about her wanting to be a rock star, well that just brought it all together and I found that fun. Thanks for the great review.

    • I almost picked that song for my Books N Tunes challenge. There is a comparison to Ferris Beuler’s Day Off in this story that makes it fun and nostalgic.

  • I’ve been seeing this book around the blogosphere a lot this week. That must have been fun to slowly see them open up to each other and trust each other. I like how you describe Maya as being herself and not caring that leads her on the outside. It’s a lesson I only learned after high school. And I like that they become friends first and only then fall in love as friend to lovers romances as my favourite type and I believe getting to know each other first can create a solid basis for a relationship. Great review and I am happy to hear you enjoyed this one so much!

    • That’s funny that you’ve seen it around so much. So far, I haven’t, but my favorite YA blogs will probably review this one so I’ll watch.

      Yes, me too, on the lesson about being true to self and I adored their friendship.

  • It’s always great when you can personally relate to the characters to the point where you wish they’r real so you can meet them.

    • For sure! I don’t always relate, especially in YAs, but this one took the right tone for me.

  • Lindy Gomez

    I loved this story so much! I agree, Maya is someone that I could have seen myself being BFF’s for life too. I loved her character, and appreciated the way that their relationship started off as a friendship. Great Review Sophia!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    • Hey, we could have all been high school besties together. Haha!

      Agreed, this one was a keeper.

  • So glad you loved this one so much, Sophia! I have not read any of Miranda’s books. This one sounds like a winner!

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I did love it. This is only my second book by her and I enjoyed the other one, too, so I probably really should read the rest. 😉