Nice Try, Jane Sinner

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Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Lianne Oelke
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9780544867857
Pages: 416

Jane Sinner has messed up just about everything. Her failed suicide attempt led to expulsion from high school, and now she's a resentful community college student seeking a diploma. The only thing that makes the whole situation bearable is adding in a bit more ridiculousness: her part on an internet reality show. Jane tries and fails to juggle schoolwork, her not-quite-broken relationships with family and her old friends, emerging relationships and competitions, and her newfound local notoriety. As she pushes forward in a very nontraditional growing-up experience, Jane tries and fails, then stops trying and fails, and then stops failing in her attempt to make something real of her life.

Lianne Oelke's writing makes Jane's snarky, sassy, voice leap into reader's heads and take residence, just like Jane does in the House of Orange, the reality TV-show set. The journal entries, recorded conversations, and pretend interviews with her imaginary therapist Dr. Freudenschade tell just enough of Jane's story (and keep just enough hidden) to hook readers. Jane presents herself in writing as she does on the reality show—a careful portrait of dissatisfaction and boredom that almost manages to mask the underlying desire to pull it all together and make a success of herself.

*Contains severe language, moderate sexual content, and moderate substance abuse.