“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.”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! I’ve been excitedly wanting to read this ever since I heard of it, and I recently was gifted it by my amazing friend!
“The past doesn’t exist. It’s just a story we tell ourselves. And stories change each time you tell them.”
Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10 Stars
Favorite Character: The one and only Jane Sinner
Spoiler Free: Ughhhhhhhh I loved this book so much! It’s honestly everything I wish for from a contemporary!
How To Make A Good Contemporary
- Have a strong, and sometimes hilarious, narrative voice
- A good blend of struggle, humor, and love
- Add a cat
And then this book had to go and add a competition into the mix. It’s like this book is after my heart!
Now, to get a little more serious, I did seriously enjoy and love this book, and the main reason for this definitely had to be Jane. Her voice and her struggles felt so real and brutal and honest all while remaining absolutely hilarious. From her facade of having no care in the world to how hidden she keeps her true emotions reminded me of myself at points, but then Jane always came in with some funny quip to keep me from dwelling too much. Additionally, the way the emotions were written along made me feel them almost as strongly as I image Jane did, which also added to overall “realness” that the book held.
The plot itself was also pretty amazing. I didn’t guess any of the “twists,” as I was too wrapped up in Jane’s competitive strategy to really consider what the others were up to, and I preferred it that way. Additionally, the competitions were just really fun to read through, and getting to hear about everything after it happened (since this book was written in the form of a diary) allowed for Jane to add her afterthoughts to them. The pacing itself was also pretty great, spreading the action and emotions throughout the book in a fairly balanced way.
Unfortunately, the only reason I dropped this book a star was due to its ending. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the ending of the book itself, but I didn’t like how short it was compared to the rest of the book. For reasons I’ll explain a bit better in the spoiler section, it felt a bit rushed and unfinished, and I didn’t feel fully satisfied by the end of it, almost as if it needed a bit more words/pages to provide proper closure for the book. But I still absolutely loved what the ending contained, and what it meant for Jane and her future.
Overall, this book made me laugh a lot, cry a bit, and taught me something about myself along the way, and that’s all I can really ask from a book.
Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!