Buddy Review | This Is Not the Jess Show – Anna Carey

Both of us have been really curious about This is Not the Jess Show since we heard about it. Even more so when a lot of positive reviews started appearing on blogs and social media. Both of us finally own the book and decided to read it together. Today we want to talk about what we thought. Keep on reading to find out more!

Buddy Review | This Is Not the Jess Show – Anna Carey

Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction--and how far we'll go to create our own version of reality.
Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama ... but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister's worsening health, the only constant is change--and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.
Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device--with an apple logo on it--falls out of her best friend's backpack and lands at Jess's feet.

This Is Not the Jess Show (This Is Not the Jess Show, #1) by Anna Carey
Published by Quirk Books on 02/02/2021
Pages: 304


Candyce The cover was honestly what caught my eye in the first place. I love the colors and all the details in the room. It definitely gave me the 90’s vibes I was expecting after reading the synopsis.

Isabelle I really enjoy this cover. The vibe fits the story really well and I like the little details you can see in the room. It makes it feel like a very dated bedroom. I also love the colors and the typography is perfect for this book.


Candyce I had an idea what the book was about, but of course didn’t know what to think. Our main character Jess stays close to home and has a pretty comfortable life. Even if she is worried about her sister that is sick. Things are starting to get weird though. Half the town in sick and things start to feel off for Jess.

This is Not the Jess Show started off really strong for me. The setting was interesting and I definitely got the thriller vibes when certain things started happening. Also, I loved all of the 90’s pop culture. Some things I haven’t thought of for ages and it was so much fun. It was mixed into this story well.

The book then took a turn I wasn’t expecting and to be honest I’m still not sure what to think about it. I still enjoyed reading it and wanted to finish, but it wasn’t the thriller/mystery I was expecting. The ending was left a bit open for more, but it also kind of feels complete to me.

The characters were interesting, but it all stayed really simple. I don’t feel like we really got to know them. Not even the main character. It was clearly a plot driven story, but I would’ve like just a little more depth. Especially with everything Jess goes through. Also, the romance felt out of place here. Kind of like oh, let’s add a romance. It didn’t work for me.

All in all a fast read, but definitely different than expected. I have to say I am curious about the author’s other books.

Isabelle I was super excited to get this book! Since I heard about it I wanted to read it, I had seen super positive reviews and I’m always on the lookout for a new YA mystery/thriller. To be honest, I didn’t really know what it was about. I had some vague idea but I was definitely surprised about the direction this one took!

Jess never really left her hometown, and now something strange is going on. Half the town is sick and her best friends are acting weird. The story starts off mysterious right away. You have no clue what’s going on (especially not if you haven’t read the synopsis haha), but you want to know more. I really enjoyed the writing style, it made me want to continue reading longer than I was supposed to haha.

Like is said before, this story took a very different turn and I was not expecting most of it. However, after a while it got a bit more predictable and I did see the ending coming. I don’t think everyone will see the ending coming though and I did like that part of the story a lot. It seems like there will be another book but I wouldn’t have minded this ending for a standalone book either.

What I did mind was the romantic storyline. It came on so so fast and didn’t really make sense to me. Maybe down the line, but not this fast and not in this situation. It actually bothered me a lot. The characters overall weren’t super exciting and the plot was definitely more the focus. And I don’t mind that at all, but don’t also throw a stupid romance on me next to that.

While most readers filled this under mystery or mystery/thriller I didn’t find it that thrilling. At first a lot more than towards the end. I think it could’ve been a bit more creepy after that initial feeling that something was off or wrong. All in all I did enjoy it though! Mostly for the plot and the setting. I’m not sure if I would pick up a sequel though, I liked where the story left us!

So that was our review for This is Not the Jess Show. Have you read this or any books by Anna Carey? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

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