Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Series: Standalone
Source: Random Buzzers
Location: Jersey Shore
Jersey Angel
 Angel's story starts the summer before her last year of high school. She's still trying to hold on to the carelessness of youth, while the people around her are looking to the future. As she struggles to figure out her life, she ends up doing things she shouldn't... one of which is sleeping with Cork, her best friend's boyfriend. 

The most important thing to note about this book is that Angel is an imperfect, but very real protagonist. While she makes a lot of mistakes, I feel she is still a sympathetic, likable character. What really makes Angel stands out, though, is that she knows what she wants sexually. In tons of YA novels that are narrated by males, the authors don't refrain from talking about their character's sexual urges, but with female protagonists, it seems all they want to do is cuddle with their beau beneath the stars. And that's not realistic, whereas Angel is. Not to quote Rachel Berry from Glee, but "Girls want sex just as much as guys do!" Even though I don't agree with many of Angel's choices, it's refreshing to see an author that addresses the fact that teen girls have hormones, too. I just didn't understand how Angel could have so little guilt, at least initially, over sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend. Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyway), that bothered me.

Angel's family is messed up, to say the least, especially in the parental department, but I loved her brother and sister. They both have these big personalities and their antics will make you chuckle. I think character relationships, especially with the family dynamic, is what Bauman did best with this book.

Jersey Angel is, at its base, a coming-of-age novel. The problems Angel has to face are delicately woven into the plot, rather than in the reader's face, and the novel definitely has depth. I feel that if I were to reread this book, I would find that there's more to a certain scene or chapter than I saw during the first read. The only issue I had was that the ending felt a bit sudden. Maybe I expected more of a solid conclusion and shouldn't have, but it felt a bit rushed. The good aspect of this is that the loose ends are realistic- life doesn't have neatly wrapped "Once Upon a Time's" and "The End's". It's messy and there aren't always simple solutions, and Bauman captures that.

The Jersey Shore is the perfect setting for this novel. It's so easy to picture the beach and the ocean spray and this, combined with Bauman's writing style and the short page count (only 208 pages), makes Jersey Angel a great summer read.
*4 stars*
A Quote from the Book (This is from the ARC, hopefully I'll be able to check the finished copy soon): "Maybe 'piercing love' is the Hallmark version, love moron-style. Quite possibly love is much more complicated."
Do you think girls, when it comes to sexuality, are falsely depicted in YA literature?

Want to see if you'll like Jersey Angel? Check out the chapter sampler

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