Summary: After a personal crisis and getting kicked out of high school, seventeen-year Jane Sinner is going nowhere fast. When her parents push her to enroll in a high school completion program at the local community college, Jane agrees on one condition: she gets to move out.. and star on her college’s student-run reality show, House of Orange. Living in a Big Brother-esque set up with five other college students isn’t easy, but it’s better than living with her family, and winning the car at the end would be pretty nice. As House of Orange grows from a low budget web series to a TV show, Jane finally has the chance to prove that, with her cynical nature and tricks from her Intro to Psych course , she can win something.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Lianne Oelke’s Nice Try, Jane Sinner had me not only for its reality TV synopsis (this blogger loves her wedding and family drama reality shows), but the fact that it’s college YA! Having not read college YA since this summer (I think my last YA book set in college was Mary H.K. Choi’s Emergency Contact), I was ready to jump back into a world with some more mature situations and settings.
While Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a funny and heartfelt read, it does delve into heavier topics, such as depression and suicide. The book also provides discussion on religion, as Jane’s devout Christian family doesn’t see eye to eye with some of Jane’s doubts. Lianne Oelke handled these topics really well because she doesn’t dive into these discussions until the reader gets to know Jane’s character. It made me feel all the more heartbroken for Jane, and it explained some of her choices and personality earlier in the book. Jane is definitely cynical, but she’s cunning, smart and funny! I loved her pop culture references- yes I know exactly the one episode of Glee that made her cry.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner is told through Jane’s journal entries and the characters’ dialogue in script form. While I didn’t fly through as fast as I usually do—I think it had something to do with the dialogue written like a script-, I liked that this book was a bit slow burn because we got to know the characters more. I know I’ve been hinting at it so far, but Nice Try, Jane Sinner’s character development was super spot on. Many characters show different sides of themselves throughout the book, making them all the more complex and making the reader work to figure out everyone’s intentions.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner is the type of book that you leave only wishing for Jane. Between House of Orange’s antics and Jane’s personal life, she goes on some crazy adventures, including prank wars, trying to eat twenty chicken nuggets in twenty minutes, and most importantly, figuring out where she belongs in this world. If I had to categorize Nice, Try Jane Sinner, in one more adjective, it would have to be self-discovery.
Between its mental health rep, reality TV show set up, and college YA, I just genuinely liked Nice Try, Jane Sinner’s uniqueness. It’s not a story that been done before in YA. I looking forward to what Lianne Oelke has in store.
Have you read Nice Try, Jane Sinner? What are your favorite reality TV shows? Share in the comments!