Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Jessie Hearts NYC

Keris Stainton
When Jessie travels from Manchester to New York City to stay with her mother for the summer, she has her sights on exploring the city she's long been obsessed with, forgetting her ex-boyfriend, and maybe dating the star of her mother's new Broadway play. Meanwhile NYC teen Finn is in love with his best friend's girl and trying to find a way to tell his strict family that he'd rather not major in business. These two just might be the right fit, but in a city the size of New York they keep just missing each other.

It's incredibly rare that I find a book and think man, I wish this were a movie, but Jessie <3 NYC definitely made me think that. The cute story is reminiscent of great NYC love stories -- You've Got Mail and Serendipity just to name two. With romantic leads that are often in the same place at the same (or almost same) time, who bump into each other on more than one occasion, there was a sense of happenstance here that works so well on screen. Unfortunately, it's harder to make this work on the page and many things that would seem surprising or quirky in a movie fell a little flat here.

The characters, especially Jessie, are likable and often in difficult situations. While Finn's wealthy, business-obsessed family would be disappointed to learn he hates the business world, Jessie's friction with her mother is the subplot that really shines. Jessie's mother, a playwright who has recently moved to New York along with her Broadway show, Small Changes, is, to Jessie's mind, distant, self-absorbed and obsessed with her work. She cares more about her writing than her daughter.

As a writer myself, this made me uncomfortable especially as, in some ways, I saw myself in some of the things Jessie's mother did, especially when it came to getting super-involved in her fictional world. However, this uncomfortableness is one of the best parts of the book, in my opinion. Instead of getting a one-dimensional mother-daughter relationship, the reader, along with Jessie, slowly learns the complexities and realities of her mother.

I liked the setting of New York City, especially seen through the eyes of two characters with very different perspectives (one from Europe and one raised in NYC). For those who love books set in NYC, this is definitely one I'd read. And while there were a few plot points that felt anticlimactic, over all this was a cute and sweet story, but for me the relationship between Jessie and her mother - especially as the story goes on - is what really made the book.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jordyn. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful review. I'm really glad you liked it. And it's not fancy! :D