This is Not the Jess Show | Anna Carey


This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

Quirk Books; Releasing February 2, 2021; 304 pages

Content Warnings: Terminal illness, strong language, death of a loved one, underage drinking, gun violence, filming minors without consent, blood

About the Author: “Anna Carey is the author of This is Not The Jess Show, out February 2, 2021. She’s also the author of The Eve Trilogy (Eve, Once, Rise) and the Blackbird series (Blackbird, Deadfall). Her books have been translated into twelve languages. She went to NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College, where she was the recipient of the Himan Brown award. She likes miniatures, subway generated wind, flea markets, chalkboard silhouettes, dance-offs, arnold palmers, and top-of-your-lungs car singing. She dislikes pennies, paper receipts, and tunafish.” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)


Instagram: @annacareybooks

Twitter: @annacareybooks

“The thought of what was beyond the wall, beyond this…a life without so many limitations and rules and expectations. A life that was free of my parents and their lies. It wasn’t a choice now—I couldn’t stay caged.”

The year is 1998…or so Jess Flynn believes. With a new crush on her childhood best friend, her sister’s worsening health, and overprotective parents, Jess is just trying to make it through junior year of high school with as little drama as possible. But her small town of Swickley is getting weirder by the day. An odd flu has taken out half of the population. Jess wakes up to a strange chanting that no one else seems to hear. A small, black device with an apple logo on it falls out of her best friend’s backpack, and Jess’s friends refuse to talk about it. Enough is enough, and Jess is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. But when she discovers the truth, she must choose between risking everything to break free or staying safe in her gilded cage.

Gripping and full of twists and turns, Anna Carey’s YA retelling of The Truman Show kept me reading until the early hours of the morning. Jess is a wonderful heroine with a fantastic voice. I enjoyed following along as she discovered the truth about her life, and even though she struggled making choices along the way, her decisions felt realistic for a teenager. The other characters were strong as well, and I appreciated the surprising romantic developments, especially towards the end. The first half of the book is full of fun 90’s references, and the second half really pushes readers to consider the ramifications of how technology can affect others. How far would you go for fame and fortune? With excellent pacing and an intriguing ending, this book is perfect for fans of YA thrillers.

This is Not the Jess Show releases on February 2, 2021.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change.)

PRR Writer, Wendy Waltrip