Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.   Jane tackles her housin...

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Title:Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author:Lianne Oelke
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Reviews

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    And it is also one of the most authentic.

    This

    And it is also one of the most authentic.

    This is a YA contemporary about Jane Sinner [obviously], a girl who drops out of high school to attend community college and gain her independence. And it is like nothing I have read before.

    One thing I appreciated about

    is just how

    it was. This book is like a blend of a heartwrenchingly relatable character study and a hilarious reality show comedy. And both succeed,

    Books about characters with mental illnesses always seem to be About Curing The Thing, and it frankly sort of bothers me. I think, frankly, I really needed a funny book about a character with depression, a character I could relate to. And beyond that, Jane’s character is so well-developed and I ended up empathizing with her so much. She isn’t feeling sad sad, she’s feeling nothing, something I hardly see in YA.

    This book is also

    . Jane’s casual sarcasm and hilarious takes on the world are

    my niche of humor, and the shenanigans of a reality show are fun to see as well.

    Listen, I don’t really have a good explanation for how hard I related to this book. All you need to know is

    and will definitely be looking for more by this author.

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    (also, I know I’m saying this repeatedly at this point but I am STICKING to my damn tbr, we’re a whole eight days in and I’ve only read books from my list and audiobooks I’m so awesome wow?)

  • Emma Giordano

    Shout out to HMHTeen for letting me read this one so early!

    I REEEAAAALLLLYYYY loved this book!! I feel like we don't get much YA in a college setting, so it was nice to be able to relate to a YA character with my current circumstances as opposed to referring to my past.

    Trigger warning for talk of depression and suicide. These topics are not huge components of the story nor is it a main focus or what I would consider specifically a "mental health novel" but it deserves being said!

    Also, I would n

    Shout out to HMHTeen for letting me read this one so early!

    I REEEAAAALLLLYYYY loved this book!! I feel like we don't get much YA in a college setting, so it was nice to be able to relate to a YA character with my current circumstances as opposed to referring to my past.

    Trigger warning for talk of depression and suicide. These topics are not huge components of the story nor is it a main focus or what I would consider specifically a "mental health novel" but it deserves being said!

    Also, I would not consider this a "content warning" but this book does contain criticism of the Christian faith and as I know some of my followers are devout Christians, these discussions may upset you. On the other hand, you may be interested to see someone else's viewpoint, so it's your call!

    Firstly,

    Dry humor is seriously lacking in YA and Jane was the breath of fresh air I needed. She has this nihilistic sense of humor you can't help but laugh at. The comedic value of this book is seriously such a strong point of this novel and I would honestly recommend it for this sole factor.

    I have not read a "journal format" novel in a while, so I was a little weary at first as I did not want to miss any of the story. Ultimately, I feel Jane's diary-narrative was well-executed. Characters still felt complete, scenes felt as if they were happening in real time as opposed to being recounted, and it ended up being a fun reading experience.

    As someone who spent a part of their adolescence extremely involved with Christianity and who also left the church as a personal decision, I could really relate to Jane's experience of losing her faith and wanting to distancd herself from her strictly religious family. I've read a handful of books with protagonists who identify as Christians, but I haven't read one (until now) that captures what it is like to leave your church; The constant questioning of previous vs. present values, the unfortunate distance between friends still involved in the church, feeling like "an outsider" to your loved ones, all the conflict I experienced with my faith was reflected in Jane's story and it was really comforting to know I was not alone in this time.

    I think the story line of "House of Orange" was well done! The challenges were exciting, the interactions between housemates kept me enticed, and it was overall a really unique addition to the story of a freshman college student. I will say, I did wish there were more challenges/exciting moments like the challenges because I felt day to day dialogue and normal interactions took up the bulk of the story.

    I also really loved that Jane is a psychology student - As a psych student myself, this is never something I get to relate to in YA books so I was IMMENSELY pleased. Jane takes up a little conditioning experiment through the novel and it was unbelievably funny to watch unfold. Like House of Orange, I do wish this was a bit expanded on. I was craving for more psych-related content and I feel it could have been implemented so well in a setting full of opposing personalities, but this aspect was also somewhat overtaken by less-interesting interactions between housemates.

    Overall, I REALLY loved this book. It does not hit shelves until January of 2018, but it is absolutely worth putting on your TBRs now and building excitement for. If you're looking for a YA novel that deals with more mature topics, feels a bit more polished and structured than other contemporaries out there, I'd really really recommend

    . I can't wait for you all to love it as much as I have!

  • Xavier (CharlesXplosion)

    Nice Try, Jane Sinner is pure bliss. Full of memorable character and beautiful engaging/humorous writing makes this novel a true gem. If you are looking for college-centric YA, then this is the novel for you. Oelke realistically shows the transition and change one goes through in college. There are very frankly/tactfully handled discussions on suicide, therapy, mental illness, and religion that are just so beautiful and insightful.

    I love this novel with all my heart, and I know you will too. Do

    Nice Try, Jane Sinner is pure bliss. Full of memorable character and beautiful engaging/humorous writing makes this novel a true gem. If you are looking for college-centric YA, then this is the novel for you. Oelke realistically shows the transition and change one goes through in college. There are very frankly/tactfully handled discussions on suicide, therapy, mental illness, and religion that are just so beautiful and insightful.

    I love this novel with all my heart, and I know you will too. Do yourself a favor and start your 2018 on a high note with this gem of a novel that stole my heart.

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    I went into this book expecting a story about a Survivor/Big Brother-style game show, but what I got was a story about growing up, mental health, healing, forgiving yourself, and learning to live with the consequences of your actions.

    I went into this book expecting a story about a Survivor/Big Brother-style game show, but what I got was a story about growing up, mental health, healing, forgiving yourself, and learning to live with the consequences of your actions.

    Despite being

    flawed – or, perhaps,

    of her flaws – Jane Sinner is one of the most unique narrators I’ve seen in the YA contemporary genre in a really long time. Let me say, despite the topics of much of this book being incredibly heavy, Jane’s sense of self-deprecating, nihilistic humor makes it hilarious. I mean, between how much it made me laugh, and how much I related to, well… Jane’s entire outlook on life, basically – I would be friends with Jane Sinner in a heartbeat, if she were a real person and in my own life. (Plus, honestly, I would never get tired of her ridiculously misused idioms.)

    One of my favorite things about her sense of humor was actually something I usually

    like in books: her pop culture references. While a lot of books overuse and over-explain references, or use references that don’t even fit the character’s lifespan’s time frame, Oelke peppers them in seldom enough to keep them fresh, and each one actually seemed like a reference that an older teen today could use (like The Hunger Games, or The Big Lebowski).

    We get to see a lot of Jane’s frustrations and confusion that came along with the realization that, despite being raised in church by a religious family, she no longer believed in God. I am fully supportive of anyone’s views and lifestyles, so long as they aren’t harming another individual, but I was raised in church, too, and just like Jane, I woke up one day as a teen and realized that church wasn’t the place for me anymore – and I couldn’t keep serving a deity I didn’t believe in.

    I went through the same anxiety-inducing struggles of coming to terms with my new lack of a belief system. When you’re raised in an incredibly religious home, it becomes part of your identity – and leaving it behind can feel like losing a big piece of yourself, for better or for worse. I was stunned by how well Jane explained it, without ever insulting religion or faith itself. Instead, we see that Jane regrets her own religion-inspired decisions of her past, such as a delayed acceptance of her best friend’s bisexuality because of a belief that it’s immoral. I can relate to that, too, and I loved seeing this side of the debate presented in a story.

    Continuing on with the theme of how downright

    Jane is, she suffers from depression, and is still mentally healing from attempting suicide several months prior. If discussions of suicidal ideation trigger you,

    while reading both this review and the book, because Jane’s take on it feels so authentic and real. There is even a moment taken to discuss how, sometimes, suicidal ideation isn’t wanting to die, it’s just wanting to cease existing – to rest, for a while. There’s also a little bit of discussion on mental health medications, as well as the ever common self-analyzation habit that so many individuals suffering from mental illness have. Jane’s introspection is a reminder that it’s easy to know what we

    to do for self-care, while still not having the energy or willpower to

    it.

    This aspect of the book was a mixed bag for me: mostly positive, but a little negative in some aspects, too. My favorite aspect of Jane’s friends and family was her little sister, Carol, who is so sweet and genuine. I loved their interactions, and how much she meant to Jane. While Jane’s parents were distant and a bit callous, her sister was fully supportive of her, and my only frustrations with Jane’s character came from how she held Carol so distant at times (though, we do see major character development in this space!).

    We also had a bit of diverse representation in two of Jane’s friends: Bonnie, her best friend, is bisexual and proud, but sadly a little stunted in development. She never felt like a particularly complex character to me, and I would have liked to have spent a little more time with her, as well as seeing more consistent behavior from her. The other major diversity represented came in the form of Robbie, Jane’s housemate, friend, and minor love interest: he’s Indian, and while we don’t get to see much of that explored, we do learn quite a bit about the fact that he is terrified of germs and dirt, and is trying desperately to overcome it. His character felt a little bit questionable to me at times, but I appreciated a lot of what he brought to the story, as well as the fact that the romantic aspect was

    under-played and almost nonexistent.

    All in all, I thought

    was a really fun, quick read. I loved the journal entry formatting of the story, and I enjoyed Jane’s narrative tremendously. I thought it shined a light on a lot of things that people don’t like to talk about in YA, like suicide and attempts, depression, and the effects (negative or positive) that Christianity can have on a child or teen. All in all, I would highly recommend this book, and will definitely be picking up Lianne’s next release!

  • Romie

    Look at me, reading the books I buy just a few weeks after I bought them! I deserve a pat on the shoulder. Someone wants to give me a high five?

    Okay, let's be serious for one second. I think I really have to start reading reviews of the books I buy just so I can be mentally prepared, because, honestly? I wasn't prepared for half the things that happened in this book.

    Jane is a 17-year-old high school student who tried to commit suicide a

    Look at me, reading the books I buy just a few weeks after I bought them! I deserve a pat on the shoulder. Someone wants to give me a high five?

    Okay, let's be serious for one second. I think I really have to start reading reviews of the books I buy just so I can be mentally prepared, because, honestly? I wasn't prepared for half the things that happened in this book.

    Jane is a 17-year-old high school student who tried to commit suicide at the beginning of the year, and because she skipped a few classes and refused to keep on seeing a therapist, was kicked out of school. Her only way to graduate is to go to community college and earn some credits. Because she doesn't want to live with her very religious parents anymore, she decides to be part of

    , a reality tv show created by one of the students. The price? A car and a 5 thousand dollars scholarship. The downsides? Well, living with 5 strangers and being filmed 24/7.

    I didn't know this book was about depression when I started it, I also didn't know Jane had tried to commit suicide because — and this is where I'm not happy with the book — Jane's failed attempt at killing herself is used as a plot device. That didn't sit well with me. Sure, it's sad when halfway through the book you learn about this, but the thing is, we shouldn't have to learn about this in the middle of the book when so much of Jane's story revolves around this. For the first half it's referred to as ‘the Event’ and I think we could have learnt right away about her attempt at committing suicide, I even think it should have been in the synopsis because this isn't something everybody would be comfortable reading about. It's a very important subject, and I wish it would have been handled better. I just felt like people were shaming Jane for this, they said she was only seeking attention, that she ruined their senior year and I wish someone would have called them out.

    But let's move on! Jane is a VERY funny character. She uses her humour and sarcasm as an armour. She's clinically depressed and her depression was extremely relatable! At times it was hard for me to read because it hit so close to home, but gosh was it written so well! Jane is trying to move on, trying to leave her past behind because a lot of people are shaming her for this, even people she considered as her friends. She's this character you both want to roll your eyes at and laugh with. By trying to protect herself with her sarcasm and humour, she pushes people away from her, she creates this cold hearted persona and instead of helping her, it keeps her down. Her main struggle throughout this book was how to please both the people she loves and herself, how to live her life without forgetting the people who always supported her.

    I liked the way this book was written as diary entries, I really felt like I was seeing the world through Jane's eyes and it made it so much easier to identify with her! I think what I loved the most about reading her diary was reading her made-up therapy sessions. They were simply hilarious!

    This book is about someone trying to reinvent herself after something terrible happened to her, after people turned their back on her, after she decided she couldn't live to please people anymore. It's a beautiful book, it made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me want to hug Jane but also to kick her ass. Also did I mention that this book takes place in Canada? I was so please for some reasons that it wasn't taking place in the US. It was a good change! Oh and Jane's best friend is bisexual + has a girlfriend, Jane's closest friend in the House was born of two Indian immigrants, and one of Jane's friend and her brother — whom created the show — are Korean-Canadian. These are just mentioned throughout the book, but it was still nice to get this casual diversity.

    Overall I really enjoyed

    . It's a funny book about depression which trust me is hard to get. It's a book you can hardly put down because of easily you get invested in the story.

    Trigger warnings: suicide attempt — suicidal thoughts — clinical depression — some parts of Jane's diary are stolen from her and put on the internet

    4.25

  • Tatiana

    Super fun!

    I am not sure that a reality tv show made by and with college students (and one underage high school dropout) and streamed on local tv is entirely believable, but this is a YA import from Canada, so maybe anything goes there? The impression I’ve got so far from Canadian YA (mainly Susan Juby’s work) is that people there are much more laid back about teen drinking and dating grown men. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Either way, fresh plot and characters. Fun!

  • Lola  Reviewer

    Reality show on paper?

    Been there, read that.

    was awful and I dare say unreadable, so why even bother with this one?

    Well, if I learned something these past few years of reading actively, it’s that you can’t let one book ruin a genre, topic, character type or even writing style for you.

    This has one of the most original contemporary premises I’ve heard of lately: Jane Sinner gets expelled from high school for unknown reasons and decides to become a participant of a reality show

    Reality show on paper?

    Been there, read that.

    was awful and I dare say unreadable, so why even bother with this one?

    Well, if I learned something these past few years of reading actively, it’s that you can’t let one book ruin a genre, topic, character type or even writing style for you.

    This has one of the most original contemporary premises I’ve heard of lately: Jane Sinner gets expelled from high school for unknown reasons and decides to become a participant of a reality show run by a student at her new community college.

    Jane Sinner is a college student. I’ve given up on finding YA novels with main characters at college. I don’t mind high school settings, even if I’m at university now, but I sure appreciate being able to read about a heroine who understands what I’m going through.

    But of course, the reality show is the main aspect of this book, since JS has to live inside a house with other people and cameras everywhere. If anything, House of Orange makes this contemporary book even more realistic.

    It pushes Jane to crawl out of her shell and try new experiences. The competitions are taken seriously by both Jane and the reader themselves. Although some are silly, Jane’s desire to win makes them look important. She doesn’t always admit it, but she cares.

    Characters with dry humor, often making sarcastic comments, are a hit or miss for me. They have to not overdo it and make remarks that are amusing and/or clever to pull me in. Jane Sinner manages that perfectly.

    As with all existing reality shows, do expect drama… the obsessively fun kind.

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  • Brooke

    4.5 stars for this stellar debut!

    I LOVED this. I can't remember the last time I literally laughed more than a couple times in a fiction novel, let alone a YA one. Jane's voice pounds off the pages, creating a MC that you want to root for. While the concept of reality show contestants isn't new, what really stands out here is the fully fleshed being of Ms. Sinner & all she has to lose as she is faced with the brink of adulthood & the possibility of not getting a high school degree (or sec

    4.5 stars for this stellar debut!

    I LOVED this. I can't remember the last time I literally laughed more than a couple times in a fiction novel, let alone a YA one. Jane's voice pounds off the pages, creating a MC that you want to root for. While the concept of reality show contestants isn't new, what really stands out here is the fully fleshed being of Ms. Sinner & all she has to lose as she is faced with the brink of adulthood & the possibility of not getting a high school degree (or second chance) after all. Oelke did a wonderful job & I am in awe with how she pulled it off- especially considering this is a debut!

    While the majority of the book deals with Jane's "House of Orange" woes, there's also themes of beginning to question what you have been brought up with (religion wise), the scary reality of trying to begin a life of your own, & how a person is always more than one thing. The relationship between Jane & her sister Carol was sweet & I thought the family aspect was well done. I appreciated the screenplay text format; it gave the book more authentic vibes & completely immersed me into the storyline. There's some discussion regarding a suicide attempt & depression; I could resonate so much when Jane expressed that she's felt indifferent about her life. That gray area of mental health is crucial to see in a YA novel.

    Also: when are we going to get even more contemporaries set in college? There aren't enough of them.

    I didn't rate this a 5 because it did feel too long. There could have been a good 75 pages or more cut down. I wasn't crazy on the "romance" either; it could have been a strictly platonic relationship, because why does there always have to be so many feelings?

    All in all, I was entertained the entire time I was reading this, which is more than I can say for 85% of the books I consume in a year. Lianne Oelke is an author to watch. Highly recommended!

  • alice (arctic books)

    You can find this review and others at

    3.5 stars. Trigger warnings for mentions of suicide (attempt)

    NICE TRY, JANE SINNER is not a book I’ve heard much about, but I was nonetheless very intrigued by the synopsis as it covered some topics that I rarely, if ever, see in young adult literature. This novel follows Jane Sinner as she starts community college and decides to be a contestant on House of Orange, a reality television show to compete with other teenagers.

    My absolute favorite as

    You can find this review and others at

    3.5 stars. Trigger warnings for mentions of suicide (attempt)

    NICE TRY, JANE SINNER is not a book I’ve heard much about, but I was nonetheless very intrigued by the synopsis as it covered some topics that I rarely, if ever, see in young adult literature. This novel follows Jane Sinner as she starts community college and decides to be a contestant on House of Orange, a reality television show to compete with other teenagers.

    My absolute favorite aspect of this novel was the writing – it reads like The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, which was undoubtedly one of my favorite series when I first delved into YA. If you like sarcastic and humorous (think April Ludgate funny) main characters, I think you’ll definitely connect with Jane Sinner. I found that Jane’s character definitely grew a lot from the beginning of the novel, and she has a personality that really makes you root for her.

    I found this novel to reflect such a supportive and caring family that Jane had – Jane recently was expelled out of college, but she still has a relatively good relationship with her family. Jane’s experiences are something that we don’t really see much of in YA, but I like this fresh, new perspective on aspects that can be very life-changing for people. It was funny and original, yet also dealt with topics like suicide and therapy. My only reservation is that I felt like the middle of the novel dragged a bit, but the beginning and the ending wraps up the novel quite nicely.

    Overall, NICE TRY, JANE SINNER is a wonderful debut by Lianne Oelke, and I’m very excited to continue looking into her future works. If you like reality television, relatable characters, and a funny, unforgettable read, be sure to check this one out!

    Thank you to HMH for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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