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.

    Th

    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, so well.

    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.

    TW: suicide.

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  • 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!

  • Christian

    CW: depression,

    (not really, but kind of, so tagging it for now)

    All the stars in the world, both on- and off-camera. I already want to read it again.

    Writing this review will be hard, in the way that I always find it hard to talk about the things I love m

    CW: depression,

    (not really, but kind of, so tagging it for now)

    All the stars in the world, both on- and off-camera. I already want to read it again.

    Writing this review will be hard, in the way that I always find it hard to talk about the things I love maybe too much to put it into words. I expected to love

    , but I didn't expect it to leave me speechless. It's the kind of book that's settled so deeply in my heart that trying to put my emotions into words will feel like cutting open my chest and taking the entire muscle out for a couple minutes, which sounds super ironic and Jane would laugh at me for that analogy, but that's the truth.

    So, where do I start. There's so many words I want to write down, but be aware that even if I succeed to a certain extent, there will be so much more that won't make it out of my chest and just be stuck with me forever.

    What makes this novel so unique, so "one of a kind"-fantastic and heartfelt, is the narration. It's told as if the reader is taking a look into Jane's diary, so everything feels extremely personal and close to the story. I was basically inside of Jane's head for the past three days, and while it can occasionally be a dark place, it's still one I never wanted to leave. Because, oh. My. Days. Jane Sinner is such a

    . And here it may be personal preference, but I don't think I have ever gotten to read from the perspective of a funnier character. I would need approximately three more sets of hands to be able to count how many times I full-on, explosively laughed out loud. I almost didn't even care what was gonna happen next, simply because I knew that due to Jane's voice, it would be the time of my life no matter what.

    Still, the entire story unfolded so beautifully and was constructed with so much care and such a huge eye for details. There were so many iconic scenes, which will never not be iconic, because every word was placed so perfectly and lovingly that I couldn't help but fall in love with the good, the bad, and every small thing in between. It took this one book for me to say that I will read anything Leanne Oelke writes.

    Jane is a difficult character, and that's precisely why she's so lovable and hilarious and "I want you to be my best friend"-able. I feel like me and her would get along splendidly. She's hardly ever serious, cares a bit too much about herself and a bit too little about everyone else, and she's stubborn as hell. But, as the book progresses, you get to see that a lot of that is her way of keeping herself going in times when she feels like she can't, and underneath the facade she deals with so much more than just college and being filmed 24/7. Making fun and, once or twice, taking a joke too far is her form of self-defense, and I guess some people would call that frustrating, but I could relate to it so much and, quite frankly, she's just very good at doing the humor-thing. Nonetheless, when her darker thoughts shone through and it became clear that she couldn't "joke her depression" away, each line felt so sensitive and

    in the sense that Jane gets very frustrated with herself and can't always pinpoint where those thoughts come from, and is annoyed that they seem to cloud her mind so groundlessly, which I, again, found very comprehensible.

    Aside from very much approaching more serious topics, though, the book is just plain FUN. The idea of the whole

    reality show was so entertaining and addictive to read about, and Jane's way of strategizing was so smart and brilliant. All the contestants are so weird, although they might just be from Jane's perspective, and I had a great time because the concept sounded so fabulous on paper, and it was executed splendidly.

    Other aspects I enjoyed a lot were how the book handled the conversation about religion and Jane's struggle to wrap her mind around it, which made up a bigger (but not too big) part than I had expected and normally, probably, would have liked, her friendship with Bonnie, who is bisexual (REPRESENTATION MATTERS), any scenes that had her sister Carol in them (the two of them are so wonderful together), Jane's existential angst regarding who she'll be when the show is over and when college is over and basically her fear of the future, because same, and the discussion on how, as soon as you're on TV, the public suddenly feels entitled to know everything about you and your personal life, and how Jane, as a simple girl, dealt with it.

    Really, I could go on and on. But deep down, I only have one thing to say. Well, two things. 1. I love this book with all my heart, and while I love it for being a stand-alone, I also hate it for being one because I am no good at goodbyes and don't want to let everyone go already. My entire copy is full of post-its. I'm tempted to start it again right away. And 2. please, please read this book. It deserves so much more love than I can give. Which is a lot, but still - give it some more.

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    I don't understand how there aren't more people talking about this?? It sounds like the perfect combination of serious (depression rep says Hi) and hilarious (reality tv shows in college = yes), but maybe that's just me.

  • 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!

  • may ➹

    after a week of trying and failing to read this, I’VE FINALLY FINISHED

    this book has a lot of personal meaning to me, pertaining specifically to the depression rep, and it was so so good and relatable and extremely well-written. also, Jane has a specific dry, snarky, ironic sense of humor and I LOVE IT

  • Lola

    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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  • may ❀

    would it shock anyone if i said i was 9/10 gonna dnf this before 100 pages bc i totally was

    thank goodness i didnt, this book actually surprised me with how great it was

    - THE MENTAL HEALTH REP WAS SO GOOD (i might have actually cried at some points - especially towards the end)

    - jane sinner is so sarcastically snarky, she is my spirit animal

    - so much drama, but the funny, entertaining kind, not the cliche, boring, eye rolling kind

    - i loved the reality show concept and im surprised it isn't

    would it shock anyone if i said i was 9/10 gonna dnf this before 100 pages bc i totally was

    thank goodness i didnt, this book actually surprised me with how great it was

    - THE MENTAL HEALTH REP WAS SO GOOD (i might have actually cried at some points - especially towards the end)

    - jane sinner is so sarcastically snarky, she is my spirit animal

    - so much drama, but the funny, entertaining kind, not the cliche, boring, eye rolling kind

    - i loved the reality show concept and im surprised it isn't used more in ya, its hilarious

    - THE SISTERSHIP OH MY HEART, it was so sweet :')

    - i love how its written as jane's journal, so it feels really //real// and genuine

    - the dialogue was pretty hilarious

    - i just want to grow up to be as perfectly impassive to everything like jane

    - 10/10 ship the ship

    - Canadian rep, my people are getting the recognition they deserve

    - the ending was also a perfect way to end it

    - IT WAS FUNNY ????

    - the only thing i can really complain about is that the initial 100 pages were HARD to get through and i needed some time to adjust to the journal's format

    - that's literally it

    i really liked this book

    4.5 stars!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    i hear this is funny and has mental health rep which like??? why havent i read it before then??? where did my priorities die???

    anywho,

    with

  • 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.

  • Lily ☁️

    *

    Here for the snarky, sarcastic main character, the humor, and the depression rep.

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