Hi kids, today, as a part of Nori’s Sunday Street Team, I’m thrilled to be talking about This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup!
I’ve been dying to get to read this book for the past couple of months and was so happy to find that is was definitely worth the wait! And it hits shelves tomorrow, so you don’t have to wait! So let’s start off with the details and the review and we’ve got a giveaway!
Title: This Ordinary Life
Author: Jennifer Walkup
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication: Luminus Books, Oct 26, 2015
High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.
That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.
Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.
Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health–not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.
I’m pretty straightforward about my preferences in YA contemps. It has to be about more than just the romance.I feel like it’s just such a missed opportunity when there are so many contemporary issues out there that teens are dealing with to throw a book at them that completely ignores the real world they are living in.
Thankfully, This Ordinary Life is not one of those books, and I loved it for that. But I loved it even more for the way it did it. It managed to tackle some pretty big issues like epilepsy and being the primary caregiver or the child of an alcoholic. It dealt with fears, and abandonment issues, and yet, I had a big goofy grin on my face through most of this book. And it wasn’t because the issues were being ignored. They weren’t. They were horrible and heart breaking and there, day in and day out, but like our main character Jasmine, the author guided us towards seeing them through a lens of humor, determination, acceptance and finally hope.
It didn’t hurt that Wes and Jasmine’s relationship in the book was so freakin’ adorable. I said it has to be about more than the romance, not that the romance doesn’t factor. And watching the two of them fall adorkably, tentatively, head first for one another was definitely a huge bonus factor with this book. And accounted for many of the aforementioned goofy grins.
But Jasmine’s relationship with her brother Danny and her definitely dysfunctional mom really stole the show. Danny’s epilepsy consumes Jasmine’s life and since Mom has pretty much checked out, she’s the one left to deal, with it all. It’s not fair. The bond the two siblings share is really such a beautiful thing to see. But when all Jasmine really wants is a shot at an internship with a radio station in nearby NYC, it’s frustrating to see her giving up so much, all the time, even if it is for someone she loves. It’s a frustrating situation, and one with no easy answers.
But Walkup manages to weave humor and sunshine into the tears and confusion and not only does she give us a heroine worth rooting for from page one, but she gives us a really interesting story that breaks from the mold of YA contemps and tugs at your heartstrings in all different directions. It’s a good thing. It expands them.
I absolutely recommend this book for fans of YA contemp and anyone looking for a good story about love, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and the immutable bonds of family.
Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel.
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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the review. Have any of you read This Ordinary Life yet? What did you think? Anyone have this book on your TBR? Feel free to leave links to reviews below! Later lovelies!