Saturday, May 05, 2012

Review: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

Title: Jersey Angel

Author: Beth Ann Bauman
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Release date: May 8th 2012
Pages: 224
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley
It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork.

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

I hate writing negative reviews. Hate, hate, hate. And giving a book only one star... I haven't done that in a while. I feel so mean! But Jersey Angel annoyed me to no end, and I have no choice but to give it a bad review.

The reason I didn't like Jersey Angel is Angel. She is not a likeable character. At all. She's full of herself, doesn't do anything and blames everyone around her if her life isn't perfect, and sleeps with every guy she meets. She hooks up with her best friend's boyfriend - and it's not a one-time-thing; they hook up all the time. A cheating-storyline can be good if it's realistic and there's a lot of sexual tension; the best friend and the boyfriend hold back until they can't resist each other anymore, or something like that, but that's not the case in Jersey Angel. They hang out once and immediately sleep together, and then they're just hooking up all the time. Angel doesn't feel the least bit guilty about it. Once - once - she thinks about what she's doing might be wrong, and she imagines herself and Inggy as eighty-year-olds, how she might tell her she slept with her boyfriend and how Inggy wouldn't be mad because friendship is what's most important. Um, what? How does that make any sense? Angel has no morals, no qualms about sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend - or anybody's boyfriend - and, God, she just made me so angry!

Then there's the way sex is addressed. I don't want to sound like a prude, and it's not like a mind sex scenes in books - I mean, it's a normal part of life - but there is just way too much sex in Jersey Angel. It's basically all about sex! Seriously, more than half of the scenes are descriptions of Angel hooking up with various guys. How can that be the main plotline? Just... ugh.

Angel isn't the only character who is totally focused on sex and whom I didn't like - there's Cork, Inggy's boyfriend who sleeps with Angel and is a total ass; Angel's mom, who, instead of getting a job, also sleeps with whatever man she can find and, get this, makes out with Cork, a guy less than half her age who also happens to be her daughter's best friend's boyfriend; Angel's little siblings, who, even though they're only eight and ten, are somehow also all about sex; Joey's new girlfriend, who is basically just as bad as Angel; and the list goes on. I didn't like any of the characters.

Really, that's all I have to say about this book. The obnoxious main character and the complete focus on all things sexual made me feel icky and just... wrong. I wanted to stop reading several times but made myself finish the book so I could write my review. I do not recommend Jersey Angel.


  1. Oh goodness, Hannah. I'm sorry for that. I also hate it when I give books a low rating. But reading your review, I know where you're coming from. It must be irritating to know such a character huh? It's a shame since the synopsis sounds fine for me. But it will be a real weird if the sexual content is too much especially to say that this is YA. Hmm. You didn't like the book because of the characters right? But what about the writing? I mean, didn't it make you like it even for a bit? Anyway, I still believe that it's really important for the reader to feel the characters, either love them or hate them.

  2. I don't really know, I think the writing was okay... but for me, connecting with characters is really important, so if I absolutely hate the MC, I probably won't like the book - doesn't mean someone else won't, so if you don't mind a not-likable character, maybe it'll work for you.

  3. I believe that's the most important thing in reading a book. I don't like it either when I don't feel the MC. What's the point of reading right? But yeah, when I feel I wanted to hate someone, I'll read this! Haha!

  4. Ha! Sure, if you're in the mood to get angry, this is the perfect book :p

  5. I'll definitely remember that! Haha! Thanks, Hannah. :)

  6. I'm sorry you didn't like this more//:

  7. It's awful you hated this book so much! And the blurb doesn't sound to bad, doesn't portray Angel as such a horrible person. It's terrible when you don't connect or at least understand a character. I get it that some characters aren't likable, but at least you get why they're acting the way they're acting, even if you disagree with them.

    Is there some sort of trauma or other event that causes Angel to act like this with her best friend? I mean, is there some sort of reason for it, or some sort of redeeming quality by the end of the book?

    I know what you mean by cheating being explained somehow and having resisted the urge to be with someone who the character shouldn't be with. I agree with you, there should be some effort to withstand any kind of attraction at first. And I think there should be another reason other than physical attraction that makes two people act on their feelings at someone else's expense. For example, if they get along really well as people, if they love each other beyond the physical attraction, or if they're really good friends.

    Otherwise, you can't excuse the behavior or even understand it. 

  8. Hey! I just found you via twitter :) We're now following your blog!

    And you are not the only one to dislike this book, I've seen so many 1-2 star reviews, what a shame because it sounds like it could have been so much more!

  9. Yikes, I almost added this to my goodreads list, but had a change of thought after reading your review.  I also hate giving books a low star, but I'm SO glad for honest reviews like yours!  After hearing a little more about the book, it doesn't seem like a story I would enjoy as much as others and I'm glad I'm not going to end up wasting time reading it when there are books out there with better content/story lines.  Thanks again for your honest thoughts!

  10. Angel's sort-of boyfriend (well, more like friend with benefit) breaks up with her at the beginning of the book - does that count as traumatic? :p Honestly, no, there was no redeeming quality in Angel's character, for me, not even at the end. And it's not like the description makes it out to be, like Angel's best friend is gone and she's feeling lonely and so is the best friend's boyfriend, and that's why it happens, or anything like that. The best friend is gone for a few days, and Angel sees her boyfriend and they just hook up - there's nothing emotional between them or anything, they just decide to have sex. I really, really did not like Angel, and I couldn't understand her behavior, no. Sorry - this book just pissed me off :p

  11. I can understand why! I thought maybe Angel was a victim of domestic violence by her dad or some other guy and she was lashing out by having destructive relationships with inappropriate guys.

    In The Sky Is Everywhere Lennie gets involved with Toby which isn't the healthiest thing to do, but her sister's dead and it was done out of grief and I don't think she had any real feelings for Toby, it was just a coping mechanism to feel closer to (or more like?) her sister. Maybe out of jealousy as well? She never intended to hurt Joe and she grows so much by the end of the novel.

    I find that if a characters starts out awful (not that Lennie did! I love Lennie!) but in other stories the characters start out being so self-destructive and awful to others but over the course of the story they grow, heal, apologize. Something. 

    It's too bad Angel wasn't that kind of character. Maybe it would have given her attitude and behavior some meaning or a starting point for her growth.

  12. I loved Lennie from The Sky Is Everywhere - she makes some stupid decisions, but she's definitely a lovable character. But, yeah, Angel... isn't :p I couldn't really see any character growth in Jersey Angel.

  13. Eek, sorry this one was so bad for you! I don't really think I've seen many positive reviews of it so far. I thought it was okay, personally, but pretty forgettable. I liked that it was bolder than other books about sexuality and I actually kind of liked Angel but there was basically no plot or depth! 

  14. Another character I didn't like at first but then loved was Jen in Geek Girl. She did silly things but her background excused that and by the end of the book her character development was tremendous!

  15. I haven't heard of that book before - I'll have to look it up! :)

  16. 1 out of 5???? *cringe* The only book I ever rated one star was Wintergirls by Laura something something. What a disappointment, honestly this one had so much promise, the beautiful cover, the appealing blurb!!! Thanks for the honest though, you've saved my wallet :)

  17. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson? Actually really liked that one. But I don't like giving 1-star ratings, either - I think I've given 5 altogether. But I didn't find any redeeming quality in this book, for me, so...


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