Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for offering me the chance to read the ARC of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, by Lianne Oelke. I was sorry when I was unable to open this book on my Kindle app. I will look forward to reading this book from my school library. I look forward to seeing how Jane survives living in a residence which will be part of a reality show. Will Jane get along with other people and learn to be part of community or will she continue leaving a lock on her personal fridge to keep them out?!
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4.5 stars, but rounding down for reasons. I was very tempted to give this a straight 5 just because I loved Jane so much, but the thinness of the secondary characters brought it down. 

This is such a delightfully unusual book. It manages to tackle crises of faith, teenage angst and romance, existential dread, suicidal ideation, siblinghood, and reality TV AND pull it all off. As I mentioned, Jane is the best part of the book: she reads like a real teenage girl chafing against her parents' desires, her own loss of faith and subsequent depression, her relationship with her sister and best friends. Jane spends the book trying to start over, but she doesn't know who she wants to be when she starts over. It's deeply affecting and is really very funny. I laughed out loud a couple of times, especially during the descriptions of the challenges. 

The book's big downfall is that most of the background characters feel like background characters. They spell out their motivations and big personality traits; they are no where near as nuanced as Jane and many of them are, frankly, not interesting. 

Still, this was an incredibly enjoyable read.
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This is a funny, authentic portrayl of depression in a book. I loved it. The premise of the story is intriguing and the story itself does not let it down. I love that this was set in college because there needs to be more and better books set in community college, and this book is that. I loved this story and related so much to Jane.
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Terrific story of a spunky girl! I really liked Janes personality, her drive and her will to succeed. I love that nothing was watered down or simplified. The descriptions of living with and dealing with deprecate accurately portrayed and added much to the novel. Highly recommended!
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Before I get into my review, I want to share a cool thing that happened. For some reason my NetGalley ARC of Nice Try, Jane Sinner wouldn't download. I checked to see if the book was available to borrow through my Overdrive app, but it wasn't! There was an option to recommend they buy it, however, so I clicked the box. A few days later I received an email that the Ohio Digital Library purchased the book and would notify me when I could borrow it. 

Anyway, I wanted to share this experience with you because this is the first time I've received concrete evidence that a library bought a book I recommended, and I'm really happy about it!     

Now on to the review. I loved this book! Nice Try, Jane Sinner takes place in Canada, and it's always a nice change of pace when books are set outside the U.S. 

 After her expulsion from high school, Jane enrolls in community college and finds out a student-run reality show, House of Orange, is going to be filmed there. The show is still looking for participants, so she signs up while fudging a few facts about herself. She doesn't think ahead and by doing this, sets herself up for the possibility that the people around her will find out she lied about her identity. 

I did my best to read Nice Try, Jane Sinner from the POV of a teenager, but here and there my mind would drift to see Jane as I see my own teenage daughter. For instance, Jane has ultra conservative religious parents, and at first it annoyed me that she referred to them as simply "the parents," but I got over it when I remembered that's how I referred to my own parents. 

It was for Jane and her parents to have fundamental misunderstandings of each other. Her parents didn't "get" her intentions and behaviors when, as the reader, I could see where she was coming from thought I didn't always agree with her decisions. They were disappointed she wasn't doing exactly what they expected of her. I was dying to step in and mediate between her and her parents! On the other hand, she has an amazing and close relationship with her younger sister that made me happy to see.    

This is one of the best books I've read tackling teenage depression. As a former teen who suffered from depression, I could relate to Jane and was impressed by how accurately Oelke treated the subject matter. I can't recommend Nice Try, Jane Sinner enough whether you're a teen or an adult.
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One of my favorite things about this book was Jane. Her personality really came through with the writing, and honestly, I don't read too many character like her. I think she is a character who will most likely rub some people the wrong way (I know because, while I don't fully relate to her, Jane and I were on the same wavelength when it came to stubbornness, and whenever I relate to a book character like that people don't like that character). While some people might not like her, I loved her, and characters who aren't perfect just mean that there is more room for character growth, so thats something to look forward to. Enjoyable read.
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If you never thought you'd want to read a young adult novel, get a copy of this one.

This is (possibly) the most bitter-sweet, funny book with a teen protagonist I've ever read (other than the obvious suspects, like Catcher in the Rye).

When a teenager named Jane Sinner is forced out of high school by an awful event (I won't spoil that for you--it will be revealed), she finishes her studies at the local community college. Much to her chagrin.

However, to get out of her parents' hair/become more autonomous,  Jane signs up for a reality TV show called "House of Orange". As part of the deal, she lives in the House of Orange (complete with orange carpet), competing with actual college students for a big prize.

This book is not only a great read about a young woman trying to figure out her priorities, but it's also a great send-up of reality shows. It's structured like a diary, which makes you feel like you're living this bizarre story with Jane.

Trust me. Read this book now.
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Oh no!
Somehow, I missed the message that I'd been approved for this book, and now it's been archived. The book never did make it over to my Kindle. I'm sorry. It's easier with Simon and Schuster - auto-approved, so one click, and the book is there, in plain sight, ready for me to read. 

Now to see if other book requests were granted and I never got the message. :-(.
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Random piece of advice: Don’t let 2018 pass without you reading this book. For me, it’s special and it easily latched to me. I hope it will be the same for you, albeit you’ll probably have a different reading experience. Nice Try, Jane Sinner is not only entertaining, but it delivers a beautiful coming-of-age story of finding oneself through taking risks and doing things that float your boat. A must-read for anyone who has had anyone doubt their future and has doubted their own self-worth. Let’s all prove them wrong and stand up strong.
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The formatting of the book as journal entries was enjoyable.  It helped with the sense of timing.   Although the story dealt with major issues -- depression, self-discovery, and the pressures of conformity--the main characters used subtle humor and sarcasm to get through some of the tough spots.   A psych student who performs conditioning experiments on her roommates was a great touch!
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Wow, wow, wow I loved this book.

It was humorous in a dry wit/sarcasm kind of way, and I loved it. Jane Sinner is such a magically fantastic and hilarious character that it kept me reading, even when the parts were boring. 

This book has such a unique format! It's written as if it was a journal by Jane Sinner, and Jane Sinner herself is creating these little "script" play things that describe dialogue and it's just such an interesting format that it kept me reading. It really also helped me to distinguish who the character were, and I feel like since it was in a script format Lianne was able to pull off such a witty description of each character by mere dialogue.

I loved this book.
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This book is fantastic. It's rare to see YA based in college settings but I really enjoyed how this was portrayed. Also the dry witty humour was brilliant and really helped alleviate some of the darker topics addressed.
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An interesting take on the unlikable female heroine in a YA world.
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I didn't expect to enjoy this book that much. Between Jane's cynical personality and the improbable situations she finds herself into due to House of Orange, this book is a light, fun read, with a nice side of feelings Jane would be so annoyed at. I had a hard time putting it down each time I had to get back to the real world. Definitely a great read.
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Most of the focus of the story is the reality show.  High school dropout enrolls in community college to finish her credits, lies about her age to get herself on a Big Brother reality TV show in order to move out of her parents' place, all so she can reinvent herself.
I really liked the journal style format, easy to read.  I really loved how Jane’s depression was represented in the story, Jane really starts to question her beliefs and that changes her entire outlook on life.  I like that we get to see Jane’s own process of recovery.  
Nice Try, Jane Sinner was a good book.  The book explores very difficult topics such as family and friend relationships, suicide, mental illness and faith in a respectful way.
I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.  I would definitely recommend.
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HILARIOUS. Nice Try, Jane Sinner is hands down one of the funniest YA books I've ever read. Just imagine a YA version of the Big Brother reality TV show, but on a smaller scale and more of a chaotic mess. It is told through Jane Sinner's journal entries (which didn't feel like reading a journal at all) as she navigates the dingy halls and cameras of the House of Orange!

What I Liked:

I'm not usually a fan of books told in diary format (they are usually more miss than hit for me) but author Lianne Oelke did an explendid job with Jane Sinner's written thoughts! It truly felt as if we were there with Jane Sinner, going through all the horrific (but laugh-out-loud) events that take place inside the HOO.

This House of Orange reality TV show project run by community college students is the craziest thing to exist and most of the time I didn't know whether to feel amused, disgusted, stressed, or plain old shocked by the audacity of every contestant. Jane Sinner, a High School senior recently expelled, signs up to live with five other community college students for a chance to win a USED car, and they have to withstand survival-type games, free-for-all Friday fridge days, passive-agressive dish washing notes, and so on.

The purpose of the House of Orange show is certainly ridiculous, but all of the characters are in it for a reason, making the very idea of having to spend weeks with strangers well worth the effort. They even have voting ceremonies and kick out the least popular contestant until the last one is left standing! So. Many. Fun. Times.

Wow, I feel like gushing and even now I'm chuckling as I go through pages of this precious book. It is good for the heart as it lifts it with its unusual yet lovable characters and humorous happenings, but it's also a heartfelt story of a girl trying to move on from an almost catastrophic decision and wanting to, somehow, rebuild her life back up again. Even of it's at the House of Orange.

Final Verdict:

You haven't laughed for real if you have yet to meet Jane Sinner (existential angst at its purest form) and experienced the House of Orange. Read it, choke on laughter, and then join the rest of us Sinners and Hamburglars by yelling Nugz! Nugz! Nugz!
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17 year old Jane Sinner should be enjoying her senior year of high school, but a traumatic incident has her constantly looking over her shoulder and second guessing the furtive glances of her classmates making it impossible for her to emotionally face their suppositions. Thus begins Nice Try, Jane Sinner where the author, Leanne Oelke, provides an interesting option for a main character suffering with depression and other mental health issues. Constantly skipping school, however, is not one of the acceptable choices, so by mutual agreement an alternative is suggested - a special program at the local community college where she can finish up high school and even take some college classes. Jane's parents are so desperate to restore some normalcy to their daughter's life that they agree to her demands of moving out and rooming with a friend near the campus. Little do they know that the place Jane chooses to live (sans said friend) is The House of Orange which is a Big Brother style set up filmed for the Internet with a used car as a prize for the last man standing. 

Jane doesn't have to worry about her past while attending class at Elbow River Community College, so she can relax and focus on her goal of "winning" the prize. For someone who shrinks from attention, she surprisingly doesn't mind (too much) the invasive cameras which indiscriminately film her actions. She even forms an alliance and develops a friendship of sorts with her fellow contestants.  A self-proclaimed psychology major, Jane sets out to administer a negative stimulus whenever one of her obnoxious housemates raids her personal dorm-style fridge - a nightly occurrence. Her aggressive, competitive style along with her sarcastic sense of humor and sardonic wit make her popular with an audience whose growing viewership leads to a spot for the reality show on a local tv channel along with a corporate sponsorship, complete with a scholarship and a cash award.

Complications include the fact that Jane cannot legally consume alcohol (at least not on tape) since the drinking age in the province of Alberta in Canada is eighteen. Even though she partakes the forbidden beverage off camera, the after effects of her imbibing is evident in the footage. This could lead to problems for everyone involved especially since the producer, a fellow student, assumes she is of legal age (probably because she lied on the application). It also becomes harder for Jane to keep the truth hidden from her parents as more and more viewers tune in to watch and she finally has to come clean with her younger sister who is pissed that Jane doesn't visit home more often. 

Oelke has the main character tell her story uses a journaling style with a conversational dialogue imitating lines of a screenplay, including a bit of imaginary dialogue and a few inner psychotherapy sessions where Jane unsuccessfully attempts to psychoanalyze her own uncooperative self. The addition of some explanatory narrative nicely rounds out the plot making this book a fast paced, entertaining read despite the 400+ page length.

The cast of characters from her "new" life (along with her diverse fan base) plus those high school friends she occasionally sees, as well as her family and the members of the youth group she's promised to attend each week, provides an extensive list of names to keep track of that's  just long enough for an annotated list of "cast members" to be helpful. 

My major complaints were the melodramatic and over the top conclusion to the competition and the way Jane's little sister is portrayed - more like a whinny twelve year old instead of her slightly more mature age of fifteen. Kudos, however, for dealing with the topical issue of teen depression, along with the adolescent angst of discovering ones own identity (separate from that of their parents) which includes questioning ones faith in God and searching for the answer to the age old query "what do I do next?" Oelke provides a possible answer in an ending which promises a positive future for someone that needs a happily ever after. 

Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I went into the this book with fairly low expectations, after all it was basically being sold as a send up of Big Brother. As I started reading though I realized it was so much more, yes there is a community college produced reality TV show that helps to drive the narrative but it works beautifully. The characters, even the ones who are supposed to be one-dimensional still have depth and as a reader I was drawn in wanting to see how all of this would play out, if Jane would win, and ultimately what effect the outcome would have on her. It is a great book I would recommend it to older teens and new adults.
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First of all, I loved reading a book set in Canada. A big plot point is the age of legal alcohol consumption, which in Canada is 18. It really brought back my own high school days. I grew up in Southeast Michigan, only about 45 minutes drive from Ontario, Canada. This was back before a passport or special license was required to cross over the border and my classmates would drive up to Canada where they could legally imbibe. It’s nice to know that the lengths people will go through to drink legally haven’t changed since I was in high school.

Jane Sinner might be one of my favorite characters in all of literature. She’s deep and layered and interesting. She also makes some of the stupidest decisions ever. She made me so angry throughout this book because she did stuff that you look back on and kick yourself for years. Just like I do.

This was a book that I ranted and raved to my husband about how angry it made me. Usually I read and when he asks me about books I answer with one or two words. This book, I yelled about it for almost an hour. He’s still asking me about how it turned out and if I feel anything about it 2 weeks later. Jane Sinner made me feel things. They might not have been pleasant but that’s ok.

This book should be a must read.
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Jane Sinner, 17, enters a small reality tv show at her school and she's about to get more than what she bargained for.

I don't even know where to begin but I fell in love with this book so fast. I really related to Jane and I just loved her so much.

This book made me laugh so hard but also made me cry a lot... I was rooting for Jane from beginning to end. I could not stop reading and read the entire book in less than a day.

I barely knew anything about this book when I started and I think that’s how you have to read this, you should just jump in…

The plot was so perfectly designed, I was mesmerized from beginning to end... 

I will seriously be looking out for this author and wait impatiently for her to get another book out!
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