Cover Image: Jagged Little Pill: The Novel

Jagged Little Pill: The Novel

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I loved watching the messy lives of a family of four: white mom trying to hide her pain pill addiction, white dad always at work, white teen son forced to be the perfect everything, and adopted Black teen daughter trying to fix the world while trying to figure out where she fits in. It's filled with the many mistakes we make as individuals and as a society but told with a lot of heart, care, and hope.
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Based on the original Broadway musical, this novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose worlds are shaken after the events of a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to find her place in her family, among her Harvard-bound older brother, Nick, her workaholic father, and her perfectionist mother. She hides a huge part of her life—that her best friend, Jo, is more than just a friend, while she is also connecting with the new student, Phoenix. One tragic night at a party, their  friend Bella is sexually assaulted, and the group comes together to fight for justice. 

Alanis Morissette’s music is so nostalgic to growing up in the 90s, so while I was disappointed that I was unable to see the show prior to its closing on Broadway this past December, I was thrilled I’d be able to experience the story through the pages of a book. I love how the novel incorporated some of Morissette’s lyrics into the writing, and I thought that was a fun nod to the musical. The story deals with very serious content, and I think it does an excellent job recognizing ongoing issues in society in regard to social justice. I loved the five different perspectives, and thought the character development was outstanding. Overall, this was a powerful novel I would definitely recommend to both adults and teens. 

Thank you to NetGalley and ABRAMS books for my gifted e-ARC!
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As a fan of the Broadway musical by the same title, I was curious to read the novel adaptation of the book by Eric Smith. Jagged Little Pill is based on Alanis Morissette studio album by the same title. Of course, the musical uses Morissette's music to play out a new story in traditional jukebox musical fashion. The novel, obviously, doesn't have the luxury of Morissette's music to help tell the story, but I think the author does a good job encapsulating the general feel of the original musical.

The book itself does a good job of sticking to the different characters and perspectives from the original musical. There are also a lot of text messages that go back and forth, which is artfully handled.

Overall, I really enjoyed this musical adaptation. I think the book offers an interesting look into a series of provocative issues for older high school students and young adults.

I want to thank the publisher for the advanced review copy of this book. Although I am grateful for the opportunity, the review was completely my own.
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Jagged Little Pill is the novelization of the Broadway musical of the same name. I've never seen it, but I'm a big Alanis fan, and so I really wanted to read this book. Frankie is an angsty teen with a bad adoptive mom, but her brother (her parents' birth child), Nick, can do no wrong, while Frankie feels like everything she does is wrong. Phoenix is new in town and his sister is in the hospital with a life-threatening illness, leaving him to step up. Bella just wants Nick, but he doesn't notice her, and Jo doesn't feel like anyone sees her for who she truly is. This is a multi-POV novel, and all of the characters mentioned have POV chapters.

The story here is captivating. The lives of these teens change when Bella is raped at a party. At first, I was really invested in these characters, but the story goes a little nutty at the end, cramming so much into the last third of the book, I felt like my head was spinning, and the characters just lost all depth. What's worse is that often times these characters are indistinguishable from one another. Phoenix, Jo, and Frankie all sound the same, and Bella has very little personality at all. I liked the story a lot (the only reason I kept reading), and I'd love to see the musical to see how the actors breathe life into these characters, but the novel had them feeling very flat to me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC.
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*3.5 stars*  Thank you Netgalley and Amulet Books for the arcs!  I am a huge Alanis fan and so was anxiously awaiting this release.  The highlights for me were the Alanis lyrics that were throughout the story.  Overall, the characters and plot didn't do it for me but the Easter Eggs made it worth it.
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My little theatre loving, 90’s kid heart adored this book. I loved all of the nods to Alanis, it made me want to dust off my Jagged Little Pill CD and attempt to find a CD player and scream You Oughta Know at the top of my lungs. Also as a theatre nerd I’ve already listened to the musical 100 times, and I’m seeing it this year, so I was really excited to read this book as well. Overall I enjoyed the story. Thanks @netgalley and @ericsmithrocks for this ARC!
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Jagged Little Pill was such a good book. All of the character relationships and details are flawless. This book dealt with a lot of issues that teens today experience, and was able to do so in a way that made me laugh at some points and cry in other occasions. It was a heartfelt book that made me think about the world and how people interact with each other.
	One of the most impressive things about this book was that it was cowritten with many different authors. Normally when this happens, I can tell which author wrote which section, because the transition between writing styles was really jarring. But in Jagged Little Pill that transition point was impossible to find. It was one of the best things about the book. If I hadn’t known that more than one author was writing Jagged Little Pill, I never would have even suspected it.
	Something else that I really loved about Jagged Little Pill was the character relationships. I feel like I’ve been talking about these a lot recently, but every book I’ve been reviewing just has them so perfectly. The character relationships really made me smile, and I loved how complex and intertwined they were. There are a lot of families in this book, and all of them handle things differently, and the relationships and bonds within a family really come to light.
	There were confusing (for the characters, not the reader) romantic relationships that were really fun to read. This book is, I believe, about figuring yourself out, and where you fit and how you label yourself. It was interesting and refreshing to read about teens grappling with their identities and not knowing things about themselves from the very beginning of the book. It made me super happy to see people also learn more about each other and not mindread all of that and just immediately know. That made the book refreshing as well.
	There were a lot of POVs in this book, and that was great because I loved hearing all of the characters’ thoughts and learning why they reacted the way they did in certain situations. It made everything seem much more real and I was able to connect better with the book because of it. That being said, I really wish I had been able to see more of Jo’s POV. She’s one of the side characters, and a lover of Frankie (the main character), and I really wished I could have heard more from her as things developed with Frankie and the people around her.
	Speaking of Frankie, she was such a dynamic main character. I haven’t read a lot of adopted main characters, and so that is definitely something that I would love to see more of in books, and hearing about how Frankie grappled with her family and everything related to that made me feel…emotions that I can’t really put a name to. I really enjoyed learning about Frankie’s identity and the ways that she coped with the world.
	I also want to talk about diversity for a second! Jagged Little Pill was quite diverse, with characters that had various sexualities, genders, ethnicities, interests, and many struggled with various health (mental or physical) conditions. It made me happy to see characters that weren’t all white, cishet, and healthy on the page, because all stories deserve to be told. (at this moment I would like to note that I am a white, lesbian teen, and so you should also turn and look to see how people with identities other than mine liked the book in terms of representation, because I can’t judge that as accurately)
	And finally, onto the plot. I really enjoyed the plot, and I liked how it handled the issues that came up with it. All of it dealt with things that should have content warnings, so I recommend you all look those up prior to reading the book, and it is why I won’t be discussing it too much on this post. I did really enjoy how the book showed characters processing the events that happened, and working on becoming better and growing.
	All in all, Jagged Little Pill was really good, and I enjoyed reading it. It seemed to have relatable teen experiences and all of the character relationships were really fascinating and fun to read. I wished I had seen more of Jo and other side characters though, and so this book gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

	Eric Smith, one of the authors of the book is an author ambassador and so you can learn more about him on the Author Ambassador page on our website. This book was also made with the help of the Jagged Little Pill musical producers (I highly recommend you go listen to the musical as well), and the creator of the original Jagged Little Pill album. Those people are Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, and I highly recommend you go follow them and learn more about their projects as well.
	You can buy Jagged Little Pill wherever good books are sold!
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A great story with engaging characters, a group of teens you really care about. Makes my adolescence seems like a breeze! Teens have so much to deal with, especially in the social media age! Would recommend to anyone, whether they are in the YA target audience age range or adult!
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If you grew up in the 90’s then you can’t help but have listened to Alanis Morrissette’s breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill. It recently became a musical too, and now there’s a book based on the musical. I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to a book based off of a musical written around a 90’s album. Let’s just say that the story takes place in contemporary times and NOT the 90’s and it’s very woke riding high on the #METOO movement.

I enjoyed the various POV’s in the novel, as it gave a better sense of what happened when Bella, gets raped during a party. The book focuses on the downfall of trying to keep up appearances and how that often leads one to bury secrets about themselves that should’ve been dealt with instead.

As much as I enjoyed the overall story, I was also expecting a little bit more. I can’t quite explain. I liked the characters but they kinda felt forced at times.

I recommend this novel if you’re a fan of the musical or just want to check out what a novel based on such an iconic album could be like.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Amulet Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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I should preface by saying that I have not watched the "Jagged Little Pill", the musical, so I can't determine how the book compares to the musical.

The book in itself was a fantastic read! I've always been drawn to stories featuring a group of teenagers brought together due to circumstance and seeing how that one event impacts them all individually and collectively, and vice versa - how the group members' individuality contributes to how the group deals with the event. Jagged Little Pill: The Novel did a great job of delivering this. It featured an interesting group comprised of five teenagers: Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella, their lives intermingling in a substantial way after Bella was sexually assaulted at a party. As the four teens try to make sense of the situation and offer Bella their help, they learn more about each other, learn from each other, and ultimately, learn more about themselves and who they are as people and who they aspire to be. 

Eric Smith did a wonderful job in bringing each of these characters to life. The voices and struggles of each of the five teens was distinct and their growth and development was executed really well. I found myself emphasizing with each of the characters and hoping for a happy ending for each of them. 

The novel also covers many important issues - sexual assault, navigating sexuality, addiction, and the struggles of being an adopted child. I found Smith did a great job of writing about these issues and how they impact adolescents and their everyday life. 

Overall, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel was an engaging read and I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys the YA genre and stories revolving around social issues with fierce, lovable teenagers fighting against them.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc!

This is such an iconic album that for me now symbolizes the raw feelings of youth and this story hits all those sharp edges that are catalysts for teen angst.  

This story based on the musical by the same name follows a small group of teens, separately and together, as they experience some of life's more difficult issues.   Even with such harsh realities it's easy to see from a perspective of a reader how these problems at once create differences between the individuals but at the same time binds them together.  That's the main vibe I get from certain music,  including this album, a connection to others who feel and understand it like I do.  

I definitely want to see the show now, too!

Out on April 26th!
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There is something timeless about Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Her soul, raw and messy, is on full display. That complex tapestry of emotion and longing connects all the threads of Jagged Little Pill: A Novel, as well anything sharing that name should.

Eric Smith masterfully captures the core of his teenage characters and sets them loose in the world. Frankie, Jo, Phoenix, Nick and Bella - all wildly alive and wildly different - just want to be seen, to be heard. Their voices and desires are as clear as Alanis’s vocals

Their intertwined stories knot together when Bella is assaulted at a party and someone posts about it online. Frankie, Jo, Phoenix and Nick circle around Bella in different ways. Frankie and Jo are in there trying to help. Phoenix is supporting Frankie. And Nick is trying to figure out what he saw that night at the party — what he didn’t interrupt — and how to help his friend while keeping his overbearing mother happy.

Among these five characters, there are so many relationships. Brother and sister. Best friends. More than friends. New crushes. New friendships. Within all this, hearts break. Things splinter. And it all hits like a punch to the gut.

As a YA contemporary, I think Eric nailed it. And as an adaptation, he knocked it out of the park! (BTW, you do not have to have seen the musical to enjoy this book. Though I highly recommend listening to the OBC album as you read.) My biggest critique of the show has always been this: I felt like there was one too many story line. I just wanted to sink my teeth in with the characters a bit more and I couldn’t do that because of everything that happened on stage. In the book, one of those storylines moves to the background and Eric gives me what I’ve wanted: time to get to know the characters better. Basically, Eric fills in all those spaces and I loved it!

There are recurring moments across Eric’s books that I love, like the girls (rather than the boys) going in for the kisses first. And the most important of these is that all of his teens of color call racism what it is. They point at it, confront it, and dismantle it. Sometimes people listen. Sometimes they don’t. Just like in real life. These teens are so brave in the face of racism and I cheer every time.

I also have to mention that Eric brought an authenticity to Frankie, as they are both adoptees. I felt like I was given the gift of a glimpse into an experience I can never know. And those are some of the best moments in books.

If you’ve ever felt stranded, unmoored in a room full of people…
If you’ve ever felt like you’re screaming but no one can hear you…
If you’ve ever been in love with your best friend…
If you’ve ever been let down by the people you trust most…
If you’re ever found your strength in your lowest moments…
If you’ve ever felt seen in Alanis’s music, read this book.
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I had heard amazing things about this book, so I had to request it on NetGalley and it did not disappoint. I couldn’t put this down and read it in a single sitting. 

First, I love stories told in short chapters from the perspective of multiple characters. I felt like I really got to know each of them and their perspectives. I wanted to learn so much more about them all and how their lives led to this one party and how the events changed their already chaotic lives. I loved how each character had their own demons throughout the story and I couldn’t wait to see what came next for each of them. 

The one star off for me though is that it left me wanting more. While the fast forward wrapped up some pieces, I still wanted to hear more about where Phoenix and his sister wound up and how everyone’s stories turned out. I seldom want books to be longer, but I think there were places where we could have seen more play out, like in Jo’s home struggles or where the storyline with Phoenix and Frankie would go next. 

All in all, this was a beautiful tale of how everyone handles their battles and how the only way to go is up once you face them. 

Plus, for any Alannis fans out there, the weaving in of the songs was seamless. I particularly loved the nod to the question about whether Ironic actually uses irony in its examples.
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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and wow, am I glad I did. 

Y'know that thing that happens, where you start reading a book late at night and then you look up and realize it's way past your bedtime but you have to know what happens next? That happened to me with this book. JAGGED LITTLE PILL is the story of five teens in a Connecticut suburb whose lives change irrevocably after something happens at a party. Frankie, Nick, Jo, Bella, and Phoenix are all trying to navigate the major life changes coming their way when it happens - the party's events send ripples out that deeply impact all of them and their community. 

Smith's way of capturing and communicating the intense feelings surrounding each teen's situation are hard-hitting and perfect. The various methods used throughout the book to communicate story elements as characters communicate with each other are a deft touch and feel entirely too realistic. I'm really excited for this book to come out and I'll be recommending it to my library as soon as humanly possible to make sure our patrons have access to it.
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I received a eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is YA novel told from multiple viewpoints based on a musical, based on a 90's album.
But it was surprisingly well done. Despite not having seen the musical, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The characters were engaging and and the plot moved along quickly. It was a bit basic, but well.. based on a musical... based on an album... that was to be expected.. so I was pleasantly surprised how much I wound up enjoying it.
There are better books that explore the aftermath of rape, but given the multiple viewpoints and how much was included (rape, coming out, substance abuse, golden boy becoming human, new kid at school etc), Smith did an admirable job weaving it all together.
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Told from five different viewpoints, Jagged Little Pill follows the lives of Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella following an incident at a party that would change their lives forever. Frankie, who was adopted into the family, doesn't see the point of pretending life is perfect and would rather stand up for what is right, even if it's hard. Nick has always felt pressured to be perfect. Perfect at school, perfect at home, the responsible one who takes care of everyone else all the time. But when does he get to relax? Jo is best friend and kind of girlfriend? to Frankie. All she wants is for her Mom to accept her for who she is, not try and shy away from it. Bella is the friend and not-quite girlfriend of Nick, she just wants to enjoy the final months of highschool. And Phoenix is the new guy, with family problems of his own. When Bella is assaulted, the five are thrown together, and any secrets they or their families had are no longer safe. 

I wrote two other reviews while trying to find the words to describe this book. I absolutely devoured it. If I hadn't been working for two days, it would have been read in one day, two tops. I've been a big Alanis Morissette since I heard her for the first time, I can't even remember how old I was. How I missed a musical being developed based on her music is beyond me. (Maybe having two young kids had something to do with it?) So when Eric Smith shared that he was writing this novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. In fact, I remember the day I got approved for the ARC. I was sitting outside with some coworkers and literally freaked out and did a little dance, I was so excited. And the book did not disappoint. I love the character development, the imperfect families, but especially the camaraderie and support that was given to Bella after the party. 

I received a copy of this book from the author via Netgalley
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Jagged Little Pill is told through 5 struggling teens perspectives: Frankie who is trying to be seen for who she is in her white adopted family, Nick, Frankie’s brother, who feels like he’s going to collapse from all the pressure his parents put on him, Jo, Frankie’s best friend, who’s mother is trying to force her to change who she is, Phoenix, the new kid in town, who’s sister is terminally ill, and Bella who’s life is completely changed after a drunken high school party. 

This novel is based on the musical of the same title which is based off of Alanis Morissette’s music. I love the musical and Alanis’ music, but it definitely isn’t necessary to know either to enjoy this book. 

This story is so important for our world today. It sheds light on real struggles that teens (and adults frankly) are working through everyday: sexuality, rape, addiction, race, love, fitting in, taking responsibility for your actions, and finding who you are. Although a lot of the subject matter is very deep/dark the tone of the book is not that at all, which I definitely appreciated and I think it makes it much easier to read and absorb. 

These characters were very relatable and all had distinct voices. I could so easily picture each of them in my head and wanted to spend more time with them. 

The story is told in five different perspectives and although I understand why the author did it that way, I’m not sure if it was needed. A few of the character’s chapters only showed up a couple of times and I think the story could have been told just as well with fewer perspectives. 

Also, the rape feels like it should be the central plot point, and for a little while it is, but it almost felt like it got lost throughout the story and then showed up again at the end to tie it all back together.

I enjoyed this book a lot and really got into the story, but was somewhat pulled out with the ending. Everything seemed to happen very abruptly and it was just tied into too neat a bow. It almost seemed forced. 

I’m giving this book 4 stars. I definitely would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and statements are my own.
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I absolutely loved this book! I devoured it and can't wait to see the play! I highly recommend this book to any Alanis Morrisette fan!
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Everything Eric writes is amazing, and Jagged Little Pill is no exception. I love this story and I love the music and it’s so cute and good and ANGSTY and Eric rules.
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I had never listened to the soundtrack or seen the musical before reading this novel but I am well aware as a child of the 90s of the power of Alanis Morrissette. After listening to the cast recording while reading this novel, I was really impressed with how well Smith weaved the lyrics into the story so it makes sense and flows with no knowledge of the musical. The different viewpoints were showcased well and it ended in a good place. The characters grew and you can feel how well Smith knew these people. Thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for the ARC of this book.
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