{Blog Tour Review + Excerpt} JESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally

Happy Book Day to 
JESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally!

 This fantastic book debuted yesterday, and it's my favorite title by Kenneally yet! I'm so excited to share this book with you today!!

(But you don't need to read any previous books to enjoy JESSE'S GIRL. Every book is a stand-alone, but set in the same town, so some characters make re-appearances!)

Take a peek at an old interview from 2011 and see how much things have changed for Miranda (not to mention the look of this blog)!

And check out my Girls in Sports Week interview with Miranda!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    BACKSTAGE, THERE'S SO much security, you'd think it was the White House.
    I've been to plenty of concerts, but I've never had a backstage pass, so I follow Dr. Salter's lead and keep flashing my all-access badge over and over. My principal squeezes between two beefy men in security jackets and knocks on a door stamped with a red star.
    A man in a tailored black suit and shimmering blue tie opens the door. He's got better skin than any girl I know, and I bet his haircut cost a small fortune. "Oh good. It's you," he says to Dar. Salter, giving him a bright smile. The man takes my hand. "You must be Maya."

***You can buy the e-book version of JESSE'S GIRL on Kindle and Nook for only $5!!!
Not only is it a GREAT DEAL, 
but buying it now will help Miranda Kenneally 
hit the New York Times Best Seller's List!!!***

I have been waiting and waiting to talk to you all about JESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally. This is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite book by Kenneally yet! Granted, I also have a soft spot for books with musicians/actors/etc., so the book was endearing to me before I ever had it in my greedy little hands! JESSE'S GIRL isn't the most serious or hard-hitting of Kenneally's novels, but there's still so much to love about it. I read this in one sitting, and it's the perfect book to take along to the beach or pool this summer.

You don't have to read any of Kenneally's other books set in the world of Hundred Oaks to read any JESSE'S GIRL--or any other book in the line. Each book is a stand-alone, but many times, readers get to see the characters grow up through little cameos in various books. For example, in JESSE'S GIRL, the main character is Maya Henry. Her older brother is Sam Henry---yeeeeep, the very same Same from Kenneally's debut novel CATCHING JORDAN. Sam and Jordan have appeared in more Hundred Oaks books than any other characters, and it's always lovely to catch up and see where the future has taken them. This time around, it's Maya's turn to find love and befriend readers. She's trying to get her band an audition for Wannabe Rocker, a reality music show going into its twelfth season (Think The Voice or American Idol). Her world is thrown out of whack when her bandmates kick her out. She can't focus on all of that too much, however, because for her Senior Shadow Day assignment, Maya has been assigned to shadow the principal's nephew, country superstar Jesse Scott. Shadow Day is to pair seniors with someone in the field they may want to one day work...and Maya wants to be a musician. Jesse is way more arrogant than Maya thought possible, but overtime, the two become friends...and maybe something more? Now that Maya has seen how much hard work goes into being in the spotlight, will she give up on her dreams or do whatever it takes to reach for the stars?

Ahhh, this book! I love the message of working to achieve your dreams. I LOVE the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS that talk about this book's inspiration. They really resonated with me, and if you don't normally read them, I hope you do in this case. Kenneally's school had a Career Day and, since she wanted to be a singer, they got her a ticket for the Grammy Symposium. Her advice for going after your dreams is so inspirational, and highly worth reading. I also love the fun way that Kenneally sometimes formats her books! In last year's BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, readers were treated to a list of Annie's goals that got crossed out, creased, and updated as Annie's journey progressed. Since JESSE'S GIRL revolves around music, the story is broken down into a mix tape! SIDE A is the first half of the book, SIDE B the second half, and BONUS TRACK the epilogue. AND every chapter is named after a song title! There's also a fun Playlist at the back of the book! I just love these little flourishes and think they make the books more "special." I would love to see more such things in future Hundred Oaks novels!

This is the first of Kenneally's books to not have a sports or outdoor influence, but it still has an engaging story that is fun and easy to love. It's also not as mature a novel as some of Kenneally's other books, which makes it easier to recommend to younger readers, though there's still mature content. It's just softer and filled with more innuendo than anything explicit.

As always, Kenneally excels at creating characters and getting readers to fall for them. Neither Maya nor Jesse is instantly lovable, but they become endearing over the course of the novel and readers will really wind up rooting for the things they wind up going through, both on their own and together. I also like the way Kenneally has brought back beloved characters, while in some of her other books, I thought their reappearances were overkill. It worked so well here, and I loved seeing Sam and Jordan in a family setting and how goofy they could be.

Whether you like Hollywood-esque novels and have never read a Miranda Kenneally book before or whether you're a huge fan of Hundred Oaks, there's something for everyone to love in JESSE'S GIRL!

Need more than my word? 
How about this excerpt to tide you over?
(Provided by Sourcebooks!)
As much as I love music, I am generally not a fan of country. I don’t like banjos. I don’t like sappy lyrics about trucks and hauling hay. Dolly Parton is my mortal enemy—my mom plays “Jolene” over and over and over and over, and it makes me want to chop my ears off like van Gogh. Yeah, yeah, I’m from Tennessee, where it’s a crime if you don’t love country, but I like deep, rumbling beats and singing loud and fast and hard. I do not like closing my eyes and crooning to a cow in the pasture. Yet here I am at a Jesse Scott concert, getting ready to meet him and to see if he’ll let me shadow him next Friday.

My school requires every senior to “shadow” a professional for a day. It’s their way of helping us figure out what kind of career we want. Like, if you want to be president when you grow up, you might get to shadow the mayor. Want to be a chef? Have fun kneading dough at the Donut Palace. When I said “I want to be a musician,” I figured they’d send me to work in the electronics section at Walmart.

I certainly never expected to shadow the king of country music.

It turns out that Jesse Scott is my principal’s nephew. Jesse won TV’s Wannabe Rocker when he was ten and has gone on to become very successful. In sixth grade, every girl in class—myself included—took the Teen Beat quiz: “Would Jesse Scott Like Your Kissing Style?” (Obviously the answer was yes.) In middle school, I had a Jesse Scott poster on my ceiling. It’s hard to believe he’s only eighteen, because he’s already won three Grammys. When he was younger, his songs were about family, fishing, and playing baseball, but lately they’re about love and making love and all things sexy.

I wouldn’t say I’m a fan anymore, but I would never give up an opportunity to learn from a professional with such a gorgeous, pure voice. I want to learn what it’s like to perform day in and day out. Despite what everyone and their mom says—that I’ll struggle as a musician—all I want is to play guitar in front of a crowd and hear people cheer for me.

I can’t believe I’m backstage at the Grand Ole Opry! I bounce on my toes. Jesus, is that an archtop Super 4, the model Elvis played? I’ve never seen one in real life. It probably cost more than my house. I’m ogling the guitar when Jesse Scott comes out of the bathroom, drying his hair with a towel. He pads across the room to the couch, wearing nothing but a pair of rugged jeans with more holes than Swiss cheese. The lighting is dim, and he doesn’t seem to notice I’m here, which is good, because I’ve moved from ogling the guitar to ogling him.

Who wouldn’t? He was one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” and it is a truth universally acknowledged that you should stare at people who’ve made that list. The guy’s gorgeous. Like in the boy-next-door way. His wet, wavy, brown hair curls around his ears and nearly hits his shoulders, and while he doesn’t have a six-pack or anything, his body is fit. I wish he’d look my way so I can see his famous brown eyes. They always remind me of those caramel chews Poppy gives me when I visit. Jesse has some sort of Gaelic symbol tattooed on his left shoulder blade. I want to reach out and trace the design.

God, get ahold of yourself, Maya. Don’t be a horndog. Besides, he’s so not my type. I don’t do pretty boys.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15+ ( sexual situations )
Language: PG15+ ( mild language; sexual innuendo )
Violence: ---
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I wish there had been a guitar or a stage or something on this cover to show that there's the theme of musicians. I think such a thematic design would attract readers that don't currently read Miranda Kenneally or many contemporary novels. I know I tend to overlook books with standard covers.

This is a very straightforward contemporary cover. It fits in well with Kenneally's other covers, though!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. 

Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?