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ARC Review: This Is Not The Jess Show by Anna Carey

Hi. Elli from October 2020 here 🙂 I read my digital ARC of this book a fair few months in advance and so this review is getting written and then scheduled for whenever this book is due to come out. Happy New Year I suppose!!

Publication Date: January 5th 2021


Like many teens, sometimes it feels as though everything in Jess Flynn’s life has been engineered for maximum drama–from her performance at the school talent show, to the reappearance of her childhood best friend and perennial crush Jeremy, to her friends trying to set her up with one of the hottest guys in school. It’s almost as if everything might finally be going her way…until one day a tiny black phone with an apple logo on its screen falls out of her best friend’s backpack and lands at Jess’s feet.

The problem is, it’s 1998, and the first iPhone isn’t due out for another nine years. Read More.


My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.25

This book made me anxious as hell and I loved every second of it.

This is Not the Jess Show follows a teenage girl called Jess who discovers that her whole life is a lie, not even just a lie but a production as her life has been filmed and broadcasted to the whole world. Her friends aren’t her friends, her sister isn’t her sister, the decade she thought she was living in isn’t even the current decade!

It’s essentially a YA retelling of The Truman Show, or at the very least is inspired by that movie.

I got into this book so fast and if it wasn’t for me having to go to work I 100% would have read this book in one sitting. I loved the 90’s setting and themes, the characters (Jess is the definition of The Main Character Meme I keep seeing all over Tumblr and TikTok), even the romance wasn’t what I expected but I didn’t hate it.

To me, this book very much read like a dystopian novel if you swap out “corrupt government” for “corrupt production company”. Like I said above this book made me anxious and while yes this is because I was worried for the main character, but also because I could so easily see this fictional society becoming a reality.

What I think I most loved about this book is that it made me think. It made me sit back and examine our own relationships with celebrities.

There’s one plot line in particular, that I obviously won’t go into detail for sake of spoilers, that really made me think about how we treat actors/singers: we get mad when an actor/actress leaves our favourite show thereby splitting up an OTP or we complain because a band isn’t getting back together despite them talking at length on how being a part of that band/franchise effected their mental and sometimes physical health.

Overall I loved this book and the only real critism I have is the ending: it was kind of lackluster.

As I’m currently writing this review I don’t know if there’s going to be a sequel but if there is I wish there’d been more of a cliff-hanger, something that makes me go “oh my god I need the next book now”. As it stands now though, while I wish there had been a bit more action and drama, I am totally satisfied with the ending and I don’t know if, in a year from now, I’d bother picking up a sequel.

All that being said though, I cannot recommend this book enough!!

3 thoughts on “ARC Review: This Is Not The Jess Show by Anna Carey”

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