Friday, July 2, 2010

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens

I was asked by Catherine McKenzie to take part in a great new thing.  "I bet we can make a book a bestseller"   (which can be found on both Facebook and Goodreads)

I'm a little behind the rest of the gang but I'll get to that in a minute.

First book on the list was  Jessica Z  by Shawn Kloparens.

Plot:  Jessica writes for online ads, her sister Katie is working towards her PhD, and their lives are smooth until Jessica meets Josh, an artist.   Agreeing to work with him on a still life project, Jessica ends up becoming more then just his muse.  Meanwhile, their city has become the base of political upheaval as bombs are being set off everywhere.  Can she really trust her new friends or will they lead her down the wrong path?

Now, let me tell you why I'm like two weeks behind the rest of the group on this book.   It's just too real. 
I was commenting to friends that the first half was as if pieces of my life were there in this story.
The lead character has a job working online doing promos and ads, she has a younger sister, survivor of a broken family,  worked a few times as a model, and the three main men in her life are named Patrick, Josh and Danny.   I was un-nerved a little with the similarities to my own life and had to step away from this novel.

There are two plot twists I did not see coming. We're set up with a rival co-worker/love interest of her sort of boyfriend Patrick, who you're not really sure that you should be trusting.  I thought it was a beautiful use of the modern Frenemy element.
The character of Josh was also a great elemental plot twist.  A rich character who straddles the line between lost little boy and mesmerizing control freak. The idea that he's breaking through the modern scope of what is considered art and science lends to a subplot all its own that weaves you up like a cocoon.
The addition of Emily, Josh's sister midway through suggests a thread of Jane Austen in it's Victorian sensibilities.  Secrets exposed and loves revised.
This is another very modern novel that could easily translate into any decade or century. Communication being the key element through out in all it's forms.
The decisions Jessica has to make are ones that seem to plague every modern woman right now, lest of all how much freedom to give up to her new life as it seems to blast away her old one.

This novel drew me in and gripped me wholly, leaving me smiling and agreeing and at times in shock. I had to keep reminding myself that these three women, (Jessica, Katie and Emily) who are so real at times, were written by a man.  I have rarely found novels where this formula has worked so well.

Jessica Z  was a surprising story that left me breathless.

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