Nice Try, Jane Sinner
The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.   Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don't know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she'll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.   As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She'll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Details

TitleNice Try, Jane Sinner
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 9th, 2018
PublisherClarion Books
ISBN-139780544867857
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult

Nice Try, Jane Sinner Review

  • Emma Giordano
    January 1, 1970
    Shout out to HMHTeen for letting me read this one so early! I REEEAAAALLLLYYYY loved this book!! I feel like we don't get much YA in a college setting, so it was nice to be able to relate to a YA character with my current circumstances as opposed to referring to my past.Trigger warning for talk of depression and suicide. These topics are not huge components of the story nor is it a main focus or what I would consider specifically a "mental health novel" but it deserves being said!Also, I would n Shout out to HMHTeen for letting me read this one so early! I REEEAAAALLLLYYYY loved this book!! I feel like we don't get much YA in a college setting, so it was nice to be able to relate to a YA character with my current circumstances as opposed to referring to my past.Trigger warning for talk of depression and suicide. These topics are not huge components of the story nor is it a main focus or what I would consider specifically a "mental health novel" but it deserves being said!Also, I would not consider this a "content warning" but this book does contain criticism of the Christian faith and as I know some of my followers are devout Christians, these discussions may upset you. On the other hand, you may be interested to see someone else's viewpoint, so it's your call!Firstly, THE HUMOR IN THIS BOOK IS GOLD! Dry humor is seriously lacking in YA and Jane was the breath of fresh air I needed. She has this nihilistic sense of humor you can't help but laugh at. The comedic value of this book is seriously such a strong point of this novel and I would honestly recommend it for this sole factor.I have not read a "journal format" novel in a while, so I was a little weary at first as I did not want to miss any of the story. Ultimately, I feel Jane's diary-narrative was well-executed. Characters still felt complete, scenes felt as if they were happening in real time as opposed to being recounted, and it ended up being a fun reading experience.As someone who spent a part of their adolescence extremely involved with Christianity and who also left the church as a personal decision, I could really relate to Jane's experience of losing her faith and wanting to distancd herself from her strictly religious family. I've read a handful of books with protagonists who identify as Christians, but I haven't read one (until now) that captures what it is like to leave your church; The constant questioning of previous vs. present values, the unfortunate distance between friends still involved in the church, feeling like "an outsider" to your loved ones, all the conflict I experienced with my faith was reflected in Jane's story and it was really comforting to know I was not alone in this time. I think the story line of "House of Orange" was well done! The challenges were exciting, the interactions between housemates kept me enticed, and it was overall a really unique addition to the story of a freshman college student. I will say, I did wish there were more challenges/exciting moments like the challenges because I felt day to day dialogue and normal interactions took up the bulk of the story. I also really loved that Jane is a psychology student - As a psych student myself, this is never something I get to relate to in YA books so I was IMMENSELY pleased. Jane takes up a little conditioning experiment through the novel and it was unbelievably funny to watch unfold. Like House of Orange, I do wish this was a bit expanded on. I was craving for more psych-related content and I feel it could have been implemented so well in a setting full of opposing personalities, but this aspect was also somewhat overtaken by less-interesting interactions between housemates.Overall, I REALLY loved this book. It does not hit shelves until January of 2018, but it is absolutely worth putting on your TBRs now and building excitement for. If you're looking for a YA novel that deals with more mature topics, feels a bit more polished and structured than other contemporaries out there, I'd really really recommend Nice Try, Jane Sinner. I can't wait for you all to love it as much as I have!
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  • julianna ➹
    January 1, 1970
    + hilarious main character. so much dry humor and I LOVE IT+ interesting talks about psychology+ written in a journal format and v unique!+ delves into sensitive topics and discovering yourself+ in a college setting! i love college even though i've never been!full review to come.
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  • alice (arctic books)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 stars. Full review to come!
  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    no trespassingviolators will be shotsurvivors will be shot againNICE TRY, JANE SINNER might be one of the strangest books I've ever read. And yet it totally worked for me. Oelke's voice, experienced through Jane, is hilarious. I'm pretty sure I highlighted half the book. It's a strange plot -- highschool dropout enrolls in community college to finish her credits, lies about her age to get herself on a Big Brother-esque reality tv show in order to move out of her parents' place, all so she can re no trespassingviolators will be shotsurvivors will be shot againNICE TRY, JANE SINNER might be one of the strangest books I've ever read. And yet it totally worked for me. Oelke's voice, experienced through Jane, is hilarious. I'm pretty sure I highlighted half the book. It's a strange plot -- highschool dropout enrolls in community college to finish her credits, lies about her age to get herself on a Big Brother-esque reality tv show in order to move out of her parents' place, all so she can reinvent herself after a suicide attempt. Maybe I haven't accomplished a lot in my life so far, but not many people can say that they have a theme song. So I have that going for me, which is nice.There are hijinks and shenanigans like you wouldn't believe, all told through Jane's journal entries, alongside some pseudo psychotherapy happening within her own mind. The format is a little strange, too, made worse by a rather terrible ARC copy, but I spent way more time laughing than I did struggling through the unfinished structure.Wouldn't it be nice, don't you think, to not constantly compare everything you say and do to everything you've ever said and done and hope one day the good will outweigh the cringeworthy?While this book is totally ridiculous, it's also nonetheless touching and brutally honest about the struggles we face growing up, dealing with emotions, and learning what really matters in life. Like how to be super cut-throat at laser tag.I should feel proud. And I do. But I also might be feeling something else : guilt. It's too bad, really. I thought I outgrew that months ago.This book might not be for everyone but it was totally for me. I love that it had a sarcastic lead, I loved how the bizarre situations just worked so well, and I adored that this was written by a Canadian author and set in a real-life Canadian city. Represent! I will totally read this author again and look forward to whatever she writes next.4 "a cat is probably the closest thing to a child I'll ever have" stars** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    “There is no divine plan, no destiny, no life after death, and no compensation for what you lose. There is only here and now. There is only what you’ve done and what you are going to do. And if you can own up to every moment and take responsibility for your life and shape it into something beautiful and kind and generous - if you can do that, you’ve discovered what it means to be strong.” I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It felt felt really average to me - nothing too standout “There is no divine plan, no destiny, no life after death, and no compensation for what you lose. There is only here and now. There is only what you’ve done and what you are going to do. And if you can own up to every moment and take responsibility for your life and shape it into something beautiful and kind and generous - if you can do that, you’ve discovered what it means to be strong.” I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It felt felt really average to me - nothing too standout positively or negatively. We follow Jane Sinner as she starts a high school completion program at the local community college, at her parent’s urging. Her one condition is that she gets to move out. Jane signs up to be a part of a student run reality show to save some cash, and hopefully win some prizes.Things I LikedI really liked the journal style format. It made it super easy to read and the pacing was really quick! There was a few times when it was hard to tell the difference between dialogue and text messages, but it wasn’t that much of a problem.I really loved how Jane’s depression and recovery was represented in the story. Jane really starts to question her beliefs and that changes her entire outlook on life. She starts to feel alone, unsure, and most of all indifferent. She just desperately wants to feel something - pain, anger, resentment, something. I like that we get to see Jane’s own process of recovery and figuring out what was best for her, despite what her parents or school may have wanted, she was prioritizing herself.This was such a tiny part of the story, but I really loved it! Jane’s creative writing assignment was so lovely and perfectly captured the emotional tone of the story at that point! Things I Didn’t Like Jane’s humor was very nihilistic and deprecating. It was dry and blunt and funny. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with Jane beyond enjoying her humor. I just didn’t find her to be all that likeable or engaging. And as a character driven reader, it made the reading experience for the book a little underwhelming. For about the first half of the story I was just pretty bored. It took me a while to connect with the other contestants and to care about the competition. I also found the story to feel really long. Like I said above, the journal style format made it really easy to read, but it felt like there were large chunks of text where nothing happened- no development, no action, no growth. I wouldn’t have minded the lulls, if they served a purpose, but it honestly just dragged a bit for me.Nice Try, Jane Sinner was a good book, but it probably won’t leave an impression on me. It took me a long time to get into the story, and to connect to the characters. But, I did love the journal format and seeing Jane’s personal journey and growth. Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a fun story that cleverly explores depression, recovery, and healing. Trigger warnings for depression and suicideI received a copy of the book from Clarion Books/HMH Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Trin
    January 1, 1970
    Read in one sitting (with a short food break, because there is a lot of food in this book and it made me hungry. I had scallion pancakes, thanks for asking). Fantastic, hilarious, authentic voice. The choice to do the dialogue in script format is a brilliant example of form = content in a book about reality TV. And if reality TV really contained as many complicated, engaging characters as this book -- well, I would watch more of it. (I really only do cooking shows. I like food, you guys.)
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  • Sylvia (Serial Bibliophile)
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book! The main character might as well be called Sylvia, because we are the same (LOL). She's serious but sassy and kind of a smart-ass. This book is hilarious, fun, and full of reality TV drama, while also touching some seriousness like suicide and therapy.5 stars! Will write a full review soon, just need to gather my thoughts first!PS. The book contains a LOT of references of "The Bachelor", never expected to be okay with references to a show like that.
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5 stars*This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: suicide, depression, religious familyThis book was such an unexpected delight. I can already sense that Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a book readers will either completely love or completely hate. It follows our main character, Jane Sinner, who has been kicked out of her high school due to some *3.5 stars*This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: suicide, depression, religious familyThis book was such an unexpected delight. I can already sense that Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a book readers will either completely love or completely hate. It follows our main character, Jane Sinner, who has been kicked out of her high school due to some mysterious event. She decides to finish her high school education at the local community college, and while there, she joins a reality show called House of Orange. This book documents the ridiculous antics that go along with the reality show, but it also shows Jane’s growth as a person during the course of her time on HOO.I’ll start by talking about the thing that, to me, stands out most about Nice Try, Jane Sinner: Jane herself. She has a ridiculously dry, sarcastic sense of humor, and honestly? I saw some of myself in her. She’s excellent at observing people and, in the case of her fellow contestants on HOO who piss her off, manipulating them. Her antics often had me both cringing and laughing out loud. I found her so refreshing because, though she deals with mental illness, Jane employs a sort of gallows humor (which she sometimes takes too far) to cope with her depression. This is something I, and a lot of other people with mental illness, do, as well, so I found that refreshingly realistic. Jane, while hilarious, often frustrates the people in her life for her refusal to take anything seriously. What I love most about her, though? She’s flawed. She’s such an imperfect character; her nonchalance is all bluster that she uses to hide the fact that she deeply, deeply cares what other people think of her. As someone with social anxiety, I have always, always struggled with this, and it both broke my heart and validated my feelings to see a YA character dealing with the same struggles. Jane’s voice is one of the strongest I’ve read in recent memory, and she’s a welcome addition to my list of favorite YA protagonists.Nice Try, Jane Sinner deals subtly with so many important themes. From friendship, to familial relationships, to mental illness, everything was handled thoughtfully and realistically. Not only is Jane dealing with the aftermath of her suicide attempt a few months prior, she is also navigating how to proceed with her friendships, which were somewhat damaged in that process. She also struggles with the fact that she no longer identifies with her Christian family’s beliefs. Jane’s relationship with her younger sister, Carol, was one of my favorite parts of this story. Plus, of course, Jane meets tons of new people through her time living in the House of Orange. The author deals with all of these seemingly heavy subjects with no shortage of humor and heart.I also loved reading about a YA protagonist in a college setting! More of this, please– after all, many older teens are in college. The reality show plot itself was just as ridiculous as you’d expect, which of course made it TONS of fun to read about. The questionable challenges, the cringeworthy sponsorships, the way the contestants strategize and plot against each other… all of it is hilarious. Another unique thing about this book: most of the dialogue is told script-style. I think this is because this book is Jane’s journal, and she kinda paints the people in her life as characters. It’s really clever, and it makes Nice Try, Jane Sinner a much quicker read than you’d expect from its long (for a contemporary, at least) length.All in all, while this wasn’t a perfect book for me, it was still lots of fun. I adore the narrator, and I think the topics addressed in this story are so important for a YA audience to read about. I recommend Nice Try, Jane Sinner to anyone looking for a witty, sarcastic protagonist and/or a fun contemporary plot!
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, this was so great! It's one of the funniest YA books I've ever read, and was so much MORE than I expected. It centers around Jane Sinner, a depressed high school dropout attending her local community college, who decides to join the House of Orange. House of Orange is a YouTube film series centering around her and a few others where they all: live in a communal home, pay cheap rent, are filmed 24/7, and compete in challenges to win a car. (Picture a weird version of Survivor.)It sounds confu Oh, this was so great! It's one of the funniest YA books I've ever read, and was so much MORE than I expected. It centers around Jane Sinner, a depressed high school dropout attending her local community college, who decides to join the House of Orange. House of Orange is a YouTube film series centering around her and a few others where they all: live in a communal home, pay cheap rent, are filmed 24/7, and compete in challenges to win a car. (Picture a weird version of Survivor.)It sounds confusing, but it was an incredible story. NICE TRY, JANE SINNER is told in the format of Jane's diary, and it is just so damn funny. I highly, highly recommend this book.
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  • Katie Lantz
    January 1, 1970
    It will be extremely difficult for me to produce an "objective" review (if such a thing even existed), because of how strongly I related to our main character, the titular Jane Sinner. Her mental health experience so closely mirrors mine that as soon as I finished it, I shoved it in my mother's face saying, "If you want to know me, read this book." That being said, trigger warnings for depression and suicide in this novel.Jane is funny, and spunky, and sassy, and everything I wish I was. There i It will be extremely difficult for me to produce an "objective" review (if such a thing even existed), because of how strongly I related to our main character, the titular Jane Sinner. Her mental health experience so closely mirrors mine that as soon as I finished it, I shoved it in my mother's face saying, "If you want to know me, read this book." That being said, trigger warnings for depression and suicide in this novel.Jane is funny, and spunky, and sassy, and everything I wish I was. There is a running joke where she consistently messes up idioms on purpose (think "curiosity killed the cat's pajama's" or something like that) because she knows her dad hates it, and that is exactly my brand of humor. Not all of the other characters are particularly notable, but the premise is a reality tv show, like Survivor: College Edition, where people get voted off, so the characters that get the boot early understandably don't have a lot of development. The ones that stick around longer are interesting in their own ways and I enjoyed seeing Jane's interactions with them.One thing I wish there was more of was character motivation. This is hard to show with any character but Jane since this novel is in a diary format, but I wish there had been more conversations with other characters about why they had done certain things. I also wish we had gotten more of Jane's "before" personality. There are multiple mentions of her personality being a little more subdued and she kind of describes herself as a doormat, but all of that is told, not shown. Again, because this is a diary, we couldn't have a proper flashback or anything, but I would have liked to see more of that change.Both of those are small potatoes complaints given how much I love the message this book sends. It is about the drama of a reality tv show, and I loved the parts that were drama-filled, but it was unexpectedly a "mental health book" as well, and it really was more of that than the drama. I cannot separate this book and Jane herself from me, so I don't think this could ever be less than five stars. I went into this expecting something fairly lighthearted and cute, and came away with a new top 5 favorite of all time. I'll say to you all what I said to my mother: "If you want to know me, read this book."
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