This book is a laugh out loud funny contemporary that is super relatable and modern. The story is told from Jane’s perspective through her journal entries and conversations she’s recorded in her journal. Oh yeah, and she dropped out of high school and goes to community college to finish her degree and decides to go on a student run reality TV show called “House of Orange” to win scholarship money and a brand new used car!
Title: Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author: Lianne Oelke
Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Rating: 5/5 stars
I absolutely loved this book and thought it was a great way to start off reading in 2018. I found myself smiling and laughing almost the entire time! Jane drops out of her local high school for an unknown reason (it is later revealed to be because she attempted suicide) and goes to a community college instead to finish her degree.
While signing up for classes, she discovers a student run reality tv show called “House of Orange” where 6 contestants live together and compete in challenges, including reward and immunity challenges, before voting one person out of the house each episode. It’s like a mix of Survivor meets Big Brother. I have been an avid fan of Survivor since season 1, so this sounded awesome! Survivor, but in a house with bright orange carpeting (hence the name, “House of Orange”) and in a college environment. Sign me up too!
The community college wants to be super #hip & #modern and uses hashtags on their t-shirts and promotional brochures and its honestly hilarious how into it the teachers are! They also try and be super cool and use Facebook to message students as well (email is SO 2010). Hashtags are used throughout the story and only get more entertaining as the story progresses. (#McNugzClub – you’ll find out what this means when you read it. But you can also probably guess.)
The story is told in journal entries written by Jane with details of what happens each day and often includes conversations she’s had or heard others having. The journal style entries made this a quick and easy read for me, and the lack of chapters made it easy to never want to stop reading.
On top of dealing with college life as a psychology student/reality tv star, she has to cope with her parents wanting her to remain at home and their strong faith in Christianity while Jane has lost faith in the religion she was raised in, a bisexual best friend who still keeps her faith in Christianity, despite being bisexual and having the church question her, and a younger sister who looks up to her and misses her. Like I said, she’s relatable.
As mentioned, Jane does struggle with depression and a past suicide attempt. This is something she doesn’t want people to know or judge her present self for – she doesn’t want to be judged on her past and that is something I think we can all relate to. Our pasts shouldn’t be held against us and aren’t the only thing we are. Jane wants a fresh start with her college classes and House of Orange. This book does deal with metal health, but that isn’t the focus of it – it’s just part of who Jane is and it doesn’t stop her from living her life. Some days are better then others, and she writes that in her journal.
That being said, the things that happen in House of Orange are worthy of real life shows like Big Brother, including Jane conditioning her housemates to not eat the food she puts in her personal mini fridge. Jane’s level of sarcasm and dry humor are something I as a New Yorker easily relate to. Sarcasm is my middle name and Jane’s use of it is always on point. I can learn a thing or two from her!
I can’t recommend this book enough and I’m so happy I picked it up! I hope you enjoy it just as much!