Series: Hundred Oaks
Release Date: 1 July 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Add it: Goodreads
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?
Jesse’s Girl has been one of the most unexpectedly fun books I’ve read this year. It’s such a cute summer read; it’s funny and sweet and just a really feel-good kind of novel. Although I’d already read another book by Kenneally previous to this one , Breathe, Annie, Breathe, which I thought was readable but could have been better, it was Jesse’s Girl that made me want to catch up with the rest of the Hundred Oaks series. I do plan on reading all of them now and I will do that…eventually.
Okay so, I will pretty much read or watch anything that has a southern vibe with bonus country music in it. It’s a big part of the reason why I love shows like Hart of Dixie and Friday Night Lights (TEXAS FOREVER). One of my favourite reads this year was Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer, a gorgeous book that reads like a love letter to everything that embodies the South. So yeah, I snapped up Jesse’s Girl almost straight away.
Set (mostly) in Nashville, the story follows Maya Henry, a teenage girl whose musical tastes run near opposite to her hometown’s famous country roots. With dreams of becoming a musician like her eighties idols Queen, Maya is assigned to shadow the guy version of Taylor Swift for her school’s…career day? Something to do with careers. Enter Jesse Scott, country singer and teen heartthrob. I picture him as a Zac Efron kinda guy, which made him just that little bit more dreamy. Dude has totally got that crooked smile thing down.
I mean, it’s not what you’d call unpredictable what happens between Jesse and Maya – their romance is pretty much a given but that doesn’t make it any less sweet. Despite their circumstances they develop a solid relationship built on friendship; the sexual aspect especially impressed me. I love that Kenneally doesn’t swerve around the sex part of relationships but chooses instead to show her readers exactly what consensual sex between partners should look like. Maya is sexually active but an important part of her background is that she’s never been with a guy who pays attention to her desires. Jesse ‘Zefron’ Scott, however, is ALL about that orgasm life – he’s attentive and caring, just a little bit naughty and very, very sexy. I loved it, and I think Kenneally can’t be praised enough for her approach to sex and relationships.
The characters are also so much fun. I grew to love Maya, loved her relationship with her family, all of whom are vibrant and full of personality (Sam and Jordan are OTP, okay). I loved Maya’s friends and while Jesse verges on Tragedy Prince status with his backstory, he still has relationships outside of Maya that are adorable. Okay, so mostly he has a relationship with his cat and his uncle but it’s still cute. I didn’t expect to like Jesse as much as I did but he is a great character. I loved him as a love interest, thought he was a good friend and a fantastic boyfriend. Plus: he can play a guitar and sings. Sign me up, where can I find one?
There was a lot to love about Jesse’s Girl. Some of the humour is so tongue-in-cheek, like the gentle digs at country music. Jesse writes a song about having sex on a tractor and I laughed SO hard because um, that actually exists as a song already. Let me point you guys to Kenny Chesney’s ‘She thinks my tractor is sexy’ because oh man, country music really is something else at times. I loved that the chapters were song titles, I loved that Jesse and Maya spend hours shopping for cowboy boots (my children!), I love that they write songs together…I loved it all. It really is a perfect summer read.
One last thing: have fun reading this book while not hearing Jesse’s Girl in your head every time you read Jesse’s name. That song was legit stuck in my head for DAYS.