Sunday, December 08, 2019


Cotteril, Jo. Jelly
January 7th 2020 by Yellow Jacket
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Angelica feels a bit awkward in her school, so she acts out by being the class clown. It seems to work-- before the mean kids can make the joke, she makes it, so she doesn't look like a victim. Home life is a little rough; her mother tends to date men who treat her badly, and the writing is on the wall for the latest boyfriend. Jelly (as she is known) tries to help her mother out as best she can, not complaining about things and trying to appease her difficult grandfather. When a school talent competition is announced, Jelly thinks she will do a stand up comic routine, but she secretly writes angsty poetry that helps her deal with her life. When her mother's new boyfriend, Lennon, starts to encourage Jelly to play harmonica and share her poetry (even turning one into a song), she starts to think that perhaps overcompensating with comedy is not necessary.
Strengths: This was a body positive title with a strong main character who had good coping skills. While Jelly is heavier than most of her classmates, she is also portrayed as a strong soccer player, and the story doesn't concentrate on her weight. The thing I liked best was her having to deal with her mother's boyfriends, and her sense of loss when her mother breaks up with Lennon, if only for a while. Adults coming and going from tweens lives is not covered much in literature, and can be fairly traumatic.
Weaknesses: This has been compared to Judy Blume because of its frank discussion of periods; that was my least favorite part of Blume's book, especially as a tween. I am also personally not a fan of poetry written by characters in books.
What I really think: There's been a resurgence in interest in my Cathy Cassidy and Jacqueline Wilson titles, so I will be purchasing this very British feeling story. I think the cover will age well. Now, if I could just get the Louise Rennison Georgia Nicholson books to circulate!
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. This looks like fun. It is a funny coincidence that I recently reviewed a 2020 debut that features a mc who wants to do stand-up. Just last week, I pulled Erica Perl's All Three Stooges off the shelf in Reader's Advisory. Other than Korman's Maxx Comedy, I can't think of any other books.