Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

Jersey Angel 
by Beth Ann Bauman
Published by Random House Children's Books
Published May 8, 2012
Pages: 208
Source: Random Buzzers Ambuzzadors/Random House

It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.

My Thoughts

When I first heard about Jersey Angel, I desperately wanted to read it. I loved the fun summertime cover and the premise sounded promising. Then the grumblings started and low starred reviews were popping up. I would gloss over the reviews reading a comment here or there, but never a complete review because I didn't want my decision to read Jersey Angel and my opinion of the book to be swayed entirely. But I did decide that it wasn't an immediate "must-read" for me. I could take it or leave it. So when I received the Jersey Angel from Random Buzzers, I had to take a moment and reconsider because there must be something about this book worth talking about if they are putting it in the hands of their Ambuzzadors (ambassadors) to share.

Jersey Angel had me from the get go. Once I picked it up, I just couldn't put it down. And when I did, I couldn't wait to get back to it. Bauman's writing style is quick, descriptive, and immediately pulled me in.

This book is not for everyone. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. But I'm not indifferent to it either. Beth Ann Bauman has written a book that I want to talk about. Her character Angel is unlike many others in many books I've read because she is very sexually active teenager. Sex in young adult books isn't unheard of. Like most readers, I get swept up in the romance of young love and with the anticipation of will they or won't they. And often we want it to happen. I mean, just look at all of the
Twilight readers who stuck through the whole series to see Bella and Edward finally get together. (I am one of them) The difference with Jersey Angel is that, while it isn't graphically described, there is quite a bit of sex throughout the novel. Also, Angel doesn't always make the best choices in who she does have sex with. She does cross the line, in my opinion, and I certainly wouldn't want her to be my best friend. But I am a little forgiving of the characters I read. I wanted to see where her decisions would lead her and what would happen with her friendships.

There is also a level on confusion that Angel experiences as a result of her sexual relationships. She wants to get back with her on-again off-again boyfriend, Joey, but he has other plans. She is just beginning to realize how her actions can affect her future relationships and what people think about her. Bauman only touches the surface of these new feelings Angel is experiencing leaving many situations unsettled. The story ended a little too abruptly for me. I could have imagined a little more resolve than what was given.

Like I said before, this book isn't for everyone. But I do think that readers should forget what they think they know about Jersey girls from watching The Jersey Shore (they really don't compare) and give Jersey Angel a chance.

Other books recommended:
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky and The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.

Disclaimer: I received this advanced reading copy for review from Random Buzzers/Random House. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. Sounds interesting. I wonder if the author had to make cuts at the end to shorten the ending or if she has plans for a second book. Most of the reviews I have read are not great so I think I'll pass on this book.

  2. Ha! I almost chose this book to review but something was holding me back. Doesn't sound like I would have liked it.
    Always listen to that little voice in your head!

  3. While I did enjoy this book, I didn't like Angel. I think you're totally right though: it's a book which people would either love or hate. and I'm right with you– in the middle! Need to write my review for this one :P Yours is fabulous! :D

    Confessions of a Readaholic

  4. Cari - I don't know if it was cut short for a second book, but I would read more about this character. There was something about her that just seemed so real. When I was a teenager, I had a friend like her so maybe that is why I wasn't shocked that much by her behavior.

    Rabiah - It's strange because I did enjoy the book too. The main characters don't always have to be likeable to enjoy a story. I'm interested to read your review - there are a variety of opinions on this book. I love the discussion that it is raising among its readers.

  5. This one sounds interesting. I like that the main character is... I don't know sexual? I guess that sounds weird, but most of the time in YA the characters are just so... innocent. Well at least at the beginning of the books.

    Great review!

  6. Great review. I wasn't sure about this one at first, but I think I might give it a try. Why not? Thanks for sharing!
    ~Shelby @ Gobs and Gobs of Books

  7. It sounds like a perfect summer read.


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