Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Review: THIS ORDINARY LIFE by Jennifer Walkup

by Jennifer Walkup
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Published by Luminus Books, Inc.
Pages: 240
Source: JKS Communications for Review
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound

from Goodreads

Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around. 

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future. 

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her. 

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

My Thoughts

This Ordinary Life is the second novel by author Jennifer Walkup, but it is the first novel of hers that I've read. I wanted to read this book because of its focus on the relationships between Jasmine and her brother Danny and Jasmine and her mother. I am drawn to stories about families and this one appealed to me. I also liked that there was potential for romance, and the main character is a high school radio host which sounded like a fun job/hobby, so I had to give it a chance.

I think that Jasmine is an incredible character. She's responsible (because she has to be), but she finds power in her voice and lets people know she's had it with their BS. She has expectations of others and doesn't want to accept less. There is a confidence about her that is admirable and this made me really like reading her story. 

Another thing I like about This Ordinary Life is the support that Jasmine has from other people. She is the responsible person in her household, but she does have supportive people around her - friends, their parents, and teachers. And she accepts their help. She knows she can't do it all herself and while she wants her mother to be more of a mother, she relies on others to help her out when her mother isn't present. She is a teenager and shouldn't be expected to do it all on her own.

Even though the romance between Jasmine, aka Sunny, and Wes isn't the main focus, I can't help but mentioning how much I love that part of the storyline. After the disastrous end to her previous relationship, Jasmine has declared relationships off limits, but "Then she meets Wes" . . .  He makes her laugh and helps her through all the hard times, and her shows her how he can be a friend to her. Some of my favorite moments were their back and forth bantering texts to each other. This added humor to the story which could get heavy at times. 

I really enjoyed This Ordinary Life for its story and the characters. There were times that the story was a bit slow, but it didn't hinder my overall reading experience. I would have liked more scenes Jasmine and her best friend Frankie because it was nice to read those parts where you saw Jasmine more as the teenager that she is. 

The Cover: 
I love the colors and the images. The New York City skyline, the record, and the headphones make an impression and provide a glimpse of what the story is about. If I saw this cover in the bookstore, I would be convinced to pick it up and check it out.   

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporary and stories about families.

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from JKS Communications in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. So excited to read this now! Really great review. If you like stories about families you should definitely check out The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle - it's technically fantasy but there's a whole lot of really interesting family stuff in there too!

    Hannah x

    1. Thanks for that recommendation! My book club is reading The Accident Season next month. Now I'm interested in it even more.


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