Jen Brooks

Teoksen In a World Just Right tekijä

1 Work 85 jäsentä 5 arvostelua

Tekijän teokset

In a World Just Right (2015) 85 kappaletta

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I am mind blown. I am shocked. I am reeling. My heart is in shreds. This book has left me speechless. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book.

This book felt like a pretty simple romance. It had a new and novel concept, sure, but at heart it was a romance. And then I hit around page 350 and Brooks threw in a curve ball that I had barely suspected and this became so much more than just a romance. This book made me contemplate in a gorgeous way.

The best books have characters one can relate to; that's established. But Jonathan exceeded this. In third grade, he lost his family and barely survived a drastic plane crash. He's been affected ever since, even though he doesn't outright talk about it often. The realization he comes to close to the end shows how much that one event has had a lasting impact on him that it might not necessarily have needed to. I want to be this kid's friend. I want to make it better for him. I want him to make a world with me in it so that I can interact with him and just make things better. He's a genuinely good guy.

And then there's the ending. Ugh.

I didn't really relate to Kylie, but she was multifaceted and in this regard, very intriguing. I loved seeing how she changed between worlds based on Jonathan's perceptions of her and how she really was, and ultimately, why she stayed a presence with him and why he didn't get bored of her.

At the same time, seeing his separate relationships with her made me shiver. In one world, they've been inseparable practically forever, and in another, they barely make eye contact. Seeing one of these relationships deteriorate while the other grows was both wrenching and fascinating.

Small details make my whole heart clench with their perfection. Details like Jonathan's uncle. How. Why. So, so perfect. Brooks managed to slip details in without me noticing until they played their roles. The blue-eyed woman and the girl with the pink sweater additionally were set up very authentically.

The ending may have made me sob, but it was absolutely perfect.

I'm definitely looking out for Brooks's next book. Is it out yet? How about now? You should definitely read this book to gain a little hope for humanity.
… (lisätietoja)
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whakaora | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 5, 2023 |
Read this for the library's Teen Book Club. The idea of a teenage boy who can create worlds was intriguing, but I just didn't enjoy how the story was told. It was about 85% angst over a girl, 10% track practice, track meets and general running around, and 5% grief over a childhood tragedy. I was weary of this character, the narrator Jonathan, long before the book was over.
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Harks | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 17, 2022 |
When Jonathan Aubrey was just a young boy, his family was involved in a plane crash that he miraculously survived. Growing up an orphan in his inattentive Uncle Joey's house, Jonathan discovered he had a power - a power to make worlds from his own imagination, worlds that he could actually travel to and leave the pain of the world he knows behind.

Smart, beautiful track star Kylie Simms is the girl of Jonathan's dreams, but untouchable in the real world, where Jonathan is all but invisible. It doesn't matter, though, because Jonathan has created a mirror world of his own, one where Kylie loves him unconditionally, one where he has friends and runs track and lives the "normal" life that he might have had. Everything is going along okay in Jonathan's worlds until the day he mistakes one world for the other and approaches the real Kylie for a kiss. All the sudden, everything Jonathan thought he knew about his life and his power is called into question, and maybe none of Jonathan's worlds are quite what they've always seemed.

I really enjoyed In a World Just Right. It starts out as a sweet, if misguided, romance between a boy who's lost everything and the girl of his imagination. Then it morphs into a much more intriguing story as the mystery behind Jonathan's power to create parallel worlds for himself is uncoiled and the implications of it for the worlds he manipulates become startlingly clear. Jonathan is a sympathetic character, wishing to blend in and forget in the real world but desperately wanting to be a hero or the boy he could have been in the worlds he creates. He's very realistically drawn, not ruined by the tragedy of his life, but always existing with an unspeakable grief just below the surface.

The best part of the book, however, is the end. I wouldn't for a moment chance spoiling it for anybody, but I will tell you that I was surprised, I ugly cried, and it made a middle of the road romance with magical leanings blossom into something much more profound. Brooks' debut is everything I'd hoped and more, a pitch perfect novel about love that shows up in many forms and the courage it takes to face every day in the real world.
… (lisätietoja)
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yourotherleft | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 2, 2015 |
2.5 stars?For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

Most of the time, I read a book and I have really strong opinions one way or another, but sometimes I just don’t know. Aspects of In a World Just Right were brilliant and parts of it will stick with me, but other aspects fell really flat. This is one of those books where I would one hundred percent not judge anyone for having any range of reaction to it, be it hate, love, or anything in between. I put myself pretty much dead smack in the middle, because the concept was amazing, but the execution was lacking for me in some respects.

The cover alteration that In a World Just Right underwent, though not my favorite, actually is highly appropriate, because the major failure of this book for me is characterization. Jonathan never felt three dimensional to me, so the sketched outline of a person is much more fitting to my reading experience. From the first pages, I struggled with Jonathan. The narration didn’t feel like a boy to me, but I’m not sure if that was because of gender fail or because of how passionless he seemed to me despite so much of the book being about his yearning for Kylie. I never felt what Jonathan felt. Partly, this might be tied to the fact that I don’t know why he’s so into Kylie, and I don’t know of anything else in any world that he’s really into. He runs because she does. He’s only interested in college so he could be near her. Who IS Jonathan?

On the other hand, I do very much like how Jen Brooks acknowledges the creepy. Jonathan created a world where the girl he was crushing on was in love with him. In that world, he sneaks in her window at night and sleeps over regularly. (Presumably, they have sex on these evenings, but I’m not sure (see how the reader is kept at a distance from Jonathan? What person in their first person narration wouldn’t think about getting action more than Jonathan does when he’s so into Kylie?) One of the parameters of that world is that Kylie has to love him, no matter what he does.

When Jonathan confuses the real world for his dream world one day, real Kylie begins to experience emotional crossover from girlfriend Kylie and vice versa. Girlfriend Kylie begins to feel uncomfortable when he touches her; real Kylie feels drawn to this guy she’s not been close to since third grade and has no idea why. What I like about this is that it’s acknowledged as creepy and not okay. Jonathan’s aware of what he’s doing and he feels bad about it, but not quite bad enough to stop. View Spoiler » I can’t say this endeared me to Jonathan at all, since what personality he did have to me was creepy Edward stalker/Pygmalion guy, but I did appreciate the edge that it added to In a World Just Right. This part was fucked up and really made me think.

That said, I spent about 350 pages being mildly interested. I wasn’t quite bored, but I also was not engaged strongly for more than a chapter or two at a time. My progress was slow. The ending, however, brought some unexpected plot developments that were really cool, though they also make me ask more questions: How is Jonathan a worldmaker when he’s a made up Jonathan? Can all Jonathans make worlds as long as they were in the plane crash? If they merged, then MC Jonathan isn’t real Jonathan. I’m just puzzled about the boundaries on this.

The romance in In a World Just Right did nothing for me. Kylie and Jonathan are very meh together. It obviously doesn’t help that I find his obsession with her deeply unsettling. He literally created her in one instance, and she’s very much his dream girl, which I’m not comfortable with. I like the way Brooks plays with this, but I couldn’t care at all about the fact that potentially losing Kylie is the big issue. It’s not life or death; it’s life with Kylie or life possibly without Kylie. Honeybadger don’t give a shit. I’m glad that Brooks didn’t put them together officially at the end, but I wish he’d lost her for good. It feels like he might be rewarded for his creepy worldmaking, even if real Kylie may not have been impacted, but also that whole thing showed that you can’t be sure there won’t be crossover.

In a World Just Right is one of those odd books that I can’t say that I liked all that much, but that I do sort of want to push on people anyway. It’s one I would really love to discuss in a book club format, because it’s complex and mind-bendy. If any of you have read this one and have thoughts, I want to hear them!
… (lisätietoja)
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A_Reader_of_Fictions | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 2, 2015 |



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