Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman

308 pages
Published August 1st 2012 
Published By: CreateSpace 
A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B. 
When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now. 
Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.

First of all, let me introduce you to the Jelly Bean Theory
"Jelly beans have reputations. The pink ones are better than the green ones, the purple ones are better than the yellow ones, and the red ones taste the best. So, save the red ones for last. if you eat the best ones first, there's nothing but green and yellow in your future. You should build on the flavors, knowing that they're only going to get better and better."
It sounds pretty awesome, right? Poppy's way of thinking is quite simple. Get the boring stuff out of the way first because you'll have the "red jelly beans" to look forward to.  In theory, this novel is a coming of age tale of a teenage girl struggling with the pressure of college and how her decisions today will shape her future.  While I enjoyed the story enough to read it in its entirely, I wasn't particularly impressed. I think my main issue with the book was the main character. Oh, Poppy. I wanted to like you! I did! I even though I could relate to you! But I didn't and couldn't. While Poppy is painted as intelligent and well beyond her years, I felt like her dialogue--both internal/external---was immature and lacked substance. Most of the time I had a nagging feeling that she was years younger than sixteen. I know, sixteen is not the age to be wise or mature but since the whole point of her meltdown is the fact that she is destined for Columbia and won a prestigious award, I expected an old soul of sorts.  She was impatient and a little rude. I just had too many issues with her to really care about her journey or her "issues." On the other side of the spectrum, Poppy's grandmother was awesome. I would read her life story in a heartbeat.  

As far as the story itself, I enjoyed it. It was slightly predictable but I didn't really mind. The pacing was a little off and the story didn't flow very well.  Most of the time it felt like a never ending sequence of work-quit-work-quit-work-etc without anything substantial happening in between. I found it a little unrealistic that Poppy was able to land so many jobs in such a small amount of time, often with absolutely no gap between them.  Also, the romance portion of the story felt forced and like an afterthought. I didn't see much of a use for it other than for one of Poppy's possible career idea.  For some reason or the other, the story itself didn't come off as a young adult book. I kept picturing myself reading a book exactly like this one sometime in my middle school years. So, does it read like a middle-grade novel or am I too old to understand that a sixteen year old can be portrayed as being really young and immature? I'm not sure.   

If you're looking for a light, sweet novel then you should give this a read. If you want something with a little bit more depth, I'm not too sure you'll find it here. 

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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