This Is Not the Jess Show/the Real World by Anna Carey

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I haven’t turned pages this quickly in a while! Anna Carey’s This Is Not the Jess Show is an exciting thriller that never gets too heavy, making for a fun-but-thoughtful escape read from start to finish. Think The Truman Show meets Black Mirror meets the 1990s. Soooo much ’90s nostalgia (even in the titles of the books)! A lot of the psychological implications I felt were missing in The Truman Show—especially having seen it as a very young adult—was explored much more thoroughly in this book. Or, at least, This Is Not the Jess Show better connects with the psyche of a teen audience.

I enjoyed reading This Is Not the Jess Show so much, I dove straight into its sequel, This Is Not the Real World. (And I’m the type of reader who usually would pick up something different in between…and probably forget to ever read the sequel. So this says a lot!) The sequel slows down just a bit, but it’s still a page-turner. Now that the premise of the first book has been completely revealed, it has time to explore the impact of social media on our lives, on reality, and especially our relationships with one another. All the thoughts I had when reading This Is Not the Jess Show were addressed in This Is Not the Real World—and the near-future setting was super cool, too.

If you’re looking for a thrilling “what is real in the age of social media” and can’t-put-this-book-down reading experience, be sure to pick up both of these and enjoy the escape from this reality that they’ll bring!

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