Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Hive|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo
Source: Borrowed from library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Jessie's just arrived in New York, hoping to forget about her awful ex.
New Yorker Finn is in love with his best friend's girlfriend.
They might be perfect together, but in a city of eight million people, will they ever find each other?
Jessie Hearts NYC follows Jessie and her best friend Emma as they head across the Atlantic to spend time with Jessie's mother in New York. The girls soak up the city whilst Jessie tries to put her ex-boyfriend Tyler behind her. Meanwhile, New Yorker Finn must deal with his feelings for his best friend's girlfriend.
I loved this book. Really loved it. Read it in one afternoon kind of loved it (and I never read books in one afternoon). It was exactly the kind of fun, escapism that I needed, with a brilliantly clever plot that kept me hooked to the pages.
Firstly, I love books that transport you to new places. Reading Jessie Hearts NYC felt like I was getting on that plane with Jessie, and when she was seeing the sights and exploring, I was right there with her. I finished the book and wanted to plan my own trip to NYC right away! What I loved was the inclusion of references to films and TV shows set in New York. I'm a huge Friends fan so obviously I was waiting for those mentions (and I wasn't disappointed!) but I just loved how it incorporated all the pop culture stuff. It really helped me feel like I was escaping.
The book is told in third person and flicks between Jessie and Finn's perspectives. Their stories start out quite separate and they're brought together by being in the same place at the same time. One minute you're with Jessie in a coffee shop, the next you're with Finn in that same coffee shop. There are little interactions between the two characters and you end up rooting for them to finally meet properly and get a chance to speak to each other. I loved how the book played with the idea of fate and being in the right place at the right time.
One of my favourite things about the book was Finn himself who is so just so loveable! When we meet him he's head over heels for his best friend Scott's girlfriend Sam and he just dotes on her all the time. He's caring and sweet and you want to bash Sam over the head for not seeing that. At the same time he's still a great friend to Scott. He's definitely up there with my favourite male YA characters.
Both Jessie and Finn are at a time in their life where they're having to make decisions about their future. I really related to that and how they're spending the summer discovering more about themselves and what they want. For Jessie, that means deciding whether her heart lies in New York with her mum or back in Manchester with her dad, and for Finn he must decide what he truly wants to study as opposed to what his parents want him to. As well as being relatable these decisions also really drove the plot forward and kept me hooked to find out what the two characters would end up doing.
Jessie Hearts NYC is definitely a book I wish I'd read when I was younger (or a book I wish I'd written when I was younger!). It encapsulates a lot of those fears you have as a teen about relationships and family. I loved the relationship between Jessie and her mum and how they have to overcome that tension between them caused my her mum's work and the distance between them. I also loved getting inside Jessie's head as she worries about boys.
There's so much more I could say about this book but for now I'm just going to urge you all to go out and read it. It has everything you could want in a YA novel from friendship and family to a wonderful love story and some great humour. I can see it being a book I go back to year on year to take with me whilst I go on holiday or something. And I can't wait to read more by this author!
What to read next: Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton
Books like this: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith