Review: The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson by Paige Toon

Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Title: The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK
Publication Date: 30th January 2014
Pages: 308
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Jessie has always wanted to find her real dad. But when her mum dies in a tragic accident, she thinks any hope of discovering the truth is gone too.

It isn't until Jessie goes off the rails, that her stepdad makes a shocking announcement: her father is legendary rock star and former hell-raiser, Johnny Jefferson. Suddenly finding herself the daughter of a global superstar, Jessie is soon sucked into the LA lifestyle - paparazzi, parties and hot guitar-wielding boys included!

But despite the excitement, Jessie's still reeling from her mother's death and the revelation about Johnny. Can he live up to her expectations and help her move on? One thing's for sure, Jessie's tiny little world has just got a whole lot bigger...

After receiving a review copy of I Knew You Were Trouble, I knew that I had to read the first book in the Jessie Jefferson series beforehand. I know that Paige Toon's army of fans have raved about her first Young Adult book and I was so excited to finally be reading it. I love all things Hollywood and so I couldn't wait to read about a normal girl who finds her world turned upside down when she discovers her father is a famous global rock star. That normal girl is Jessie, who has gone off the rails after the death of her mother. Her stepdad finally reveals who her father is: legendary rock star Johnny Jefferson. Jessie is soon on a plane to LA straight to the mansion of her father, and she soon finds herself sucked into the LA lifestyle.

Paige writes the character of Jessie brilliantly, really giving the reader an insight into her thoughts and feelings. She isn't the most perfect character in the beginning but she's grieving and feeling a little lost in the world, so her actions are understandable. Jessie is such a relateable character for young girls, especially in some of the observations she makes about her mother. I think we are all guilty of taking our parents for granted, and I think this book might at times remind readers not to do that. The journey that Jessie goes on over the course of the story was a highlight (this book flew by) and she is a character that I cannot wait to read about again.

Jessie is such an easy character to like because she's just so normal. Her first reaction to finding out her father is rich and famous isn't about what he can provide for her financially, she just wants to get to know the man that fathered her. That's not to say the fact that he's loaded isn't an added bonus, but Jessie has that awestruck feeling that I think most people have upon arriving in Los Angeles, plus she is actually staying in a mansion and not driving past on one of those tacky tour of the stars homes buses. I loved witnessing LA through Jessie's eyes, it's a place that I am desperate to visit. From start to finish the story is action-packed and exciting. 

This was my first time meeting Johnny Jefferson and his wife Meg which was both a negative and a bonus. A negative in the sense that I wish I already knew them and felt a connection towards them but at the same time Jessie was also meeting them for the first time so it was new to the both of us. Meg's reaction was very believable, she didn't know Jessie and a lot of people are quick to judge and jump to conclusions, like Meg does with Jessie. I think there are probably a lot of similarities in Jessie and Meg's stories in terms of how they arrived and settled in to life in LA and I did enjoy the progression of their relationship throughout the story.

Of course there's romance in the book. That Paige Toon love triangle that divides readers so well. I obviously can't say too much but there's certainly scope for some interesting developments in book two and I imagine readers will be much the same as Jessie: torn over which direction her life should be going in, and who with! I'm interested to see how things progress in the sequel, and how Jessie's life changes going forward. Paige Toon shows with The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson that she can write YA fiction just as well as she writes adult fiction and it is a book that I highly recommend to Paige Toon fans old and new, and old and young!

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