Review of So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

About the book:

New York’s social darling just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma. Problem is, it’s right where God wants her.

Bella Kirkwood had it all: A-list friends at her prestigious private school, Broadway in her backyard, and Daddy’s MasterCard in her wallet. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.

When Bella’s mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet–a factory worker with two bratty sons–Bella has to pack up and move in with her new family in Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less!

Forced to trade her uber-trendy NYC lifestyle for down-home charm, Bella feels like a pair of Rock & Republic jeans in a sea of Wranglers.

At least some of the people in her new high school are pretty cool. Especially the hunky football player who invites her to lunch. And maybe even the annoying–but kinda hot–editor of the school newspaper.

But before long, Bella smells something rotten in the town of Truman, and it’s not just the cow pasture. With her savvy reporter’s instincts, she is determined to find the story behind all the secrets.

How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God appears to be giving her the total smackdown?

My review:

Jenny B. Jones is the queen of all things funny. So Not Happening has it all. Romance, intrigue, humor, mystery, yummy kisses, hilarious and memorable moments, etc. The author’s unusual way of phrasing things is always original and the character’s internal dialog is often downright hysterical (like one character’s thoughts about the mixture of pills they are forced to take.) I’ve learned to read Jenny’s books in the privacy of my own home to avoid potential embarrassment in public.

Yet, the author has her serious moments, too. While dealt with in a light-hearted manner, the issues her characters encounter are not easy. On a stress scale from one to ten Bella ranks about a twenty in this story. When things get bad the author turn it up another notch and increases the pressure. She had me squirming with the suspense element, too. The plot was very strong and the tension kept building.

The subtle attraction between Bella and several other characters made me smile, too. I loved the way the author drew her characters together in a romantic sense. That undercover stuff was especially delicious in one particular scene. It’s hard not to impart a spoiler here because I want to tell you what I loved so much about that scene, but I’ll refrain. There were so many great things that happened in this book. I just don’t want to share them and ruin your fun. I am desperately wanting to read the next installment.

Bottom line…I’m hooked on this series and I’ve only just started it. Not only is this book making my best fiction of 2009 list, it’s also presently my favorite Jenny B. Jones story. I didn’t think anything could top her other YA series with the psycho grandma, but she did it with this book.

I highly recommend anything this author writes because there is always a solid message underlying the story that inspires me. The author knows human behavior and her characterization is flawless. She’s the best author in the CBA when it comes to developing likeable, unique, quirky characters who are memorable, and yet very real at the same time.

So Not Happening was published by Thomas Nelson and released in May 2009.

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