Saturday 19 May 2012

Review: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

from goodreads

It’s the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She’s not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn’t sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn’t start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn’t want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn’t want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy’s boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.


In many ways, Jersey Angel seemed like it could be a light yet memorable read. I could feel the sun and sand in my toes just by reading the synopsis back in January. Unfortunately, the book failed to deliver.

Angel lives in the Jersey Shore all year round. Jersey Angel starts out in the beginning of summer with Joey, her on-again off-again boyfriend, deciding that he needs to be taken seriously. He tells Angel he's not going to get back together with her until she's ready to take him seriously; as more than someone she hooks up with and breaks it off with as and when it suits her. And um, for the most part of the book (which stretches into fall and then winter)... Angel is Angel. All she wants out of life is to remain young, pretty and carefree forever. She sleeps with almost everyone, including her best friend's boyfriend and seems vulnerable and confused about what awaits her after high school.

I couldn't stand most of the decisions Angel made, especially decisions related to sex. But more than anything, I was concerned and worried about where those decisions would lead her as there was so much more to Angel. She seemed smart and like she maybe did care about how one decision of hers might affect her best friend but she kept pushing it to the back of her mind. She seemed strong and independent and I wanted to scream, Stay when she ran out in the middle of her SAT exam and stop her every time she did something stupid and fell back into the same old pattern.

Angel wasn't mean-spirited. She was confident and in some ways more mature than the average seventeen year old. She knows that she's probably going to community college as she doesn't have the grades or money to make it beyond that. I loved how she wasn't rattled when she overheard an overly pompous high schooler say as much. High school was probably as good as it got for Angel and she seemed to accept that. There were many instances in the book, particularly towards the end, when I wanted to give her a big hug.

She slept with her best friend's boyfriend. More than once. And justified it in a million ways. I couldn't respect her after that.

There were many instances in the book when I realised that there were not many books that had main characters like Angel. Girls like her are usually secondary characters who are badmouthed. I was curious about Joey and the history he shared with Angel and by the time I'd got to know him better, I definitely liked him best. His conversations with Angel were different and hilarious and he brought out the best in her.

I wish I found the other characters just as likable but most of them were one-dimensional and some I downright detested. I think other than Joey, the only other character I sort of found endearing was Mimi, Angel's sister. I wish the plot had gone somewhere. I wish I could've liked this book more... I wanted to, just like I wanted Angel to get somewhere in her life. The writing was great and some parts felt real and poignant. Unfortunately, most of the book was full of bad decisions and lacked real plot or direction to make any sort of impact.

Publication date: 8th May, 2012
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House Children's Books
Source: NetGalley

Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Jersey Angel wasn't the book for me but you may enjoy it. Though I didn't love the main character, I can see how others might find her refreshing and as I said before, the writing is pretty good. 


  1. I can totally see what you mean, Ajoop. I read some reviews that point similar things like yours: they can't stand Angel. I agree that Angel is not the usual heroine, it's usually the girlfriend who get backstabbed or the young girl with racy older sister. It might be very refreshing to read from her POV, but personally, Angel doesn't sound like someone I'd love to hang out with. :/

    Love your tactful and beautiful review, Ajoop! Although you didn't love this book, I'm glad you can still find things you enjoy in Jersey Angel! :)

  2. I've heard this isn't very good, what a disappointment because the cover looks good!

  3. I realize that books about character growth are supposed to have unlikable heroines at the beginning, but sometimes a character just reaches the point of no redemption! Sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend would definitely cross that line.
    Too bad this didn't work for you, the cover almost lured me in.
    Thanks for your honesty!

  4. I won't even date any of my best friend's EX-boyfriends, so the fact that she sleeps with her best friend's boyfriend makes me cringe! I'm so sorry that this fell a little flat for you -- Angel doesn't seem like the most common (or likable) character, but I think it's kind of cool how she sort of plays the badmouthed secondary character type! You really don't see many authors out there willing to take that risk :)

    Thanks so much for the beautiful honest review, Ajoop! <3

  5. Gosh, Angel sounds like a character that I would have no interest reading about.
    I absolutely hate characters about her.
    If there's one thing that I cannot tolerate is the whole dating/sleeping with your best friend's or friend's bf. That's just despicable.
    Thanks for the honest review. :)

  6. I can see why you didn't like the book... It's alright if a character makes a mistake, but repeatedly making mistakes? That makes me want to hit myself with the book. Unfortunately, Angel seems like a character I most definitely wouldn't connect with. And yeah, sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend... Simply no.

    So sad to hear that! It definitely seemed like a very nice summer read. Great honest review, Ajoop! <3

  7. @Hilda Yeah, Angel's POV was kind of refreshing but it just wasn't for me. I'm sure others might love it :)

    @VeganYANerds Yeah, the cover's pretty! Rosie & Skate's cover (another novel by the same author) has the same cover theme. I like that :)

    @Maja Yup, this one sadly didn't work for me but I can see how it might work for others :)

    @Mimi It's definitely a risk, making the usual secondary character type the main character and I appreciated that! Too bad I didn't love the book, though.

    @Nick I know, right. Some characters, I just can't take and Angel was one of them.

    @Sophie It could be a great read for some. This book had some great parts and storylines. Too bad certain things put me off it!! Thanks for stopping by, Sophie :)


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)