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Love, Jacaranda

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn comes a tale of taking a chance on love and letting your inner voice soar. Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefac From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn comes a tale of taking a chance on love and letting your inner voice soar. Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefactor offers her a life-changing opportunity—a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. Eager to start over somewhere new, Jacaranda leaps at the chance. She pours her heart out in emails to the benefactor she’s never met. Suddenly she’s swept up in a world of privilege where the competition is fierce and the talent is next level. As Jacaranda—Jackie to her new friends—tries to find her place, a charming boy from this world of wealth catches her eye. She begins to fall for him, but can he accept her for who she really is?


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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn comes a tale of taking a chance on love and letting your inner voice soar. Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefac From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn comes a tale of taking a chance on love and letting your inner voice soar. Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefactor offers her a life-changing opportunity—a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. Eager to start over somewhere new, Jacaranda leaps at the chance. She pours her heart out in emails to the benefactor she’s never met. Suddenly she’s swept up in a world of privilege where the competition is fierce and the talent is next level. As Jacaranda—Jackie to her new friends—tries to find her place, a charming boy from this world of wealth catches her eye. She begins to fall for him, but can he accept her for who she really is?

30 review for Love, Jacaranda

  1. 5 out of 5

    TMR

    Note: An ARC was granted generously by the publisher HarperTeen, the author, Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited for this novel, one because the cover is cute as hell, two some of my friends loved it and I in general loved the summary. SO these were obvious reasons why I requested an ARC from Edelweiss. But then it all fell to...nothing. Disappointed me beyond hope. So let me tell you how it all happened. First of all the cover - The cover was cute as hell, a guy and a gi Note: An ARC was granted generously by the publisher HarperTeen, the author, Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited for this novel, one because the cover is cute as hell, two some of my friends loved it and I in general loved the summary. SO these were obvious reasons why I requested an ARC from Edelweiss. But then it all fell to...nothing. Disappointed me beyond hope. So let me tell you how it all happened. First of all the cover - The cover was cute as hell, a guy and a girl holding each other at night, so yeah cute as heck image and I liked it immediately: 1. the night. 2. the couple. SO yeah definitely a favorite cover of mine. Hence a star. Second - The summary - Jacaranda is a girl who has a talent of singing even though lives in a poor condition, works and still goes to school and behaves like a normal 16 year old as best as she can. One day while singing for a customer at the supermarket she works at, she gets viral after being filmed there. Soon her life changes after a mysterious benefactor offers to pay for everything and send her to a prestigious music school. There she embarks on a life changing path, meeting new friends, finding love and navigating the world of music and finding her place among the prodigies and the rich ones who don't have much talent. A good summary. Not so cliche but not that original. I liked it, hence the star. But then it all blew like a volcano on my face. ONE thing that completely ruined it all- the formatting of the writing. Look, she originally started off as a POV. But then somehow magically, it all switched to letter writing. I don't like being mislead like this. Hence my DNF. The author should try to stick to one writing style and not manipulate or trick a reader into writing something and making them think that it's still the same. So a miss for me, alas. Maybe someone else will like it. But I certainly didn't. I might not even try her other novels for this misleading. So yeah, DNFed. Not recommended. Until the next read, TMR

  2. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    A book about a girl who hasn't lived an easy life. Then she is granted a paid scholarship to a art school in Michigan. This book is written in emails which I liked bit didnt at the same time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    dani

    when i read the synopsis i was thrilled and excited and oh boy, was i wrong. i started reading and i was intrigued by the writing style, how it was structured; i completely loved how different it was, and by the circumstances it was molded. however, as i processed her personality, what she was going through and how detached i felt from the story; i despised it. it felt like i was reading a book where the characters are 10 years old. it was a horrible experience to say the least. *special thanks to when i read the synopsis i was thrilled and excited and oh boy, was i wrong. i started reading and i was intrigued by the writing style, how it was structured; i completely loved how different it was, and by the circumstances it was molded. however, as i processed her personality, what she was going through and how detached i felt from the story; i despised it. it felt like i was reading a book where the characters are 10 years old. it was a horrible experience to say the least. *special thanks to edelweiss+ and harperteen for the arc*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Jacaranda loved to sing, and she was doing just that, as she bagged groceries at Publix. Little did she know, a recording of her would go viral and attract the attention of a generous anonymous benefactor, who wanted to send her to the Midwestern Arts Academy. Jacaranda knew this was the chance of lifetime, but wondered if she had the talent to make the cut at MAA. Jacaranda had not had it easy. Her mother was an addict who would bring dangerous men into their lives. After her mother was impriso Jacaranda loved to sing, and she was doing just that, as she bagged groceries at Publix. Little did she know, a recording of her would go viral and attract the attention of a generous anonymous benefactor, who wanted to send her to the Midwestern Arts Academy. Jacaranda knew this was the chance of lifetime, but wondered if she had the talent to make the cut at MAA. Jacaranda had not had it easy. Her mother was an addict who would bring dangerous men into their lives. After her mother was imprisoned for attempted murder, while protecting them, Jacaranda was bounced around several foster homes. No, Jacaranda had not had it easy, but she kept her head up and held on her dreams. I had so much space in my heart for this sweet and charming young woman, and I was happy to cheer her on as she embarked on her next chapter at the school of the arts. This was an epistolary novel, and therefore, I spent a whole lot of time in Jacaranda's head which I rather enjoyed. Most of her letters related to her daily ins and outs, while she shared her past and her emotions in others. It was wonderful watching her life change from letter to letter. She made friends, learned new skills, and even fell in love. And each detail was conveyed via a voice that was clear and honest. It broke my heart that Jacaranda felt like she had to hide pieces of herself. She worried that coming from an economically disadvantaged background and having a mother who was incarcerated would bring the wrong kind of attention. She struggled with the guilt of not being herself, with not being honest, throughout the book, and it hampered her friendships. Yet, it didn't dampen my love for her, because Jacaranda was so sweet and endearing, and I just wanted everything to go her way. The story may be a bit predictable, but I think people will delight in meeting Jacaranda and watching her dreams come true. I know I did, and I was also really proud of all the ways she grew. Overall, I appreciated this story about a girl, who when given an opportunity, she grabbed on with two hands and worked and worked to get closer to achieving her dreams. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Reed Fischer

    Not-put-downable from start to finish! I had the privilege of reading this ARC and devoured it in one sitting. This novel is definitely my favorite out of all of Alex Flinn's books. You will root for Jackie (Jacaranda) all the way from its beginning to its satisfying ending. I love the characters, especially the many layers of Jackie, including her heart and humor. Flinn gives readers the dream of every talented person: to get discovered. Many young adults who are singers, dancers, and actors wi Not-put-downable from start to finish! I had the privilege of reading this ARC and devoured it in one sitting. This novel is definitely my favorite out of all of Alex Flinn's books. You will root for Jackie (Jacaranda) all the way from its beginning to its satisfying ending. I love the characters, especially the many layers of Jackie, including her heart and humor. Flinn gives readers the dream of every talented person: to get discovered. Many young adults who are singers, dancers, and actors will love the world of a prestigous boarding school of the arts, which Flinn depicts in delicious detail. From the comaraderie to the rivalry, the alternating confidence and insecurity, readers of all ages will relate to Jacaranda's journey, as well as those of other characters as well. The author also serves up twists that kept me turning pages well past my bedtime, and of course, a beautiful romance. Just writing this review is making me want to read it again. Looking forward to a movie deal for this one. I loved this book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shar // sunsnacksseries

    I read this book in less than 12 hours. I really enjoyed the format of this book. The story was written through a series of emails from Jacaranda to a mysterious person who gives her a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. She hasn't had it easy. Her mother was imprisoned for convicted murder and she's bounced around in several foster homes. So she's excited to go to the new school, for a new adventure and opportunities. Although this story was predictable at times I read this book in less than 12 hours. I really enjoyed the format of this book. The story was written through a series of emails from Jacaranda to a mysterious person who gives her a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. She hasn't had it easy. Her mother was imprisoned for convicted murder and she's bounced around in several foster homes. So she's excited to go to the new school, for a new adventure and opportunities. Although this story was predictable at times, I liked the gentle romance, the drama, and watching Jacaranda grow as a person. I love an MC who chases after their dreams, and she did just that. Thank you to Epic Reads for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    Enjoyed this modern retelling of Daddy Long Legs: https://perfectretort.blogspot.com/20... Enjoyed this modern retelling of Daddy Long Legs: https://perfectretort.blogspot.com/20...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Full disclosure: I'm a HUGE Alex Flinn fan. Her newest book, Love, Jacaranda, is an epistolary novel (it's told all in e-mails) and the style works beautifully. Main character Jacaranda is a foster child, living in Miami, working as a Publix bagger. Her life changes dramatically after a video of an impromptu singing performance goes viral, and a mysterious benefactor - "John Smith" - sends an emissary to offer Jacaranda the opportunity to attend a boarding school for the performing arts in Michi Full disclosure: I'm a HUGE Alex Flinn fan. Her newest book, Love, Jacaranda, is an epistolary novel (it's told all in e-mails) and the style works beautifully. Main character Jacaranda is a foster child, living in Miami, working as a Publix bagger. Her life changes dramatically after a video of an impromptu singing performance goes viral, and a mysterious benefactor - "John Smith" - sends an emissary to offer Jacaranda the opportunity to attend a boarding school for the performing arts in Michigan. Though "Mr. Smith" wants to remain anonymous, Jacaranda e-mails him regularly about her life and experiences, and the story unfolds through her emails. Her suitemate's cousin Jarvis takes an interest in her, and the development of their love story is so sweet. The book is a retelling of the 1912 novel Daddy Long Legs, and as with her fairy tale retellings, Flinn does an excellent job of updating and modernizing an older text for a new generation of readers. Highly recommend!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    4 stars, probably closer to 4 1/2. RTC

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pixie 🍜

    I want to take the opportunity to thank both Alex Flinn who personally offered to let me read this ARC and her lovely publishers in exchange for an honest review. So in that vein of thought I’d like to write this in the style of the book. Dear Ms. Flinn, I’ve been reading your work ever since Beastly and you wouldn’t believe the times your words have helped me. They really have. I was so shocked and excited when you reached out to my on Instagram and asked if I’d like to read this. I cried! I rea I want to take the opportunity to thank both Alex Flinn who personally offered to let me read this ARC and her lovely publishers in exchange for an honest review. So in that vein of thought I’d like to write this in the style of the book. Dear Ms. Flinn, I’ve been reading your work ever since Beastly and you wouldn’t believe the times your words have helped me. They really have. I was so shocked and excited when you reached out to my on Instagram and asked if I’d like to read this. I cried! I really did. No one has really ever taken any notice of me or my blog but I felt seen. I write about books because they’re the thing that gets me through the day. Somethings that eases my depression and let’s me know there is something better. I never thought I’d fall in love with this book. I’m not really one for books rooted in reality instead of magic, but I wanted to read it because you sent it to me. On my birthday no less! I have to apologise it too me so long, I’ve been in a slump since early March. But here I am. It’s 1am and I stayed up to finish this. I won’t lie and say I didn’t cry pretty much constantly from 60% all the way to the end, I did. I sobbed, I felt it in my soul. I heard from some that this is w retelling of a story, but I didn’t know it. It didn’t really matter because I connected with it so deeply. You wrote a story that eased my pains and helped me come to terms with some of the stuff that’s been happening in my life. It sounds so dumb to write it that way but I felt like Jackie. But with less talent haha! Thank you for keeping me up into the earlier hours crying when I felt unable to feel anymore. Love, Pixie PS. You should write a sequel so I can cry some more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I absolutely LOVED this Daddy Long Legs retelling. Finally, a current YA novel that doesn't have sex in it. That's not why I loved it but it was refreshing to see because while some teens have sex not all of them do. This is just a super sweet romance that takes place at an elite music school. Personally, I am rather obsessed with Jean Webster's Daddy Long Legs so I found it fascinating how Alex Flinn reimagined it and tackled some of the more problematic areas like (view spoiler)[ Judy's love i I absolutely LOVED this Daddy Long Legs retelling. Finally, a current YA novel that doesn't have sex in it. That's not why I loved it but it was refreshing to see because while some teens have sex not all of them do. This is just a super sweet romance that takes place at an elite music school. Personally, I am rather obsessed with Jean Webster's Daddy Long Legs so I found it fascinating how Alex Flinn reimagined it and tackled some of the more problematic areas like (view spoiler)[ Judy's love interest being something like 20 years older than her! (hide spoiler)] I loved how some of the lines were direct lifts from Webster's novel and others were playful references (like Jacaranda shortening her name to Jackie). This is a great book to hand to middle schoolers who want to read YA. It definitely tackles some tough things but it pretty free from profanity and sexual references. Content Notes: Profanity/Swearing: Very little; 1 bitch; a couple of damns, a few instances of taking the Lord's name in vain Sexual references: Jackie mentions that some boys/men try to take advantage of teen girls. She doesn't really spell it out but you know she is referencing sex. Someone is making out with a boy at a party. It's unclear how far they go. Otherwise, just some kissing and snuggling Teen drinking: Yes, there is a scene where Jackie goes to a party and TONS of teens are drinking but she does not. Later in the book, Jackie & her suite mates share a bottle of champagne. Jackie has 1 glass, her suite mates have more. Overall, Jackie is not interested in drinking. Religious references: None that I can remember LGBTQ rep: Not that I can remember Could a conservative Christian school library add this? Yes!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Brown

    Very inspiring, fluffy book. jacaranda works at Publix and sings a made up song for one of her favorite customers per his request. It becomes viral and she is offered a generous offer from a mysterious benefactor for a full tuition, room and board plus an allowance to an performing arts high school in Michigan. jacaranda’s home life is far from Idea. She is in foster care, her mom is in prison, she doesn’t know her father. She has alway been poor and her mother has been more interested in her cur Very inspiring, fluffy book. jacaranda works at Publix and sings a made up song for one of her favorite customers per his request. It becomes viral and she is offered a generous offer from a mysterious benefactor for a full tuition, room and board plus an allowance to an performing arts high school in Michigan. jacaranda’s home life is far from Idea. She is in foster care, her mom is in prison, she doesn’t know her father. She has alway been poor and her mother has been more interested in her current scummy boyfriend then her daughter. She accepts but decides not to give any details about her home life because she is embarrassed. She goes by Jackie. The school is competitive and she makes a friend but also a rival. She meets her rival’s cousin Finn and they begin a romance. She tells him more than she tells the others but she is still keeping a lot of secrets. All the characters go thru anxiety and doubt about being good enough. I enjoyed all the reference to broadway musicals and plays. It pulled me in and kept me entertained. I would definitely recommend this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Yusko

    3.5 For the music, drama, theater kids

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Jacaranda is working at a Publix grocery store in Miami. She has been in foster care for a while because her mother is in prison, but is doing fairly well in her current home, and taking control of her own life. When she sings her own version of the store's ditty for one of her elderly, regular customers and another customer posts it on the internet, her performance goes viral. She is contacted by a woman named Vanessa, who says that a rich benefactor has seen her E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Jacaranda is working at a Publix grocery store in Miami. She has been in foster care for a while because her mother is in prison, but is doing fairly well in her current home, and taking control of her own life. When she sings her own version of the store's ditty for one of her elderly, regular customers and another customer posts it on the internet, her performance goes viral. She is contacted by a woman named Vanessa, who says that a rich benefactor has seen her performance and offered to pay for her to go to the exclusive performing arts school in Michigan, Midwestern Arts Academy. Once she is there, she starts emailing the "John Smith" who has paid her expenses. Vanessa also helps Jacaranda buy clothes and fittings for her dorm room. She's self conscious about her background, especially when she meets people like Phoebe, who is very wealthy and entitled. Going by "Jackie" to avoid being recognized from the video, she settles in to life in the exclusive school, reveling in the food and the experiences in the arts, which she had not been able to have in Miami. She eventually meets Phoebe's cousin, John Jarvis Pendelton, III, an "eligible bachelor" over whom the other students fawn. Jacaranda also finds him attractive and nice, and soon the two are spending as much time together as distance allows. In between trips and shows, Jacaranda deals with the competition in her school, performing, and learning about singing and musical theater. She is falling in love with Jarvis, but when she finds out some secrets about him, will the two be able to remain together? Strengths: Like Jerusha Abbot in Daddy Long-Legs (of which this is a re imagined version), Jacaranda is able to appreciate many things about her school that the wealthy students are not able to. She embraces her education and tries to fill in the gaps that her life in Miami has created, but also realizes that doing things like working in Publix has given her skills that her well-to-do friends don't have. The romance is gentle and realistic, except for the extreme wealth allowing them to travel all over bit, which is fun for ordinary students to read. The drama surrounding the performances, roommates, etc. is appealing as well. I was impressed with the way that Flinn used names, circumstances and plot from the original and freshened the original with some good twists. Weaknesses: I am always looking for YA romances that are a bit more manageable for middle grade readers; this has one mention of a party where vodka is being drunk and where one girl needs to be removed from a situation where she is too drunk to make good decisions, but otherwise, this is similar to the works of Jennifer E. Smith or Kasey West. What I really think: My students won't have any idea at all about Daddy Long-Legs, which I reread after reading this so I could compare the two. This was a very nice update, taking into consideration things that were good and bad about the original and spinning this into a fun romance for modern readers. Will purchase for my romance readers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Reviewed for Booklist Reviewed for Booklist

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fatima

    Love, Jacaranda will make you laugh lots and it's totally immersive! My complete review: https://bataysbookshelf.wordpress.com... Love, Jacaranda will make you laugh lots and it's totally immersive! My complete review: https://bataysbookshelf.wordpress.com...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Rein

    I have mixed feelings on this book. I loved Nothing to Lose (2004) by Alex Flinn and Beastly (2011), so I snagged this one when I saw it was by the same author. I love the way it was written. Jacaranda is a teen in foster care living in Miami. Her mother is in prison and her aunt couldn't take her in anymore. Jacaranda is working at Publix when someone records her singing for a customer. The video goes viral and a benefactor (Mr. John Smith) sees her and offers to pay her room and board at a perf I have mixed feelings on this book. I loved Nothing to Lose (2004) by Alex Flinn and Beastly (2011), so I snagged this one when I saw it was by the same author. I love the way it was written. Jacaranda is a teen in foster care living in Miami. Her mother is in prison and her aunt couldn't take her in anymore. Jacaranda is working at Publix when someone records her singing for a customer. The video goes viral and a benefactor (Mr. John Smith) sees her and offers to pay her room and board at a performing arts boarding school in Michigan. The book is written in emails she sends to "Mr. Smith" as he won't identify himself. She goes by "Jackie" as she doesn't want to share her past with her new friends and admit her mother is in prison or that she is poor and someone else is paying her way. She writes about her new friends and frenemies and how hard her classes are coming in as a junior without previous vocal or dance lessons. Jackie also confides in Mr Smith about the new boy she meets and the competition in her classes between her and her classmates. The book was predictable. I read it on my Kindle and by 43% of the way through I knew what was going to happen. It was still a good read, but there wasn't any suspense or surprises. The characters are 16 and 17, but I thought it read as more of a middle grade book than a YA novel. 6/10 for fans of romance but more PG than PG-13.

  18. 4 out of 5

    CR

    This adorable letter format story was one that I finished in one sitting. I loved how the story unfolded and ended. I haven't read a story like this before so it was something new to keep me entertained. I loved the character of Jacaranda she knew what she wanted to do and knew what she would do to get it. The setting where this all began was here in Florida so that was pretty cool!! Nothing like seeing Publix in a book. It just made the story more real. Like I could have seen this girl in one o This adorable letter format story was one that I finished in one sitting. I loved how the story unfolded and ended. I haven't read a story like this before so it was something new to keep me entertained. I loved the character of Jacaranda she knew what she wanted to do and knew what she would do to get it. The setting where this all began was here in Florida so that was pretty cool!! Nothing like seeing Publix in a book. It just made the story more real. Like I could have seen this girl in one of the stores that I have been to. I haven't read many books by Flinn but that is about to change. I loved everything in this story and can not wait for more!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kiana

    I both enjoyed Love, Jacaranda because I love Daddy Long Legs and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I could have because I love Daddy Long Legs. The premise of Daddy Long Legs is seriously one of my favorite stories of all time so I was somewhat excited to hear about a contemporary retelling of it (especially because Flinn has written some quality retellings and recently got her writing groove back with last year’s Girls of July). For the most part Love, Jacaranda is exactly what I expected—cute I both enjoyed Love, Jacaranda because I love Daddy Long Legs and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I could have because I love Daddy Long Legs. The premise of Daddy Long Legs is seriously one of my favorite stories of all time so I was somewhat excited to hear about a contemporary retelling of it (especially because Flinn has written some quality retellings and recently got her writing groove back with last year’s Girls of July). For the most part Love, Jacaranda is exactly what I expected—cute tween fluff—though there are a couple of ways in which it’s a little less. Flinn definitely knows Jean Webster’s book, as well as the Paul Gordon musical adaptation (as everyone should; it’s the best version), and Love, Jacaranda is basically a beat-for-beat reenactment in a 21st century musical theater setting. Also with teenagers. There are definitely times when the age (and, to a lesser extent, the setting) change hurts the book. A seventeen-year-old multimillionaire philanthropist is a little harder to swallow than the adults of Webster’s novel. I was also a little weirded out by the amount of crazy privileged and rich stuff these kids were running around and doing, since most seventeen-year-olds’ biggest excitement is getting to borrow their parents’ car. That said, Daddy Long Legs is a fairytale at its core and Love, Jacaranda is blatant teenage wish fulfillment, and the version of myself that devoured Daddy Long Legs as a tween and daydreamed about being swept off my feet by some teenage heartthrob celebrity probably would have eaten this stuff up. This is definitely a book where I’d be curious to see how younger readers would react (especially if they’re already familiar with Daddy Long Legs). As an adult, the concept of a sixteen- and seventeen-year-old spending ginormous amounts of money, living in insane luxury, and professing their undying love seems weird and unrealistic; but it’s quite possible that my thirteen-year-old self who thought that teenagers were way more mature than they actually are and wanted nothing more than to be the object of a teen star’s affection would have thought this was amazing. But there are shortcomings of Love, Jacaranda that can’t be chalked up to my age and cynicism. Possibly the biggest one in the book itself (because there’s a wider discussion to be had about this novel, which I’ll get to in a minute) is Jacaranda, who, for some reason, is a big fat blank of a character even though I just spent 350 pages reading her innermost thoughts. It shouldn’t be possible for a book so based in one girl’s experience and confessions to have said girl contain next to no personality, and yet it’s somehow true. Jacaranda is such a flat character and the few traits she has seem to be inconsistent (she loves to sing yet she knows practically nothing about some of the most famous songs or musicals, even the obvious pop culture ones that you’d have to be living under a rock to not recognize; she’s shy and insecure but also outspoken at a moment’s notice; she talks about how much she misses her mother but then goes months without mentioning her). She also reads as super immature for a sixteen-year-old who has been through the harsh realities of her childhood. Everything is written in a perky fashion that feels closer to ten. It’s honestly quite bizarre, given how Jacaranda is basically written as a carbon copy of Jerusha Abbott, how she totally lacks her realism. Another pretty problematic development is the fact that Jacaranda and Jarvis are making out and sleeping (literally, not figuratively) together throughout the majority of the book, an intimacy that is WAY different from the tentative courtship in Webster’s novel. I don’t think I’m out of line for believing it is a thousand times weirder for Jarvis to keep some big secrets from Jacaranda when they’re at that level of relationship. Flinn at least bothers to (view spoiler)[clarify that Jarvis stopped reading Jacaranda’s emails after he met her in person (hide spoiler)] , which makes his behavior far less creepy and manipulative, and (view spoiler)[Jacaranda, unlike Webster’s Jerusha, actually gets ticked off at him for his deception (hide spoiler)] , but it still didn’t quite sit right with me. Say what you will about Jervis Pendleton: he at least had the decency not to make an overt move on Jerusha, probably because he knew it was all kinds of wrong. (Okay, he did propose to her near the novel’s end, but that reads very differently in an early twentieth-century story vs. Flinn’s “making out for hours and spending the night together” deal.) Which brings me to another issue about Jarvis: I see no reason for him to not tell Jacaranda what was up from the beginning. Webster kind of kept that a mystery, too, but Jervis himself was kind of ambiguous throughout the novel so you could draw your own conclusions. Jarvis, by contrast, is presented as a total charmer and completely confident in his romantic pursuit of Jacaranda; I never got the sense of insecurity and awkwardness that form the basis of the story’s misunderstanding in the first place. Why wouldn’t this dude have just told her his whole story upfront? Also, this is a small thing, but it’s so jarring that, for a book based in musical theater geekery and clearly written by someone who enjoys musicals quite a bit herself (this is not the first book by Flinn to feature extensive musical performance), musicals are always referred to as “plays.” That’s just incorrect lingo. You would get laughed out of Musical Theater 101 for that. No one, unless they’re so out of the loop that they only have the vaguest concept of what live theater is, would refer to Wicked, Into the Woods, or The Sound of Music as plays. Death of a Salesman and Blythe Spirit are plays. Shakespeare’s works are plays. My Fair Lady and Bandstand are not plays. No way would Jacaranda, who is taking musical theater courses on a daily basis and surrounded by some of the biggest theater nerds on the planet, still be referring to musicals as “plays” a year after she began her performing arts education. But all of this is fine, I guess. At the end of the day, Love, Jacaranda is a fluffy little escapist read about romance and performing, and I won’t deny that, loving Daddy Long Legs, epistolary novels, and musical theater, I raced through it. It’s fun. It’s cute. Given how easily the material could have turned skeevy, it’s decidedly unproblematic. However… There is some terrible, nitpicky, adaptation-obsessed part of me that can’t help but wonder what the point of all this was. Love, Jacaranda is basically Daddy Long Legs, with the only differences being that the characters are teenagers, Jerusha is “Jacaranda” (a change that I find inexplicably hilarious) and sings instead of writes, and there’s a bunch of musical theater trivia in there. Some of Jacaranda’s emails are very close copies of Jerusha’s letters, to the point where it actually doesn’t make any sense in the new setting (see Jacaranda’s random comment about Jarvis being “a socialist,” something that reads very differently now than it would have at the beginning of the twentieth century). Most infuriatingly of all, two of the best and most memorable quotes from Daddy Long Legs are directly copied into Flinn’s novel and presented as Jacaranda’s original words. “Perhaps when two people are exactly in accord, and always happy when together and lonely when apart, they ought not to let anything in the world stand between them” and “This is the first love letter I ever wrote. Isn’t it funny that I know how?” And that’s just… There’s honoring and reimagining a story, and then there’s taking someone’s work entirely. Yes, yes, Daddy Long Legs might be in the public domain but giving Jacaranda not only Jerusha’s story but her literal words… That just seems wrong. Overall, Love, Jacaranda feels easy. I’m not saying that I could have written this book, but I also don’t think that there’s much innovation happening. Flinn just took Webster’s text, substituted in some names and locations, threw in a dash of Broadway geekery, and that’s Love, Jacaranda. I didn’t feel it interacting with the text or expanding upon it or challenging it in any way so much as copying it with a few extra details that reflected Flinn’s own interests (i.e., she likes musicals). I guess Jacaranda has some issues with her incarcerated mother (unlike Jerusha, who’s an orphan), but they’re never made out to be that big of a deal? (This could be a flaw of execution rather than intention. Like I said, everything about Jacaranda’s voice comes off as a little flat, especially when it comes to her past and present trauma.) Jacaranda’s also way more hung up on not telling anyone her backstory, but this also feels strangely irrelevant, and the last 100 pages are completely redundant, with Jarvis being like, “I don’t care that you’re poor!” and her being like, “But you must secretly care, so I can’t be with you!” and him being like, “But I. Seriously. Don’t. Care” over and over again. I’m just not sure what I got out of this that Daddy Long Legs didn’t already cover, or why I should recommend this book in place of, or even in addition to, the original. I don’t mean to hate on Love, Jacaranda because it’s mostly harmless and sweet, and I recognize that Flinn loves the source material. But, as someone who also loves the source material, I can’t help but feel like this could have been a lot more. Readers unfamiliar with Daddy Long Legs might not care one way or the other but, for those who are, it’s an odd imitator that never quite justifies its own existence and doesn’t do much that the original (let alone the musical) didn’t do better. 3 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    WKPL Children's/YA Books

    Miss Lori gives this book 4.5 stars! This is a feel good story touching subjects such as parent in jail, going to new school--not knowing anyone, keeping secrets, first love, true friendship, and musical theater. If you are a fan of music and theater and want to read about good people making mistakes in relationships, this is the book for you! This is a great read for upper middle school and into high school!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    “I’ve been alive sixteen years, and this is the first time since my granny died that anyone has ever noticed me.” (10) Jacaranda is a high school junior and works as a bagger at Publix in Florida. Her mother is in prison for attempted murder and, after her aunt refused to care for her, Jacaranda began her journey through the foster system. Her future goals are to graduate high school and possibly become a Publix manager one day. But as of now her goal is to get a solo in her high school spring co “I’ve been alive sixteen years, and this is the first time since my granny died that anyone has ever noticed me.” (10) Jacaranda is a high school junior and works as a bagger at Publix in Florida. Her mother is in prison for attempted murder and, after her aunt refused to care for her, Jacaranda began her journey through the foster system. Her future goals are to graduate high school and possibly become a Publix manager one day. But as of now her goal is to get a solo in her high school spring concert. When a favorite customer asks her to sing, she sings the Publix jingle, and is unknowingly recorded by another customer. The video goes viral, and Jacaranda’s life changes. An anonymous benefactor sees the video and sponsors her to a prestigious arts school in Michigan where she realizes that her dreams can be much bigger. The reader follows Jackie, as she now calls herself, through her daily emails to her sponsor as she navigates her new world, taking nothing for granted—real meals, new fashionable outfits, friends who support her, mentors, visits to New York City, even jealous classmates, and ever-widening opportunities. She loves everything about her new life and doesn’t take anything for granted. “Do you know what I love most as MAA? You might think it’s the surroundings or the people or the opportunities. I love all those things. But the best thing is the predictability…. I didn’t have that type of predictability in foster care, and I sure didn’t have it with my mother.” (253) And she now has a wealthy boyfriend—a nice, compassionate boyfriend whose main goal is use his wealth to help others. But as she fits in and earns roles in the school musicals, Jackie constantly worries that Jarvis and her new friends will no longer accept her if they discover her secrets. “It was always so shameful being poor, even though it’s a matter of luck when you’re a kid.” (131) Jackie tries to hide her background and her mother’s situation even as she meets a classmate who is brave enough to share her own past homelessness. Reading Jacaranda’s story through her emails to her benefactor lets readers live through not only her linear story but learn about her teachers, her past, and her thoughts that may not be accessible in even a first person story narrative. The emails also allow for short read-alouds at the beginning or ending of a class period. Alex Flinn’s new novel tells a story of a strong teen facing the challenges of poverty, talent, acceptance, and relationships.

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Book Chief

    I wrote a VERY different kind of review for this, a stream of consciousness review, if you will, compiled from all the notes and comments I jotted down while I was reading. That review is LONG and full of spoilers so if you’d like to read it, head over here: https://www.facebook.com/855005157962... Since this is a retelling of my beloved Daddy Long Legs which is already a well-known story, am cutting to the chase: a quick sum-up of how the books differ, and the million-dollar question: which one d I wrote a VERY different kind of review for this, a stream of consciousness review, if you will, compiled from all the notes and comments I jotted down while I was reading. That review is LONG and full of spoilers so if you’d like to read it, head over here: https://www.facebook.com/855005157962... Since this is a retelling of my beloved Daddy Long Legs which is already a well-known story, am cutting to the chase: a quick sum-up of how the books differ, and the million-dollar question: which one did I like better? 1) Love, Jacaranda is set a hundred years into the future from DLL, with emails instead of letters 2) The protagonist trains for musical theatre instead of writing 3) Covers one year of high school instead of four years of college 4) Protagonist (Jacaranda/Jackie) is a foster kid with a drug addict mom in jail instead of an orphan (Jerusha/Judy in DLL) 5) Jackie is 16 throughout the book, whereas Judy is 18 when the story begins and 22 when the story ends. As to which one I liked better: I liked DLL better (🙈) - it focusses solely on Judy and shows her personal growth beautifully, AND it is very wholesome and old-fashioned, which I love. ❤️ But Love, Jacaranda highlights the issue of privilege in a more impactful and relatable way for today’s readers. I cannot stress enough just how important it is that today’s kids should know and understand how privilege works. Absolutely recommended for readers aged 13+, especially those who find old classics stuffy or unrelatable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Escamilla

    Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn (@alexflinnauthor) is a humorous and inspiring novel. The narrative begins in Jacaranda's point of view, as we see her become famous through a viral video of her singing a tune at Publix. An anonymous benefactor discovers her talent and offers her a full ride to a prestigious boarding school. After we learn Jacaranda's fate, the story becomes an epistolary. We begin to follow her life through a series of emails directed towards her benefactor who has chosen to go by Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn (@alexflinnauthor) is a humorous and inspiring novel. The narrative begins in Jacaranda's point of view, as we see her become famous through a viral video of her singing a tune at Publix. An anonymous benefactor discovers her talent and offers her a full ride to a prestigious boarding school. After we learn Jacaranda's fate, the story becomes an epistolary. We begin to follow her life through a series of emails directed towards her benefactor who has chosen to go by John Smith. At first I was a little surprised by the transition, but I wouldn't have this story told any other way. As the story progressed, I had a few speculations on who the real John Smith was, but once I found out who it truly was I was in shock! I was a little sad that the story felt a bit rushed after the revelation and we didn't get a lot of dialogue between the characters thereafter. I was left wanting so much more from the story! (Sequel please!) . Flinn also did a great job of really tying in musical theater knowledge. I've personally never been a huge fan of musicals but after reading several summaries in the book and learning about key tips, I've actually become interested in watching a few. (Especially Wicked!) . Phenomenal book!  . Rating: 4.75 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The cover is not only gorgeous but the synopsis seems great too as you hear of the viral videos of someone singing but not the aftermath and this book captures that essence. Loved seeing Jacaranda grow and see her adventuress at school and musical theater, along with her friendships (loved them) and romance element. With that said, felt myself getting frustrated or not clicking with the email format as I just wanted a reply! (I KNOW the whole point is the DLL deal but I wasn't patient enough and The cover is not only gorgeous but the synopsis seems great too as you hear of the viral videos of someone singing but not the aftermath and this book captures that essence. Loved seeing Jacaranda grow and see her adventuress at school and musical theater, along with her friendships (loved them) and romance element. With that said, felt myself getting frustrated or not clicking with the email format as I just wanted a reply! (I KNOW the whole point is the DLL deal but I wasn't patient enough and like she was spilling her guts out to a stranger who in context was a financial donor). There was some things that made parts read like a middle grade book vs YA which brought a lot predictability and no surprise to the reveal of who John Smith was but wish Jarvis wasn't DLL too, which I think could have been executed differently for more impact. I felt that it took me a long time to really just read the book and not be wishy washy with it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda B

    Love, Jacaranda was sent to me by the author as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I love most of Flinn’s contemporary novels. This one was pretty good, but not a favorite. I’m a sucker for boarding school stories. It’s a topic that will always catch my interest. But I didn’t love the way this story was told. I think it was interesting. This story is told via emails. We follow Jacaranda as she’s given a full ride by an anonymous benefactor to a well-known musical school. This sto Love, Jacaranda was sent to me by the author as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I love most of Flinn’s contemporary novels. This one was pretty good, but not a favorite. I’m a sucker for boarding school stories. It’s a topic that will always catch my interest. But I didn’t love the way this story was told. I think it was interesting. This story is told via emails. We follow Jacaranda as she’s given a full ride by an anonymous benefactor to a well-known musical school. This story is told via the emails she sends to this anonymous benefactor. That in itself was sort of weird to me. I probably would have sent a few emails full of gratitude for the opportunity they had allowed me, but Jacaranda’s emails turned into almost diary like sort of thing. She never gets a response, but it’s obvious that someone is reading them because her contact person, Vanessa, always calls her after any important questions or concerning comments. So, this felt sort of weird for me because this is a teenage girl treating emails to what we’re supposed to assume is a grown man, like her own personal diary. Despite my issue with this aspect, I did enjoy the story. I liked reading how much Jacaranda was enjoying her new classes. I liked seeing her make new friends and experience new things. She’s a girl that’s struggled most of her life. Her mother is in jail, and in the past hasn’t dated the best people. So, when her life changes the way it does, she feels like she shouldn’t reveal her past. This sort of made me sad, but I liked when Jacaranda made friends with another scholarship kid who knew who she really was. I liked that there was someone she could be honest with. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t love the ending, but I thought things were sufficiently wrapped up. I definitely had my issues with this story, but I still had a good time reading it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Love, Jacaranda is an easy and light read. Love every bit of it. Predictable since its technically a retelling but the modern twist like the viral video and emails are a good addition to the story. It has the story, the feels, I really like Phoebe, the secondary character. Wish there are more backstory on her group of friends.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Love, Jacaranda tells the story of a girl in foster care whose viral video lands her a spot at a prestigious boarding school for the arts. She writes emails to John Smith, the wealthy benefactor she's never met, telling him all about the daily life of school. Audio was fine, I just didn't super care about the plot or characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lissa Hawley

    I liked this book, but I didn't love it. It was well written, and the letter writing gimmick didn't bother me as is sometimes the case, but the MC's...voice seemed oddly immature (which may have been the fault of the gimmick) Still not a bad little book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    I liked the character Jacaranda but had a hard time believing she would pour her heart out so openly in emails she must have known were being read by someone because of the way they kept being answered.

  30. 5 out of 5

    soph

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