Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
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?
I had no idea this whole book is written in e-mails, but it worked really well.
Jacaranda is a foster kid in Miami. Her mom is in prison. While working at Publix, and older customer asked her to sing. Someone took a video and it went viral. Shortly after, Jacaranda received information that a wealthy benefactor saw her video and wanted to pay for her to go to a boarding school in Michigan with the focus on the arts. She will study musical theater. She’s in contact with a woman named Vanessa who speaks for “Mr. Smith”. He wants to stay anonymous, but there was an e-mail set up so she could talk to him. He just wouldn’t reply. Not only was the tuition paid, but she got all new clothes, a phone, computer, and spending money.
When Jacaranda arrived, she decided to keep her past a secret. She goes by Jackie. For the first time in her life, Jackie felt special. She made a friend, Daisy, right away. Daisy’s roommate, Phoebe, wasn’t nice. At all. But they were suitemates and Jackie tried to be nice to everyone. She started going well in all her classes, even though she was two years behind all the other juniors. Jackie worked harder because of it and got parts in some of the plays. She met Phoebe’s cousin, Jarvis, who lived in New York. He’s a bit of a genius, super rich, and well known. He and Jackie hit it off and start texting. Since she has no family, she spends holidays with Daisy or Phoebe. When with Phoebe, she gets to spend time with Jarvis and they start a relationship. Jackie was too afraid to tell her about her mom. She was afraid he’d pity her or be mad because she lied. Her self esteem was pretty high when singing, but not with anything else. She assumes Jarvis is too good for her and there’s no way he can like her.
Jackie e-mails Mr. Smith often. It becomes a bit of a diary for her and she opens up about personal things. Mr. Smith never answers back, but he did send a couple responses to questions through Vanessa. After awhile, Jackie also becomes with a girl named Falcon. She grew up in shelters and got a scholarship because of her artwork. She and Jackie understood each other.
Jackie sees a lot of privilege at the school. Visiting her friends’ homes is a bit of a shock. But she’s also experiencing so many things for the first time and she finds pure joy in everything.
I loved the friendships that grew in this book more than anything else. Jarvis was sweet, so I did like the romance, too. There were a lot of musical references throughout the book. I now have some that I should probably watch.
I gave this book 4 stars (closer to 4 1/2). Thank you to the author, Alex Flinn for reaching out to me and to EpicReads for sending me the ARC.
Warnings for poverty, privilege, talk of sexual harassment, teenage drinking, talk of drugs, loss of a parent, and physical abuse in relationships.
Have you read this yet? Is it on your TBR?