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New Hundred Oaks Book | Book Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

This Jesse’s Girl review was hard to write…

Book Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Goodreads | Jesse’s Girl | Miranda Kenneally’s Website

jesse's girl miranda keannally book review

Title & Author: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: July 7, 2015

Series: Hundred Oaks series

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?”


I have been a huge proponent of the Hundred Oaks series. I love the town all the books are set in, and I especially love the flawed but relatable characters.

In Jesse’s Girl, we’re following Sam Henry’s younger sister Maya. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Sam is a character from a previous book. These books are all set in the same town and high school but in span different times and years. They can all be read independently of each other, yet have characters from previous books pop in once and awhile.

So…I’m just going to come right out and say it: Jesse’s Girl is not on par with the rest of the Hundred Oaks books I’ve read so far.

There is a juvenile feel that has been added to the book. Maya is a senior and is gung-ho on getting a record deal after she graduates. For writing her own songs and being what 17, 18 years old, her inner dialogue read as surprisingly immature.

Normally, Kenneally’s stories deal with high school problems with an underlying layer that brings a touch of seriousness to the stories and keeps things grounded. Jesse’s Girl lacked that and felt watered down and overly simplistic.

I will say, Maya and Jesse’s time together was the highlight of the book. They have a book chemistry (dunno if that’s a real thing, but…) that is palpable. Then again, their romance was pretty quick to go from “ugh you…?” to “Hey there you,” you know?

And, I did finish this book in one night. I think Kenneally will always deliver on that front.

The problem is that I LOVE the Hundred Oaks books and have been enthralled thus far. Jesse’s Girl just fell flat in comparison and is definitely the weakest of the bunch.

One last bonus is that you see Jordan again with a bigger cameo!


It seriously pains me to give this review: This is a Hundred Oaks book you could absolutely skip and be fine. If you’re invested like me, just know that the characters are less complex this time around and that despite reading it one sitting, Jesse’s Girl may not live up to the excellence of the previous books.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Wow, interesting! I know what you mean about the dialogue. This one is actually up at 3rd place on my favorites list out of the Hundred Oaks books (Breathe Annie Breathe and Catching Jordan are my top two). I just thought it was so fun! The books in the middle of the series were a bit too religion-oriented for me to get into. Great review!

  • Classy_Girl

    Aww, I liked Jesse’s Girl. It’s by far the fluffiest of the Hundred Oaks books and the romance does have an insta-quality to it, which I forgive because of the chemistry. Still, I enjoyed it and also read it in one go. I will say that I absolutely hate the title. I know it’s a nod to the classic Bruce Springsteen song but it felt like Maya was defined from the get go as just being the big music star’s girl.