Clementine's Reviews > Looking for JJ

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
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Oct 17, 12

bookshelves: 2012, re-reads
Read in June, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 4

I really really really loved this book the first few times I read it. I can't remember when I bought it, but it has to be around 2006/2007. I loved how dark and twisted it was, and how it manages to subvert traditional roles of good and bad. It made me sympathize with a convicted murderer, which I really liked.

I'm going through all my books and getting rid of the majority of them in preparation for my upcoming move to Montreal, and I stumbled across Looking for JJ on my top shelf. Remembering how much I'd enjoyed it when I was younger, I decided to read it again to see if I wanted to keep it or not.

I definitely didn't enjoy it as much now that I'm older - I found the writing style a little bit juvenile, and there were certain aspects that I was more critical of. One thing that bothered me a lot was how Cassidy didn't really bridge the gap between Jennifer and Alice very well. They are two completely different characters despite technically being the same person, and it was a bit jarring not to be shown Jennifer's growth into Alice. The two characters seemed a bit incongruous and I would have loved some more backstory. Jennifer's transition into a violent girl was really well-done - (view spoiler), it all seemed natural. But that violent Jennifer turning into Alice wasn't documented at all! I also would have liked more about Carol selling Jennifer's picture to the newspapers - she obviously seemed like an absent woman who was not ready to be a mother, but doing such a clearly BAD thing didn't necessarily mesh with her character.

The other issue I had was Frankie. I definitely understood the need for his character as a reason for Alice to keep her past and true identity a secret, but Frankie just wasn't likeable. I think it would have been so much more effective for Cassidy to create a relationship that readers could actually become invested in! That way, the eventual reveal of Alice's past would be that much more devastating. I did feel for her, but Frankie was such an ass that in the end it was kind of like, "Meh. She'll get over it."

I really enjoyed this book when I was younger and I think it's still an excellent book for kids aged 11-14 or so. The plot is exciting, the situations and characters are believable enough to get emotionally invested in, and the fact that Cassidy does play around with good and bad is really neat. It doesn't quite hold up now that I'm older, but I still think it's a really good book.
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