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The Notorious Pagan Jones

(Pagan Jones #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Pagan Jones went from America’s sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she’s stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt—not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating th ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Harlequin Teen
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Martina Boone
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a fan of Ruta Sepetys' OUT OF THE EASY or Elizabeth Wein's CODE NAME VERITY, you don't want to miss this. It's dark, fun, and completely engrossing!

The Notorious Pagan Jones is a new book by Nina Berry. It begins a series about a 16-year-old Hollywood starlet, Pagan Jones, with a tarnished reputation. I was intrigued by the premise and when an ARC showed up I jumped into it and was very glad that I did. This book is an utter whirlwind of a ride.

Pagan Jones didn't have the sweetest of 16th birthdays. While drinking and driving, she inadvertently caused the death of her father and her younger sister. Now, nine months later, she has been sente
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my usual thing, but I picked up a copy at Winter Institute and the cover called to me. The cover tagline is also fabulous and a great hook.

Pagan Jones was a FUN FUN FUN heroine. She was also extremely sad (recovering alcoholic, responsible for the deaths of her father and younger sister), but she's, as one character puts it "clever, brave, and extremely determined". This is a spy story, sure, but also a story of a Hollywood starlet seeking redemption for past mistakes.

Berry did som
Annie Stone
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay truth-telling time, I read this book a bunch of times because I acquired and edited it for Harlequin. So I'm a bit biased. But believe me -- you DON'T want to miss this one. Utterly brilliant, fun, gripping, and somehow still incredibly historically accurate/educational. If you're a fan of historical novels by Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein, this is one for you.
Nasty Lady MJ
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
To see review with gif click here.

It’s been a DNF week. I do not lie about that. The one good thing about DNF’ing things left and right is that I am sort of catching up on my GoodReads reading challenge. Though some people might find that a bit of a cheat, but I don’t. And that’s all that matters.

With Downton Abbey ending I have been craving period pieces. I’ve had The Notorious Pagan Jones in my TBR pile for what seems forever. The premises intrigued me enough, but with the bar and everything e
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Look, this is the literary equivalent of a big, loud summer popcorn action movie. It’s not going to win any awards, but it is action-packed, CRAZY RIDICULOUS and loads of fun.

On the way home from her 16th birthday party in 1961, drunk teen starlet Pagan Jones drove her cherry red Corvette off a cliff in the Hollywood Hills and killed her father and younger sister. She’s sent off in disgrace to the oh-so-dramatically named Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls. After a thwarted e
*Source* Library
*Genre* Young Adult, Historical Fiction
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

*Key Characters* Pagan Jones, Devin Black, Thomas Kruger

The Notorious Pagan Jones is the first chapter in Nina Berry's Pagan Jones series. 16-year old Pagan Jones was once an up and coming actress who had a bright future ahead of her. She won a Golden Globe award and a British Academy Film Award (BAFA). She could have been the next Marilyn Monroe if she had kept her head on straight. But, that was before her mother E
Eleanor Herman
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the main character--the archetypal bad girl with a good heart in there, somewhere--and the setting: Hollywood and Berlin (and East Berlin, ooh!) in 1961. I felt like it was a kind of YA Mad Men episode there was so much historical color: the teased, cotton candy hair-dos, the winged black eyeliner, the girdles for teenagers, the rooms full of cigarette smoke and all those martinis... In addition to the color and characters, there are many mysteries that make you want to keep turning the pa ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
The Notorious Pagan Jones sounded very much like a Christina book, with the historical setting, the old Hollywood appeal, and a romantic mystery. While left feeling a bit distant, I did quite enjoy The Notorious Pagan Jones.

One thing that I really enjoyed about The Notorious Pagan Jones was the setting. There are a lot of books set during WWII, but there aren’t nearly so many set in post-WWII Berlin, especially in YA which doesn’t do much historical anyway. Set against the backdrop of the period
Oct 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
The more I think about Pagan Jones, the more I hate her. She's a super famous, rich teen star that killed her whole family in a drunk driving accident, but we're supposed to feel sorry for her.

Apparently she's suffering all kinds of emotional trauma, (which would be legit, because of what happened to her) but we never actually see that. Instead we are told, repeatedly, how screwed up Pagan really is.

I'm not even really sure what the author was going for with this book. Historical fiction? Emo?
Megan Kennedy
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I was interested in the story line all the way through, even though it was unbelievable
Bang Bang Books
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Nothing really happens until page 300. Until then I had to suffer through the Notorious unlikeable Pagan Jones.

She's whiny and complains about her escort who got her out of jail and on a movie set but she thinks he's hot.

This is supposed to be historical fiction and the significance of Berlin in 1961 isn't revealed until the end. I don't know world history well b/c I didn't take it in high school. I just know that this was post Hitler and pre Cold War but I don't know what's happening in Berli
Pagan is a fallen star, sent to jail after accidentally killing her family while driving drunk. When she gets the chance to get out of jail as long as she stars in a movie in Berlin, she jumps at the chance. But political unrest between East and West Germany are growing and Pagan is seeing them all happening. Will she be able to stay sober to stay in the movie, and will the political unrest affect her?

All of the characters were so well thought out and I could really tell how historically accurat
Katie Hamill
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Notorious Pagan Jones was a total surprise to me. The description sounded like it was going to be overstuffed with content and focused on yet another silly young adult romance. Instead, the novel turned all my expectations on my head and was a delight to read. The different situations and characters were complex and interesting, and exploring the mystery behind Pagan's circumstances was deftly handled. Placing the novel around the beginning of the Berlin Wall was a fresh setting, this is an ...more
Basically if a whip-smart Lindsay Lohan/Marilyn Monroe starred in a comedy film in 1960 in Germany.

Pagan Jones, a recovering alcoholic at only 16 and famous movie actress, gets shipped off to Berlin to film a movie, but events quickly spiral out of control as Cold War tensions rise.


Protagonists with addictions make me antsy. I want people to overcome addictions so badly, but it's so easy to slip up. I rooted so hard for Pagan to overcome her struggles because she's just so dang likable. She's a
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great twist on the post-WWII spy novel, Pagan will keep you guessing as she dashes around the divided but as yet unwalled Berlin of the early 1960s. I've been a crazy Germanophile since majoring in German Studies in college, and I've visited Berlin multiple times. I am tremendously impressed by Berry's knowledge of geography and history. The setting was so evocative I felt like I was right there tailing Pagan. Pagan is now one of my new fave heroines--a fully rendered brave teen starlet whose ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-list-2017
This book was excellent! It had just the right amounts of Hollywood, romance, and spy stuff. The way Nina Berry writes makes it feel like you're actually there and seeing the things she's describing. In my opinion, not many authors can do that, but she pulls it off effortlessly. This is only book one in the series, so I can't wait until book 2 comes out next spring and I can continue reading about the exciting adventures of Pagan Jones!
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was written by one of my husband's close friends from high school. It is young adult fiction. As an adult I have not read a lot of YA fiction (Harry Potter- 5 stars, Hunger Games- 4 stars, Twilight- stopped reading). The novel was set during the formation of the Berlin Wall and provided some interesting history. The plot also drew me in and was a well-paced mystery.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly this was the first new book I've read in a suuuuper LONG time that I've picked up randomly and loved.
I loved the spy stuff, I loved the historical stuff, I loved the film star stuff
Obviously stuff comes across as unrealistic but that comes with the genre, and I personally really enjoyed all of that
It was super refreshing to me overall; I have not read anything like it, or at least not at all recently
I thought Pagan was very well written; flawed in a way that makes her complex and a str
Captain Awesome
Wow... Can I even describe how much I loved this book? It was ridiculously perfect.
I loved Pagan. She was tough and sarcastic but not in a forced female YA protagonist way that most are nowadays. She was original and what made the story come alive. She had been through a lot but that didn't make her bitter... No matter the situation (no spoilers I promise! ;P), she thought of a way out and was smart about it. I never thought "Why are you doing that, dumb dumb?" Agreeing with her thinking and st
Kristen B.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Always fun reading Nina Berry’s work—this one was quite different from the Otherkin/Othersphere/Othermoon fantasy series, with a strong historical bent, but it kept the same touches of humor and the strong young female protagonist. A nice choice for young adults (or those of us who used to be young and still enjoy the genre)!

I meant to read a few chapters a night, but ended up finishing the entire book. Good news: I didn’t have to wait to find out what happened! Bad news: I was really sleepy wal
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the background setting of Berlin as the Berlin Wall was being erected added to the drama. For teenagers, the book deals with things like the attraction of alcohol and the fight to stay sober, first loves, all with a little intrigue and espionage. I wish I hadn’t stayed up until 1am reading it only to discover that there are more books with the characters because I immediately wanted to jump into reading another one!
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Equal parts spy novel and Hollywood expose, kind of a YA The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Pagan (and I'd really like to know why her mother named her that) is tough and broken, and I like her more than I expected to. Devin Black is a little too good and mysterious to be true, though.
Carolyn Hughes
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story

This was a Quick and fun read full of adventure with some history thrown in. Looking forward to the next one.
Joanne Hetherington
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book. It was interesting right to the end. On to the next book by Nina Berry.
Shania Zavadsky
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was everything I hoped it would be. There were so many twists and unexpected turns in the story that made it very interesting.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The romance was completely unnecessary, but I really enjoyed how intense the final chapters were.
A book with more than 20 letters in the title
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the greatest books so far I can't wait to read the second one
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Thanks so much for checking out my author page and my books! I no longer check messages or friend requests here on Goodreads, so please check out my website for more info or if you'd like to get in touch.


YA writer, redhead, bodysurfer, Nina is the author of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, CITY OF SPIES and the OTHERKIN series. Born in Honolulu, she now

Other books in the series

Pagan Jones (2 books)
  • City of Spies (Pagan Jones, #2)

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