Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jessica Z.” as Want to Read:
Jessica Z.
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jessica Z.

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  356 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Welcome to Jessica's world...

When Jessica Zorich met a tall, charismatic artist at a San Francisco party, her life had been all about coping: with a baffling and dangerous world, with a mostly inane job, and with a sweet but meandering relationship with her upstairs neighbor. But Josh Hadden doesn’t cope: he’s a man of action, of big visions, and of relationships that span
Paperback, 340 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Delta
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jessica Z., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jessica Z.

Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldFallen by Lauren KateNew Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Best Book Cover Art
7,567 books — 6,309 voters
The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeWater for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Book Club Books
360 books — 315 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  356 ratings  ·  122 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
people who like this book are frothing over it. i have had several complete strangers recommend it to me on goodreads. and its good. its a very solid first novel by a man writing womens fiction. and i dont mean that to sound disparaging. its not chick lit - its more mature and considered than that, but it is most certainly womens fiction. there are a couple of things that are more literary than realistic, but i dont live in san francisco, maybe all the young well-off pretty people all end up liv ...more
Catherine McKenzie
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jessica Z. is set in an alternative, post-9/11 future (a flash-sideways for all you Lost fans out there) where our security concerns are more than justified. You see, people are blowing up buses in San Francisco at regular intervals, shaking the world, and reshaping people’s lives in an instant.

Against this tense background, we meet Jessica, a woman in her late twenties who’s struggling to find her place in the world. She’s involved in a dysfunctional way with her upstairs neighbor, Patrick. The
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: someone - who? who?
In a present-day America where suicide bombers blow up buses and cars and buildings, killing hundreds on an almost routine basis, twenty-something Jessica Zorich is an advertising copy writer with a slightly messy life, living in San Francisco. For a while now she's been in a kind-of relationship with her upstairs neighbour, Patrick, but now they just share coffee and toast and skirt around the possibility of being more.

Spending the days after a series of five bus bombings at home, with Patrick
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I needed to digest this for a few days before I wrote the review. I was stunned by how real the whole thing seemed: the characters, the settings, everything. And a big part of that realism was how the characters weren't always sympathetic, and rarely were able to make easy decisions.

Have you ever had a friend talk you into going to see a movie you knew nothing about, and once you see it, you think, "oh my gosh, this is the best thing ever, how did I never hear about this before?" That's how I fe
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
The author was a high school classmate of my sister's and this is his first novel. Wanted to read it and support his effort. Set in a post-9/11 world, it explores a relationship between a young woman and a mysterious artist. It was an adequate read, except I felt the author broke his own rules regarding character development in the last third of the book. The perameters he set for the characters were broken in order to resolve the main mystery/conflict. I ws disappointed in that regard.
Jen B
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, fivestars
I LOVED this book, and I will miss it now that I'm done with it. I'm having trouble putting exactly how I feel about it into words, so I'm copying this review from a post I wrote about it on my blog:

This book is like literary crack - I can't stop reading. I was up two hours past my usual bedtime last night devouring its pages. The premise of the book seems simple: Jessica meets Josh, a handsome artist, at a party and immediately falls head-over-heels. She ditches Patrick, her upstairs neighbor w
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book started out with such a unique, fun voice. Then I got lost in the maudlin, weirdness of the middle and end. The whole art subplot was completely boring (laying still while your body is scanned is NOT interesting... what was the author thinking?)

The characters of Jessica, Katie, Gretchen, and Patrick are great, sadly they are replaced by the unlikable and ridiculous Josh character. I really disliked when Jessica visits Emily which is totally unrealistic. If only the author could have d
Corinne Liu
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Mr. Klomparens creates a version of San Fransisco that feels like when I dream about it. It's like I'm there, and I know it, but it's different. And like a dream, you don't know if it's going to be good or bad, and maybe you wake up and wonder if it really happened for a moment. The quote on the cover calls it "unsettling" and that's not far from the truth (and not in a bad way, it just challenges you.)
Aug 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I started reading "Jessica Z" by Shawn Klomparens while getting gas. I was three pages in when the pump clicked to indicate a full tank, and I jumped like a foot. It was like I'd gone into some sort of Klomparens koma or something. "This is a good sign," I thought. "I'm not going to be able to put this book down."

That much is true. I read Klomparens' first novel over the course of a single rainy Saturday. The title-character is an upper 20s copy writer living in post 9/11 California, but this po
Heather Pearson
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jessica seems to have it all. A job in advertising that she loves, a neighbour who brings fresh brewed coffee to her door each morning and close relationships with both her sister and her mother. Despite these pluses, she is not settled. That neighbour with the coffee is her on again/off again boyfriend Patrick. Her sister is planning to head off to the south Pacific to live on a boat and do research, and her mother appears to be the panicy type of mother who wants her children to rush home at t ...more
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, own
Shawn Klomparens’ debut novel Jessica Z strikes a perfect balance, shifting flawlessly between major plot developments and the cinematic quiet moments that fill the spaces in between. The reader is treated to a relatively unremarkable 28 year-old San Franciscan career girl who is instantly endearing in her normality. We either all are, were or know a Jessica; a young woman living and working in her own city, someone with close ties to her less-than-perfect family, who finds herself in a less-tha ...more
Oct 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tristan Grgich
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tristan by: Ashley
My girlfriend kept asking me to read this. I finally did, and thought it was okay. My girlfriend also kept saying she couldn't believe it was written by a man, do you all really think like this? Have I been missing something?

I really enjoyed the maps. I've always been into maps, and I thought that was very cool, and how he did the scanning thing with the topo maps. I'd be interested in seeing something like that for real.

I did NOT enjoy Josh. Every time that guy showed up I was just like, I hate
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got so sucked into this book by the breezy, fun tone, then it turned serious in a way I did NOT expect. Josh was so manipulative, but really Jessica was too, and when I realized I was sympathizing with her that way it made me mad. When I finished, I couldn't stop thinking about it for a few days, I just wanted to *talk* to someone about it. This was (not exaggerating) the best book I read this year.

ALSO!!! I had to check twice that the author was a guy. I was so convinced by the voice!! (one o
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shawn Klomparens accomplishes a major feat in his first novel: capturing the voice of a young woman. Protagonist Jessica Zorich is charming, intelligent, multi-faceted, and realistic. I never once thought, "A woman wouldn't really say/do that." In fact, until I wikipediaed the author, I thought maybe it was a woman with a female name. Thanks, Metro Book Club for sending me this one. I didn't want it to end.
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
There are some books that leave me yearning to read more like them; this is one. The cover states that it's unsettling and it's true. The events and characters are complex and all too real, and keep you intrigued up until the very end. The fact that nothing is clear cut and cookie cutter perfect makes this book all the more enjoyable and thought provoking.
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great summer read -- fast paced, mystery and romance. What could be better?
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2008
This book was an amazing story. I loved the characters and wanted more when the book ended. Great book!
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jessica Zorich is meandering through life. She has a job that she's good at, but not passionate about. She's in a strange relationship with her upstairs neighbor, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. The world around her is both frightening and dangerous- it's post 9-11 and buses are frequently being blown up by suicide bombers. When she meets Josh, an intense and brilliant artist, at a party, she's swept into an overwhelming relationship with him. He's passionate, he's sexual, he's politic ...more
Jan 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shawn Klomparens' debut novel, "Jessica Z.", is one of those novels you can't put down. The characters and conflicts are realistic. The male author does a great job writing from a female point of view and his portrayal of female relationships is accurate.

The story centers around Jessica Zorich, a young advertising professional in San Francisco, and her struggles she faces as a twenty-something woman: a kind of relationship with her upstairs neighbor, Patrick; a job that provides her with a lot
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys character-driven, contemporary stories

I'm certain I'm not the first to say Shawn's work doesn't feel written, it feels told. Lived.

JESSICA Z. is a departure from the young-adult reading and research I normally do. Where YA characters may obsess over just what sex is or could be, Shawn's characters are having it (gasp!). Beyond that, good lit is universal. Shawn's unique perspective closely revolves around my favorite part of any story: characters. Relationships. I'd describe Jessica as coming-of-age, honestly, something that
Karolyn Sherwood
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's such a delight to stumble onto a good book that I didn't choose just because others (meaning the NYTimes, et. al.) told me I should read it.

Jessica Z., set in hilly San Francisco, is a fast paced, well-written story about a twenty-something girl trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life and love, all while dealing with the post-9/11 fear of terrorism. Jessica has all kinds of problems—family, relationship, work—and the author, Shawn Klomparens, sorts them out one by one
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Contemporary romance is one of those genres that I tend to stay away from. I can only take so much fluff, and, yes, I realize they aren't all fluffy and cute. I like my romance to be real and gritty, and that is precisely what you get in Shawn Klomparens' debut novel Jessica Z.

What Jess has in the beginning of the novel with Patrick is complicated, as many relationships are. Are they together? Is the timing right? How do they know if it's real? And then, before either of them know it, they've m
Nov 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Roxy by: Audra & Holli have on TR. Brandi read.
Shelves: general-fiction
This was an interesting story. I'm not sure how to describe it. I wish this was a book club book, I really wanted to discuss the character relationships.

My first thought is that it was an odd book, story and character wise. I feel like there is a bigger message that I did not quite grasp.

I immediatlly loved the relationship between Jess & Patrick but knew it wasn't going to last the whole book, how could it if it was great in the first pages? Josh was so odd. He was manipu
Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it liked it
read this for the Columbus Book Club's February meeting. Between 3 and 4 stars, I went with 3 because I can't say I will ever read it again necessarily. I think the writing was great and the characterizations were wonderful. I enjoyed how he told much of his story in dialogue. But at the end I almost wondered what the main point of the story was. Much was unresolved in a way I thought odd, and maybe that was the point - the paranoia and disturbia that had mounted within the book turned out to be ...more
Aug 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Katy by: Becky
Interesting, sometimes intense, and almost poignant page-turner about the life of a twenty-something woman figuring out her life in a post-911 world. The author did an impressive job of writing in a woman's voice, although some of the dialogue was awkward. His habit of ending the main character's declarative sentences with question marks got tired pretty quickly: "Thank you?" "I'm sorry?" "It would be so cool if everyone talked like this?"

Spoiler alert!
I was certain that Josh would turn out to b
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
A lot of people talked about how amazing this novel is. It was decent enough to keep me reading, but I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. I felt like there was a suggestion of twists but it lead to dead ends. I didn't think the author got into the mind of a woman as much as other people have said in their reviews. I would read another book by the author in the future, I think there is potential in his writing but a better storyline would help. The ending fell flat as well. Things ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christina by: Catherine McKenzie
Just when you think you know somebody, they really surprise you.

That's what I feel about this Jessica Z. Just when I thought I had a character figured out, he or she would surprise me. When I thought that I could see the plot taking a particular course, it took the other fork in the road, and that kept me compelled the whole way through the book.

I really enjoyed the journey on which Jessica Z. took me, and I can't wait to read more of Shawn Klomparens' writing.

Thank you to Catherine McKenzie for
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kissing Frogs in Cyberspace
  • Remedies
  • Clan
  • The Second Virgin Birth
  • Little Monsters
  • Blue Nude
  • Broken Bulbs
  • A Chemical Fire
  • Charming Blue (Fates, #8)
  • The Overwhelming Urge
  • Seeking Sara Summers
  • Revisions of Goodloe Byron
  • Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate
  • Her Sanctuary
  • girls
  • The Sign for Drowning
  • The Animal
  • Hit List
See similar books…
Shawn Klomparens lives and writes in Jackson, Wyoming.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“He comes down next to me, and when I hold out my hand, he takes it. Our fingers lace together. And in that feeling, that perfect feeling of our hands and fingers pressed together, I want to tell him everything. I want to tell him about Josh, and his sister, Emily. I want to tell him about tall, crazy Gert. I want to tell him about bridges and funerals, and most of all, maps. More than anything else, I want to tell him about myself. I want to tell him that I know what things look like from above now. There's so much I want to tell him, because I know he'll understand.” 9 likes
“These golf people seem unnaturally obsessed. They dress kind of funny too, and it's become a running joke for Gretchen and I to e-mail the most ridiculous golfing pictures back and forth to each other. Sometimes she adds hysterical captions. She never puts them on PitchBitch, though. We can't threaten the gravy train.” 5 likes
More quotes…