by Kate Willis
My name is Jessie. I’m an expert at introversion and cheesecake eating. (#skillz) I’m trying to become a writer, but gathering inspiration = social interaction, so… no.
The world’s best mail carrier suggested I get a pen pal, so this is the story of that pen pal experiment and the beautiful way it opened my eyes.
Merry Christmas and much cheesecake to you!
Jem (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
Review: 4/5 ★★★★☆
Sincerely, Jem by Kate Willis was a sweet and heartfelt snapshot into the life of one socially-awkward, imaginative, goofy character. Willis’ writing style captured me from the first page, and the story and characters came alive through the gentle painting of the scenery. I found each character to be lovable and well-rounded, full of personality even in their small roles.
I enjoyed following “Jem” through her pen-pal journey (and also loved Longfellow!) and thought the story was told concisely and thoughtfully. I laughed out loud in several places! I loved reading Jem’s letters and all the wonderful text-talk. Jessie is hilarious and that is all. 😉 As a whole, I found this story well executed. <Spoiler, highlight to read> I really liked the message on understanding there is more to someone than meets the eye and not judging others at face value. <Spoiler>
However, while this story was a happy, lighthearted tale, it was little more than that. The characters face little difficulty, struggle, or conflict; there is little to overcome. <Spoiler> Jessie becomes less shy and more outgoing; but it being I found her perfectly lovable to begin with—awkward and all—it was a hard change to resonate with. <Spoiler> I understand that this is supposed to be a lighthearted story, but I think it would have benefited from a little more depth. All considered, it was a sweet read that made me smile and one I’m glad I had the opportunity to read!
Favorite quote: “So many people with so many different stories filled the world God had made. It wasn’t right for her to write off any of them, because she could read only a few lines.”