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Review: The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger

Title: The History of Jane Doe
Author: Michael Belanger
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 273
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (CT)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Raymond Green was a history buff without a story of his own. 

Simon Blackburn was Ray's best friend, a passionate consumer of tween vampire novels and milk.

Their high school status was: Agressively Ignored

Then the sarcastic, folk-music-loving Jane Doe moves to Ray and Simon's weird little town of Burgerville, and a miraculous thing happens: she chooses Ray and Simon as her people. And rather than imploding, the universe bends to accept this new reality.

So begins their junior year of green cows, epiphany-filled minivan rides, and first love. For once, Ray is more excited about the present than the past. But here's the thing about the present: you just don't know what's coming.

Review: How could I not be drawn to a book that mentions green cows?! Seriously, who has ever heard of a green cow.

This book starts out so differently from how it ends up, which is a good thing. In the beginning the story feels like it will be about a boy, Ray, his friend Simon, and Jane, the girl who brings a twist to their lives during junior year in high school. The chapters are told alternatively between time before and time after. For much of the book we don't know the event that is day 0.

As we get closer to day 0, the book takes a turn and becomes more exciting, more intense, and more significant. Jane's depression is more evident and her struggles begin to have a stronger effect on both Ray and Simon. I don't want to say any more, but the issue of mental health is dealt with well.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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