07 July 2018

ARC Review: The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger

The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: June 5, 2018
# of Pages: 304

Book Format: ARC
A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life mean

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville's past is riddled with green cow sightings and human groundhogs, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl--we'll call her Jane Doe.

Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. As fascination turns to friendship and then to something more, Ray is certain he knows Jane's darkest, most painful secrets and Jane herself--from past to present. But when the unthinkable happens, Ray is forced to acknowledge that perhaps history can only tell us so much.

Mixing humor with heartache, this is an unmissable coming-of-age story from an exciting new voice in YA.

My Review:
I received, The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger from the publisher and this is my honest review.

The History of Jane Doe follows a young man by the name of Raymond who finds joy in knowing and teaching his friends the history of their beloved town. His world changes for the better when he meets a girl who he refers to as Jane. She doesn’t seem like the type of person who would like a small town like Williamsburg but Ray makes her move here as fun as he possibly can.

An interesting aspect of this book is that it seems to be characterized for a younger audience since the book says right on it young readers, but there are some very mature themes within this book that I feel like some might cause some controversy on whether or not this should not be marketed toward a young audience. But at the same time, these themes need to be introduced to the younger crowd eventually and in a delicate way so maybe this is the perfect platform for some younger to start hearing about some of the themes in this book.

The themes strewn throughout the book include sex, suicide, death, and divorce. All of these situations can be hard to go through and everyone handles them differently so I feel like featuring these themes in this book for a younger audience to see is almost necessary so they can begin to understand what these different things mean and how to handle them in different ways. The biggest message I get from The History of Jane Doe is to cherish all relationships, never take any for granted and it is okay to express yourself and to let out your emotions. Those are important messages for not just a younger audience but those in an older age group as well.

I loved the characters in this book so much they were all so close and as a reader, I could feel the bond that the three main characters especially had. A lot of young adult and even middle-grade books portray their main characters as a female especially in other books that deal with themes such as the ones this one does. Belanger does something so different as to chose Ray as a male main character. It’s so refreshing because there are not that many books out there that accomplish what this one does.

I’m extremely glad I accepted this for review and cannot wait to see what else Michael Belanger puts out there in the world regardless of the age group because this was a fun read. I oftentimes found myself laughing out loud especially when it came to milk jokes. But there were also times when I felt my heartstrings being pulled during the many heartfelt moments between Ray and Jane. So, overall, I loved it and this book is definitely one to check out!

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