Note: I received a copy of this book to participate in this blog tour. This does not impact the content of my review. 

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne OelkeBook: Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author: Lianne Oelke
Published: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre:  Contemporary, YA
Source: Raincoast Books

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The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win. (Goodreads)


My rating: 4 stars
It was lovely. Definitely recommend. 

Guys! Becky Albertalli blurbed this book! That should tell you a fair bit about how good it is.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is really, really fun. It’s a little weird, a little unpredictable, and a little snarky. All in all, I definitely recommend.

And, it’s set in Calgary! That’s where I live! For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s in Alberta, Canada. We’re about a 2.5-hour drive north of the border into Montana, USA.

When I was offered the chance to read Jane Sinner, I was quite excited. As Lianne explains (scroll down — you’ll find her response to my question about setting), there are not a lot of YA books set in Canada, and even fewer set in Calgary. If you know of one, please let me know — I’d love to read it. 

It was fun to read a book set in the city I live in. I was able to picture quite a few of the locations mentioned. It’s my adopted city, so I may have missed a few of the references Lianne made (she grew up here), but it was fun to read. Elbow River (named after one of two major rivers in Calgary) isn’t a real school (that I’m aware of), but the name is definitely a common reference in this area. Calgarians love to name things after our rivers.

The only thing I found a little strange was the community college concept being in Calgary. To my understanding, we don’t have them here in the sense that a lot of the world knows them from the US model of apparent crappy community colleges as a alternative –but not really respected choice –to university (example: the tv show Community). But, the concept worked for the story, so I’ll let that pass.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is an engaging read. Jane is snarky and unhappy but is stubborn, and a little rude, and really smart. She makes the perfect reality show star. The whole cast does, really. The characters all have their own quirks and legitimate reasons for being where they are, doing what they’re doing. They are interesting, and funny, and I definitely found myself rooting for a bunch of them (but Jane was my top choice all along, I swear).


Q&A with Lianne Oelke, author – Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Q: Why was placing this book in Calgary important to the story?

A: Setting Nice Try, Jane Sinner in Calgary was natural for me, as I grew up there. Calgary may not be the most glamorous or exotic city, but it’s special in its own right. It’s a big, sprawling place. Sometimes the monotony of the prairies is stifling, and other times the huge skies above feel limitless. Jane is caught between the tedium of her life and the terrifying possibilities she could embrace to change it. Calgary is also rather conservative, overall. Like me, Jane struggles with what it means to challenge, evolve, and claim the traditional values that seem set in stone to others. I’ve read plenty of YA books set in the States, but only a handful set in Canada. The setting was not something I was willing to compromise on. I 100% believe that Canadian teens deserve to see themselves in books (and the rest of the world could use more stories about us, too!).

Nice Try, Jane Sinner blog tour

Check out all the stops on the Jane Sinner blog tour!

January 8

Jessica @ Paper Trail Diary

Trisha @ trishajennreads

January 9

Jessica @ Novel Cravings

Lola @   Hit or Miss Books

January 10

Alexa @ Alexa Talks Books

Milana @ A Couple Reads

January 11

Hannah @ Book Thief Without Words

Michelle @ A Thousand Lives Lived

trishajennreads' black glasses

Do you know any awesome books set in Calgary? 

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