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Wesley James Ruined My Life

Review

Wesley James Ruined My Life

WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE is Jennifer Honeybourn’s first novel and her debut into the young adult romance genre.

This summer, Quinn is facing some tough changes she’s helpless to fix. She can’t help her Gran overcome Alzheimer’s. She can’t cure her father of his gambling addiction. But there is one thing Quinn can do to make everything a little better: go to Britain, where she can experience the place her Gran had some of the best years of her life. It’s perfect timing that her school band is set to travel to Britain at the beginning of the school year. All she has to do is save enough money by the fall, and with a job secured at the medieval-themed restaurant Tudor Times, it seems like Quinn has everything worked out --- until Wesley James returns.

"WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE is a sweet and sincere book, and Quinn’s charismatic narration will keep readers turning the pages. The story is fast moving, and the overall tone is inviting, which makes for a quick, enjoyable read."

Wesley James used to be Quinn’s closest friend. But that was before he left town --- and before he started a domino effect that ended her parents’ marriage. So, on top of saving for the trip, juggling her job and band practice and worrying about her Gran, Quinn decides to teach Wesley James a lesson. When Wesley gets a job at Tudor Times and joins band, Quinn is infuriated by all the time she has to spend with him. But maybe spending more time with him will make it easier to carry out her plan to get even with Wesley. All she has to do now is stop falling for him.

WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE is a charming, funny young adult romance. Honeybourn does great justice to her characters, who each have distinctive and well-developed personas. As a narrator, Quinn has a strong voice, and although she may frustrate readers at times, she is a character both relatable and endearing. Her struggles to come to terms with her grandmother’s disease, her father’s gambling addiction and her parents’ divorce are depicted genuinely. These challenges show her to be immensely caring and loyal, giving her character a welcome depth while preventing the story from becoming entirely one-dimensional or clichéd.

Honeybourn does an admirable job with Wesley, as well, and she doesn’t neglect to flesh out the supporting characters, all of whom add a vivacity to Quinn’s world. The only significant factor of the novel that could be conveyed as a stumbling block is Quinn’s stubbornness concerning Wesley’s somewhat trivial actions from the past. It’s understandable that she’s grappling with lots of difficult changes, and maybe that’s why she needs something to fixate on, but it sometimes grows hard to believe her black-and-white view of Wesley and what happened.

On the whole, WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE is a sweet and sincere book, and Quinn’s charismatic narration will keep readers turning the pages. The story is fast moving, and the overall tone is inviting, which makes for a quick, enjoyable read. Honeybourn’s first novel is an ideal beach read, a cute, short story for anyone in a slump, or just the right fit for someone who appreciates a simple --- but engaging --- young adult romance.

Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member on July 27, 2017

Wesley James Ruined My Life
by Jennifer Honeybourn