Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me, by Gae Polisner {ends 4/15}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

And suddenly I feel like I’m going to cry and I don’t know why. Maybe because it hits me that we’re really not friends anymore. Forget barely. Not at all. And what I wish most in this moment is that I could have her back, the old Aubrey, the one who ran through sprinklers with me, the one who played House and lugged Mary Lennox up on her canopied bed, sharing her deepest, darkest secrets with me. The one who fell into fits of conspiratorial laughter when we caught Ethan looking at porn on his computer. The one I could talk to, who wasn’t so different from me.

Lying here in Max’s bedroom, I want to feel good about how I’m finally doing in real life all those things Aubrey and I only imagined back then, pretending o n hands and dolls, in hopes that one day we’d actually know what we were doing. I miss that Aubrey, the one who would have wanted to know everything about how he felt, and sounded, how it smelled. The one who would have made me spill every lurid detail.

Coming of age can mean a lot of things—finishing school, deciding what life holds next, or discovering sex. Jean Louise Markham is trying to go through all three at once, without much responsible guidance.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me, by Gae Polisner {ends 4/21}
Fifteen-year-old JL Markham’s life used to be filled with carnival nights and hot summer days spent giggling with her forever best friend Aubrey about their families and boys. Together, they were unstoppable. But they aren’t the friends they once were.

With JL’s father gone on long term business, and her mother struggling with her mental illness, JL takes solace in the tropical butterflies she raises, and in her new, older boyfriend, Max Gordon. Max may be rough on the outside, but he has the soul of a poet (something Aubrey will never understand). Only, Max is about to graduate, and he's going to hit the road - with or without JL.

JL can't bear being left behind again. But what if devoting herself to Max not only means betraying her parents, but permanently losing the love of her best friend? What becomes of loyalty, when no one is loyal to you?

Gae Polisner’s Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me is a story about the fragility of female friendship, of falling in love and wondering if you are ready for more, and of the glimmers of hope we find by taking stock in ourselves.

Jean Louise (better known as JL) has a loneliness that seems obvious to those around her, but even more hopeless within her own head. Her dad is on a long-term business trip, leaving her with only her mentally unstable mother and her grandma who wants to pretend her mom is fine. Then JL gets an older boyfriend, but maybe at the cost of her disapproving best friend. It’s a challenging time of life, and she is navigating it with little support.

At 15 years old, her life is filled with questions and choices about her own identity, her future, and her relationships. She thinks she could love her boyfriend, but she knows there’s only one time she’ll lose her virginity, and she isn’t sure if the time is right yet. The community expects her to be free-spirited and beautiful like her mother, but now their opinions of her mother are changing their perceptions of JL.

Overall, this book was more engaging than expected. The Jack Kerouac tie-in was just a casual family story that turned into JL’s mother’s obsession. I’d give this book 3/5 stars and recommend it as a touching coming-of-age story for those who don’t mind a little sex with their stories.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley loves sleeping in, laughing with her kids, and watching Glee and Better Call Saul. She also blogs (mostly about books) at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, April 15th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Open to both U.S. and Canadian residents!

Good luck!

Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me, by Gae Polisner


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