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Love, Jacaranda: 12/19/20
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn took me by surprise. I saw the audiobook when I was looking for something new to read. I liked the title and the pretty cover. I bought it without even reading the blurb. My ears perked up though with the opening quote from Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (1912). As the original epistolary is one of my favorite books, I settled in for a very delightful read.
This novel is a contemporary retelling that reframes Judy, now Jacaranda's situation from being an orphan to being a foster child whose mother is in prison. Jervys is now Jarvis and is only a year older than Jacaranda, who calls herself Jackie at her new school. This time she's discovered through a viral video where she sings a grocery store jingle while bagging groceries.
Jackie's letters to "Mr. Smith" provide biting criticisms of life among the one percent as well as the added stress of constantly having to rebrand herself. Jackie spends the first half of the book, roughly the first half of the school year, learning how to live as if she's had the same opportunities as the majority of her classmates while constantly playing catch up.