'New York, New York, a wonderful town' is the memorable refrain from one of my favourite songs, as sung in 'On The Town' by Gene Kelly and co. It's one of my favourite songs because I've always been obsessed with everything about New York. It's such a huge and vibrant city, full of culture and excitement and holds the promise of adventures and new beginnings. Although I haven't actually been to the land of dreams yet I'm determined to get there one day and in the meantime I get to live vicariously through wonderful books like 'Jessie Hearts NYC' by Keris Stainton.
Part of the reason I loved this book was obviously the fact that it's set in NYC and features frequent references to iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Central Park Zoo and Broadway. It also explores all the sights, sounds and smells of the city from the all-American deli breakfast which I could practically taste, to the speeding yellow cabs which whiz around at death-defying speeds. Then there are the nods to memorable pop culture such as 'An Affair to Remember', 'Sex and the City. (and the Magnolia Bakery), plus 'When Harry Met Sally'. Although 'Jessie Hearts NYC' is a fiction title and not a guidebook to the city, it does embrace wholeheartedly the wonder of NYC and the fact that anything is possible in a place where dreams really can come true.
Jessie and her best friend Emma are spending the summer in New York, with Jessie's divorced mother. This is an opportunity to leave boy troubles behind and to explore the city and have a carefree summer. Native New Yorker Finn, is having troubles of his own, including being in love with his best friend's girlfriend and attempting to come to a decision about what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Their stories unfold in alternating chapters throughout, as they come closer and closer to meeting. As we learn more about their characters it becomes increasingly clear that they're made for each other but will they ever get to meet!
I loved, loved, loved this book! It was funny and lighthearted which makes it a perfect summer book but it was also absorbing and a real treat to read. There was a good balance between some really laugh-out-loud moments and some more serious parts which dealt with Jessie trying to rebuild her relationship with her mother. I thought that the way in which their relationship was revealed and developed worked really well and added some extra depth to the story.
'Jessie Hearts NYC' is a super book! The story is as shiny and sparkly as the gorgeous front cover and I enjoyed every second of reading it. Fingers crossed that maybe my dream will come true one day like Jessie and I'll get to go to New York!