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Jagged Little Pill

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A timely and gutsy YA novel based on the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical from Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard! Swallow it down—what a jagged little pill . . . Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother— A timely and gutsy YA novel based on the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical from Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard! Swallow it down—what a jagged little pill . . . Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother—who would rather ignore a problem and preserve their “perfect” life than stand up for what’s right. Jo just wants her mom to accept her queer identity—and is totally crushed when Frankie, the only person who really gets her, finds herself infatuated with someone new. Phoenix tries to find his place at the new school and balance wanting to spend time with Frankie but knowing he also has to help out with his sick sister at home. Bella wants to enjoy the end of high school and just head off to college without a hitch. Everyone expects Frankie's brother Nick to be the golden boy, but even though he just got into his dream school, he’s not even sure he's a good person. Each of their stories intersects when Bella is sexually assaulted at a party, and it looks like the perpetrator might get away with it. Moving, heartfelt, and raw, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel draws on the musical’s story and gives readers deeper glimpses of the characters. It’s a story about the power of voicing your pain, standing up for what’s right, and finding healing and connection.


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A timely and gutsy YA novel based on the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical from Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard! Swallow it down—what a jagged little pill . . . Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother— A timely and gutsy YA novel based on the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical from Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard! Swallow it down—what a jagged little pill . . . Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party. Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother—who would rather ignore a problem and preserve their “perfect” life than stand up for what’s right. Jo just wants her mom to accept her queer identity—and is totally crushed when Frankie, the only person who really gets her, finds herself infatuated with someone new. Phoenix tries to find his place at the new school and balance wanting to spend time with Frankie but knowing he also has to help out with his sick sister at home. Bella wants to enjoy the end of high school and just head off to college without a hitch. Everyone expects Frankie's brother Nick to be the golden boy, but even though he just got into his dream school, he’s not even sure he's a good person. Each of their stories intersects when Bella is sexually assaulted at a party, and it looks like the perpetrator might get away with it. Moving, heartfelt, and raw, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel draws on the musical’s story and gives readers deeper glimpses of the characters. It’s a story about the power of voicing your pain, standing up for what’s right, and finding healing and connection.

30 review for Jagged Little Pill

  1. 4 out of 5

    jv poore

    There’s a whole lot happening in the Healy household. Nick sees only Harvard on the horizon, six short months away. Mrs. Healy is obviously and enthusiastically proud of her son. Simultaneously, she is purely perplexed by her seventeen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Meanwhile, Mr. Healy is…well, not around. He seems to be spending most of his waking (and some of his sleeping) hours at work. Frankie is filled with frustration. As the only Black member in her white (adopted) family, she certainly gets There’s a whole lot happening in the Healy household. Nick sees only Harvard on the horizon, six short months away. Mrs. Healy is obviously and enthusiastically proud of her son. Simultaneously, she is purely perplexed by her seventeen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Meanwhile, Mr. Healy is…well, not around. He seems to be spending most of his waking (and some of his sleeping) hours at work. Frankie is filled with frustration. As the only Black member in her white (adopted) family, she certainly gets noticed. Sadly, though, she’s never actually seen. Aside from Jo. They’ve been besties forever and recently, even more. They’ve also formed a new high-school club, SMAAC: Social Movements and Advocacy Committee. Admittedly, growing the membership to more than two was a goal, but neither wanted it the way it went down. Big brother is too busy to support Frankie & Jo’s cause, but he does have time to attend his wealthy friend’s epic party. True, Andrew’s a bit of a douche-canoe, but basically a good guy. Right? Most importantly though, Bella will be there. Liquid-courage likely, Nick may finally tell Bella how he feels. Upon arrival, it seems as if Andrew has his own plans for Bella’s evening. Oddly enough, she doesn’t seem to object. Although, she’s certainly not at her sharpest. Perhaps the bottomless cup she clings to is hitting her hard. When Nick leaves, he offers to take Bella home. Declined, by Andrew on her behalf, Nick exits, alone. Bad idea. Bad things happen. Frankie and Jo are the first, and for quite some time, the only people to approach Bella to offer support. Not the quiet kind. They are fierce and ready to fight for their friend. The YA novel, Jagged Little Pill, by Eric Smith, with Alanis Morrissette, Diablo Cody and Glen Ballard, is based on the award-winning musical that shares the same name. As is always the case, Mr. Smith manages to tackle topics often ignored by adults, but that teens often deal with, while also illuminating issues in problematic and frankly, downright racist, dialogue. There are absolutely moments of levity, along with phenomenal new vocabulary. I will be working “heteronormative” into conversations. Yes, of course I’m going to mention “my” students. This (school) year, I’ve been so fortunate to be able to receive honest and thoughtful feed-back from these cherubs. One thing that really stood out: they want to know what is going on with parents. Here is an excellent answer to that question and you know that I cannot wait to share Jagged Little Pill: The Novel with them. *Bonus cool points for the Lamar Giles mention. That man can write a story to suck you right in. I won a copy from a Goodreads Giveaway, so shout out to Goodreads for helping me grow my favorite classroom library!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Well! I don’t know how many times I listened Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album and how many times I got thrown out from karaoke bar for singing “You Ought to know” extra dramatically and ear bleeding-ly! It’s still one of my all time top ten favorite albums! When I heard the idea they were making a Broadway musical based on this fabulous album, I couldn’t act quicker to buy tickets! I loved it so much! I’ve seen it twice and I plan to see it again in near future when I have business trip to Well! I don’t know how many times I listened Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album and how many times I got thrown out from karaoke bar for singing “You Ought to know” extra dramatically and ear bleeding-ly! It’s still one of my all time top ten favorite albums! When I heard the idea they were making a Broadway musical based on this fabulous album, I couldn’t act quicker to buy tickets! I loved it so much! I’ve seen it twice and I plan to see it again in near future when I have business trip to Big Apple! So you may imagine how happy I’m to read a book based on musical with more detailed character analysis, thought provoking approach to many sensitive issues with pure honesty. As a difference from the play, we read more detailed Phoenix, Nick and Bella’s character developments with more realistic approach and background stories. Especially Bella’s story hurt me a lot. It was so real, heart wrenching and powerful! Overall: Eric Smith did a marvelous job by turning this Broadway play into the book which is based on one of the incredible albums at rock history! Special thanks to NetGalley and ABRAHAMS Kids for giving me this win chance by sending this digital reviewer copy in exchange my honest thoughts.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    You do not need to know a thing about the album or the show based on the album to enjoy this quintessential YA story. It follows five complex teens in suburban Connecticut, showing each of their individual challenges, ranging from romantic interests to family illness, being the new kid to sexual assault, to social media to parental addiction, social justice and community engagement. It's fast-paced and each of the characters distinct and all interweave with one another in smart, compelling ways. You do not need to know a thing about the album or the show based on the album to enjoy this quintessential YA story. It follows five complex teens in suburban Connecticut, showing each of their individual challenges, ranging from romantic interests to family illness, being the new kid to sexual assault, to social media to parental addiction, social justice and community engagement. It's fast-paced and each of the characters distinct and all interweave with one another in smart, compelling ways. If you are a Morisette fan, you'll be delighted by the Easter eggs throughout, and readers who love the humor Smith brings to his writing will see it shine through here. It's been a while since I read a book in a sitting, but I did with this one. I'm especially satisfied that there wasn't a clean, clear, perfect ending--that's real life, and because of the big topics the story digs into, any other ending would have been far too clean, easy, or unsatisfactory.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sam Maggs

    Everything Eric writes is amazing, and Jagged Little Pill is no exception. I love this story and I love the music and it’s so cute and good and ANGSTY and Eric rules.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    Big thanks to Abrams for the super cool influencer box and for allowing me to review and promote this book! Reading this book took me back to my highschool days when Head Over Feet was my go-to when hanging out with my crush, hoping he'd connect to the song and realize how much he loved and adored me and would move the world for me. None of that happened, but the nostalgia was real. Small note: I did not know they made a musical called Jagged Little Pill and that so many heavy-hitting stars were Big thanks to Abrams for the super cool influencer box and for allowing me to review and promote this book! Reading this book took me back to my highschool days when Head Over Feet was my go-to when hanging out with my crush, hoping he'd connect to the song and realize how much he loved and adored me and would move the world for me. None of that happened, but the nostalgia was real. Small note: I did not know they made a musical called Jagged Little Pill and that so many heavy-hitting stars were part of it. Granted, it released when my family and I moved overseas to Italy and life basically got hard and weird and horrible and I missed out on a lot back in the States. I digress... My experiences with reading novels based on musicals have been good and this one was no different. I have adored everything Eric Smith has written, so I had no fears this would be good. Te multiple POVs gave us the best perspective of the tumultuous lives of five teens. Jagged Little Pill deals with some heavy topics including drug addiction, drug overdose, rape, and bullying, amongst others, but it is done with heart and care. i can't speak to the fleshing out of the characters, but I have read reviews where they say the book does a better job at characterizations, especially for Phoenix's character. I also can't speak to the controversy of changing Jo's character from non-binary to cis, but from what I do know is that it started on the Broadway show, not this book. But there are queer reps in this book, including Jo and Frankie if that helps. I think fans of the musical will love this rendition and even those who haven't seen it, like myself. It can open the line of communication between children and parents. Topics like sexual assault and drugs are not easy to have with your children and vice versa, but hopefully books like this can ease those worries and help those who struggle.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    While this YA novel is based on the Jagged Little Pill musical, which is based on Alanis Morissette's album, you do not need to know either to enjoy this book–which I think YA lovers will greatly enjoy. (There is however an "isn't it ironic" scene that was hilarious.) I loved watching the messy lives of a family of four: white mom trying to hide her pain pill addiction, white dad always at work, white teen son forced to be the perfect everything, and adopted Black teen daughter trying to fix the While this YA novel is based on the Jagged Little Pill musical, which is based on Alanis Morissette's album, you do not need to know either to enjoy this book–which I think YA lovers will greatly enjoy. (There is however an "isn't it ironic" scene that was hilarious.) I loved watching the messy lives of a family of four: white mom trying to hide her pain pill addiction, white dad always at work, white teen son forced to be the perfect everything, and adopted Black teen daughter trying to fix the world while trying to figure out where she fits in. It's filled with the many mistakes we make as individuals and as a society but told with a lot of heart, care, and hope. (TW brief teacher student statutory attempt/ date rape/ nude pic taken and shared without consent/ forced outing/ accidental overdose)

  7. 5 out of 5

    umamah

    Thank you to ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books and NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review! trigger warnings: sexual assault, rape, outing, addiction, implied homophobia I should preface by saying that I have not watched the Jagged Little Pill, the musical, so I can't determine how the book compares to the musical. That being said, the book in itself was a fantastic read! I've always been drawn to stories featuring a group of teenagers brought together due to circumstance and seeing how that Thank you to ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books and NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review! trigger warnings: sexual assault, rape, outing, addiction, implied homophobia I should preface by saying that I have not watched the Jagged Little Pill, the musical, so I can't determine how the book compares to the musical. That being said, the book in itself was a fantastic read! I've always been drawn to stories featuring a group of teenagers brought together due to circumstance and seeing how that one event impacts them all individually and collectively, and vice versa - how the group members' individuality contributes to how the group deals with the event. Jagged Little Pill: The Novel did a great job of delivering this. It featured an interesting group comprised of five teenagers: Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella, their lives intermingling in a substantial way after Bella was sexually assaulted at a party. As the four teens try to make sense of the situation and offer Bella their help, they learn more about each other, learn from each other, and ultimately, learn more about themselves and who they are as people and who they aspire to be. Eric Smith did a wonderful job in bringing each of these characters to life. The voices and struggles of each of the five teens was distinct and their growth and development was executed really well. I found myself emphasizing with each of the characters and hoping for a happy ending for each of them. The novel also covers many important issues - sexual assault, navigating sexuality, addiction, and the struggles of being an adopted child. I found Smith did a great job of writing about these issues and how they impact adolescents and their everyday life. Overall, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel was an engaging read and I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys the YA genre and stories revolving around social issues with fierce, lovable teenagers fighting against them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    alisha

    you oughta know this book was BAD omg 2/5 stars thanks to netgalley and amulet books for the arc! jagged little pill more like ragged little pill !! the universe has aligned the terrible events of me watching the jlp bootleg last year and me reading the dear evan hansen ya novel into one catastrophic happening: me requesting this book on netgalley to see how bad it could get i have my own issues w the actual book of the musical and they really shined through in this novel at the beginning the author c you oughta know this book was BAD omg 2/5 stars thanks to netgalley and amulet books for the arc! jagged little pill more like ragged little pill !! the universe has aligned the terrible events of me watching the jlp bootleg last year and me reading the dear evan hansen ya novel into one catastrophic happening: me requesting this book on netgalley to see how bad it could get i have my own issues w the actual book of the musical and they really shined through in this novel at the beginning the author chose to add some things in that were not in the musical so i thought hmm maybe he’s going to rectify the pacing issues from the musical WRONG they were actually made worse somehow for a book with multiple povs they really chose the worst ones and also somehow managed to underdevelop the characters w pov chapters the book focuses on bella’s storyline but gives her 0 personality or time to breathe as herself pacing??? romeo and juliet level bad it’s a book that is quintessentially ya - a smoothie of every single topical issue all addressed with the same surface level nuance also the whole thing with nick and bella???? weird gross boo tomato tomato throwing tomatoes i leave you with this nugget of wisdom: phoenix is smart but stupid frankie is gay but straight and nick crop dusts in whole foods i don’t make the rules

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet | purrfectpages

    While vaguely aware the music of Alanis Morissette had inspired a Broadway musical, I admittedly went in, somewhat blind to its novel adaptation. In my defense, anything based off the genius that was Morissette’s ground breaking album would peak the curiosity of a lot of people from my generation. When Jagged Little Pill came out I was a high school senior, scorned (by tame, teenage standards) by my first “love”. Needless to say, JLP’s cocktail of anger and angst spoke to me, along with many oth While vaguely aware the music of Alanis Morissette had inspired a Broadway musical, I admittedly went in, somewhat blind to its novel adaptation. In my defense, anything based off the genius that was Morissette’s ground breaking album would peak the curiosity of a lot of people from my generation. When Jagged Little Pill came out I was a high school senior, scorned (by tame, teenage standards) by my first “love”. Needless to say, JLP’s cocktail of anger and angst spoke to me, along with many other teenage girls of the time. Fast forward more years than I care to admit and this book crosses my path. I requested it from @netgalley without hesitation, curious to see how they would breathe new life into the powerful words of the album (that still holds up, mind you) all these years later. Color me disappointed however, when I came to find reading this book did, in fact, leave me feeling like it had rained on my wedding day. Ironic, don’t ya think? In this EXTREMELY, loosely based adaptation, we follow a group of teenagers, ultimately seeing how each is effected after the fallout from a recent high school party. There’s the siblings, Frankie and Nick, one who is loved, “as long as he’s perfect”, the other adopted and torn emotionally between her best friend and the new boy in town. Then there’s Bella, the victim of a sexual assault gone viral, among others. Oh, did I fail to mention this book doesn’t even take place in the nineties? In fact, with the exception of the poetry our main characters “created”, poached right from the likes of Morissette and Ballard’s song book, you would NEVER know this book was based on anything Alanis related, period. Even if, and it’s a big IF I could put my frustration aside for failing to see the lack of Alanis’s inspiration, this book reads like typical young adult fare, and not one that’s fleshed out all that well either. Looking back, I wouldn’t call JLP a concept album, so it’s a fairly odd choice to try to write an entire production upon. I might be in the minority here, but the thoughts in this review are all my own and ones, I thought, you outta know.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Glenda Carrillo

    Solid 4 stars for Jagged Little Pill. I requested this book due to Alanis Morisette being one of my favorite artist from the late 90’s. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know or be a fan of her music. Jagged Little Pill follows 5 teenagers in suburban Connecticut as they juggle daily life of gossip, love, underage drinking and fitting in. The story flows so smooth and is a quick read. There is a diverse list of characters who all deal with trauma in one way or another. 💊Nick feels like he has to Solid 4 stars for Jagged Little Pill. I requested this book due to Alanis Morisette being one of my favorite artist from the late 90’s. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know or be a fan of her music. Jagged Little Pill follows 5 teenagers in suburban Connecticut as they juggle daily life of gossip, love, underage drinking and fitting in. The story flows so smooth and is a quick read. There is a diverse list of characters who all deal with trauma in one way or another. 💊Nick feels like he has to be perfect for everyone. 💊Frankie is an African American adopted into a white family and is Bisexual 💊Bella was sexually assaulted 💊Jo is a Catholic who is gay and struggles with her family seeing her 💊 And Phoenix is the new kid in town who is trying to fit in. TW: sexual assault/rape; drug addiction & underage drinking Thank you to Amulet Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather Stewart

    I had a very hard time rating this book. I would have definitely enjoyed in more as a teen reading it. It was not very original - love triangle, LBGQT, addiction, sickness, etc. I wanted more of a Alanis Morrissette feel and music vibe. I also have read better YA girl empowerment novels. Being based off the musical "Jagged Little Pill" - there is most likely more music in musical...lol, but after reading this I'm not sure I'm as interested now in seeing it as I was previously. I had a very hard time rating this book. I would have definitely enjoyed in more as a teen reading it. It was not very original - love triangle, LBGQT, addiction, sickness, etc. I wanted more of a Alanis Morrissette feel and music vibe. I also have read better YA girl empowerment novels. Being based off the musical "Jagged Little Pill" - there is most likely more music in musical...lol, but after reading this I'm not sure I'm as interested now in seeing it as I was previously.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andi (Andi's ABCs)

    2.5 stars As quick of a read that this was, it wasn’t the book for me. Everything moved so quickly that it all felt really rushed. And for the subject matter, it was a disservice, IMO. The first 30% was set up and then the rest took place in days but so much went on it felt like it should have been months. Also for me this was one of those rare books that so many POVs hurt the story because I couldn’t focus on each character long enough to get invested. All in all it just wasn’t for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    carina

    Thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing me an eARC copy of Jagged Little Pill: The Novel by Eric Smith in exchange for an honest review! As a fan of the Jagged Little Pill musical, which I was able to see twice on Broadway, I was very much looking forward to reading this book. While reading this book, I tried to focus on what this book had compared to the musical, what it didn't have, and how it fared entirely as a standalone book for readers who have not seen the original musical. T Thank you to NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing me an eARC copy of Jagged Little Pill: The Novel by Eric Smith in exchange for an honest review! As a fan of the Jagged Little Pill musical, which I was able to see twice on Broadway, I was very much looking forward to reading this book. While reading this book, I tried to focus on what this book had compared to the musical, what it didn't have, and how it fared entirely as a standalone book for readers who have not seen the original musical. The novelization of Jagged Little Pill penned by Eric Smith is a great example of what a YA book should be, and I found that it excellently depicted the voices of all five main characters that rotated throughout the book—Jo, Frankie, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella. Jagged Little Pill is a tricky story, because it takes on a plethora of social issues, but it is all done with the correct pacing, and the most intense of it was handled very well. I think that Jagged Little Pill will be able to resonate with readers in the way that it treates the idea of a perfect family that is really just hiding all of their faults. The Healy family starts off as a family that brags to other families about how well their children are doing, and how successful their parents are, but over the course of the book, all of that changes. Aside from issues within the family, Jagged Little Pill also tackles issues such as infidelity and sexual assault. While I don't believe the former was handled well, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the latter was done. I am not a sexual assault survivor myself, but I have read a lot of articles and first-hand experiences of it, and to me, Bella's experience in the book was portrayed in a very realistic and evocative manner. I was able to get a glimpse of the same frustration that she felt, and that only helped in my overall experience of the book. As for how good of a novelization this was, I think that fans of the musical should be excited for this book, as it gives more characterization to Nick, Bella, and most especially Phoenix, who weren't given that much prominence in the musical. Those said three characters were more fleshed out, given qualities and backstories that were never present in the musical, and all of the new additions seemed very appropriate to their characters. Even Jo, who could be counted as a main character of the musical, was given more backstory in the novelization. The added bonus of more characterization helped shape the story of Jagged Little Pill into something more cohesive, which I found lacking in the original musical. So even though this features no songs, and only song references, I believe that it is on par with the original musical just for excelling in what the musical could not. Jagged Little Pill is about how humanity is stronger as one, and it is about understanding that your family and friends have a large impact on the person you are today. It's about accepting help and being honest with your loved ones, even if it means exposing your deepest vulnerabilities. It's about how even though the world might be cruel, it won't be as intimidating if you only join forces with others, and there is never any power in pretending to be someone you're not.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie | niftyreads

    The very last trip I took before the world crumbled in 2020 was to NYC, and one of three Broadway shows I experienced was Jagged Little Pill. When I was asked if I wanted to read an arc of the new YA book of JAGGED LITTLE PILL by Eric Smith with Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, which is based on the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical, my immediate answer was yes! I’m so glad this book exists now; if only it existed years ago for a young me. I’ve seen the show (if you haven’t, The very last trip I took before the world crumbled in 2020 was to NYC, and one of three Broadway shows I experienced was Jagged Little Pill. When I was asked if I wanted to read an arc of the new YA book of JAGGED LITTLE PILL by Eric Smith with Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, which is based on the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical, my immediate answer was yes! I’m so glad this book exists now; if only it existed years ago for a young me. I’ve seen the show (if you haven’t, the tour begins this fall, please do yourself a favor and see it!), and I know the cast recording by heart. I also know the original Jagged Little Pill album by Alanis by heart as I bought it when it came out, but we aren’t going to discuss that since it will definitely age me. 😉 So, reading this book, I expected just to enjoy the story. I didn’t expect to get hit with the feels and be full out crying by the end because I was so overcome with emotion. I mean, hello! I know how the story ends; I know the musical! But Eric Smith’s writing pulled me, and I got swept up in the story, and feelings were felt. The thing about this JAGGED LITTLE PILL is that Smith expanded the characters. We get the emotions in the music on stage, and we learn about these characters a little bit. But here in the book, Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella become more because we are inside their heads. Yes, I admit, I’m already attached to them because I know the show, but you don’t have to know the musical or Alanis’ music to enjoy this book. This is a coming-of-age book. Teens figuring out who they are and the difference between right and wrong. It tackles gritty topics like sexual assault, what you do if you know something, and what power a victim has. The book deals a lot with people figuring out their identity and where they fit in. This is a very easy read - I read it in one sitting. I was enamored by it. It’s one I’ll love having on my shelf and one that I’m happy is out in the world. I think it’s important that books like this are written. Not just to attract people to the theatre but to make kids feel less alone. PS - For anyone who loves the musical and Alanis’ music, there are a lot of hidden easter eggs that you can find hidden throughout! Thanks Abrams Books and Amulet Books for the gifted book! Content Warnings: sexual assault, infidelity, outing, drug addiction, drug overdose, terminal illness

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaley

    Quick Stats Age Rating: 14/15+ Over All: 4 stars Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4.5/5 Setting: 4/5 Writing: 4/5 Special thanks to TLC Book Tours and Amulet Books for an ARC of this book! All thoughts and opinions reflected in this review are my own. TW: sexual assault, rape, outing, religious trauma, cheating, addiction (painkillers and alcohol) + more Alannis Morrisette’s debut album got the Mamma Mia treatment and was made into a musical. That musical got the Dear Evan Hansen treatment, and was made into a YA Quick Stats Age Rating: 14/15+ Over All: 4 stars Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4.5/5 Setting: 4/5 Writing: 4/5 Special thanks to TLC Book Tours and Amulet Books for an ARC of this book! All thoughts and opinions reflected in this review are my own. TW: sexual assault, rape, outing, religious trauma, cheating, addiction (painkillers and alcohol) + more Alannis Morrisette’s debut album got the Mamma Mia treatment and was made into a musical. That musical got the Dear Evan Hansen treatment, and was made into a YA novel. I think the driving force behind this novel is Alannis and her fame, however I’m not sure how affective that will be in bringing readers to this book. Most Alannis fans are older millennials and gen x, who are unlikely to be interested in reading a YA book. I picked it up because my mom was a huge fan in college, so I’m familiar with her name and music, but I’m not sure how many of today’s teens are. And, honestly, I find that disappointing, because this book was good, and I definitely recommend it—whether or not you’ve heard of Alannis Morrisette or Jagged Little Pill. This story hits on so many hard, important topics. At it’s center, it is a story of a survivor and those around her fighting for justice, but it touches on so much more. Bella’s assault and the aftermath are the driving factor of the plot, and while nothing is directly described, it still has the potential to be triggering. However, Frankie deals with what it’s like to be a Black girl who was adopted into a white family, as well as feeling like you come in second to your sibling, and figuring out you sexuality and being closeted/coming out. Jo deals with being out in a non-accepting home and environment, and it touches on religion as a factor of that. This book tackles the #MeToo movement, race, sexuality, interracial adoption, religious trauma, addiction, and more in 300 some pages, and it manages to do all of that well, and in a way that never feels too overwhelming or heavy handed. A large part of Frankie’s story revolves around cheating, and I really didn’t enjoy that aspect of the book. Frankie’s character started off strong, but as the book went on, she started to bug me more and more. I feel like that whole fiasco took away from the main focus of Bella, and almost undermined all the other serious issues Frankie was dealing with. And yes, I understand she did what she did because she was overwhelmed by the other things going on in her life, but to me that felt like it was used to excuse her actions. It was never made out to be “that bad” and I felt like we were supposed to feel bad for Frankie for what she was doing, and I just couldn’t. Outside of that one storyline, I really enjoyed the book, and I do recommend it as long as you check all the trigger warnings.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for a review copy of this book. This is my first book adaptation of a musical that I’ve read. As someone who loves musicals, this was a musical that had gone under my radar somehow but after reading this book, I’m really interested in listening to the music to hear how it works with Alanis’s songs, especially as I grew up with her music. The story itself was one I enjoyed. It was relevant to today and I liked that it didn’t just gloss over the hard subject Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for a review copy of this book. This is my first book adaptation of a musical that I’ve read. As someone who loves musicals, this was a musical that had gone under my radar somehow but after reading this book, I’m really interested in listening to the music to hear how it works with Alanis’s songs, especially as I grew up with her music. The story itself was one I enjoyed. It was relevant to today and I liked that it didn’t just gloss over the hard subjects covered in the storyline. Even when someone tried to make amends, it wasn’t just a quick “okay everything is better now.” It felt more real and like seeing a slice of life into the small town. I think teenagers and adults will enjoy this book, and it can be used to open up the lines of communication about subjects that parents may not know how to address or talk about with their kids. It’s not easy to have those conversations, but as the book teaches us, we don’t always know what’s going on with someone, and we may have more in common than we think.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Wrench

    As a fan of the Broadway musical by the same title, I was curious to read the novel adaptation of the book by Eric Smith. Jagged Little Pill is based on Alanis Morissette studio album by the same title. Of course, the musical uses Morissette's music to play out a new story in traditional jukebox musical fashion. The novel, obviously, doesn't have the luxury of Morissette's music to help tell the story, but I think the author does a good job encapsulating the general feel of the original musical. As a fan of the Broadway musical by the same title, I was curious to read the novel adaptation of the book by Eric Smith. Jagged Little Pill is based on Alanis Morissette studio album by the same title. Of course, the musical uses Morissette's music to play out a new story in traditional jukebox musical fashion. The novel, obviously, doesn't have the luxury of Morissette's music to help tell the story, but I think the author does a good job encapsulating the general feel of the original musical. The book itself does a good job of sticking to the different characters and perspectives from the original musical. There are also a lot of text messages that go back and forth, which is artfully handled. Overall, I really enjoyed this musical adaptation. I think the book offers an interesting look into a series of provocative issues for older high school students and young adults. I want to thank the publisher for the advanced review copy of this book. Although I am grateful for the opportunity, the review was completely my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc! This is such an iconic album that for me now symbolizes the raw feelings of youth and this story hits all those sharp edges that are catalysts for teen angst. This story based on the musical by the same name follows a small group of teens, separately and together, as they experience some of life's more difficult issues. Even with such harsh realities it's easy to see from a perspective of a reader how these problems at once create differences betwee Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc! This is such an iconic album that for me now symbolizes the raw feelings of youth and this story hits all those sharp edges that are catalysts for teen angst. This story based on the musical by the same name follows a small group of teens, separately and together, as they experience some of life's more difficult issues. Even with such harsh realities it's easy to see from a perspective of a reader how these problems at once create differences between the individuals but at the same time binds them together. That's the main vibe I get from certain music, including this album, a connection to others who feel and understand it like I do. I definitely want to see the show now, too! Out on April 26th!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaitee Yaeko

    There is something timeless about Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Her soul, raw and messy, is on full display. That complex tapestry of emotion and longing connects all the threads of Jagged Little Pill: A Novel, as well anything sharing that name should. Eric Smith masterfully captures the core of his teenage characters and sets them loose in the world. Frankie, Jo, Phoenix, Nick and Bella - all wildly alive and wildly different - just want to be seen, to be heard. Their voices and desire There is something timeless about Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Her soul, raw and messy, is on full display. That complex tapestry of emotion and longing connects all the threads of Jagged Little Pill: A Novel, as well anything sharing that name should. Eric Smith masterfully captures the core of his teenage characters and sets them loose in the world. Frankie, Jo, Phoenix, Nick and Bella - all wildly alive and wildly different - just want to be seen, to be heard. Their voices and desires are as clear as Alanis’s vocals Their intertwined stories knot together when Bella is assaulted at a party and someone posts about it online. Frankie, Jo, Phoenix and Nick circle around Bella in different ways. Frankie and Jo are in there trying to help. Phoenix is supporting Frankie. And Nick is trying to figure out what he saw that night at the party — what he didn’t interrupt — and how to help his friend while keeping his overbearing mother happy. Among these five characters, there are so many relationships. Brother and sister. Best friends. More than friends. New crushes. New friendships. Within all this, hearts break. Things splinter. And it all hits like a punch to the gut. As a YA contemporary, I think Eric nailed it. And as an adaptation, he knocked it out of the park! (BTW, you do not have to have seen the musical to enjoy this book. Though I highly recommend listening to the OBC album as you read.) My biggest critique of the show has always been this: I felt like there was one too many story line. I just wanted to sink my teeth in with the characters a bit more and I couldn’t do that because of everything that happened on stage. In the book, one of those storylines moves to the background and Eric gives me what I’ve wanted: time to get to know the characters better. Basically, Eric fills in all those spaces and I loved it! There are recurring moments across Eric’s books that I love, like the girls (rather than the boys) going in for the kisses first. And the most important of these is that all of his teens of color call racism what it is. They point at it, confront it, and dismantle it. Sometimes people listen. Sometimes they don’t. Just like in real life. These teens are so brave in the face of racism and I cheer every time. I also have to mention that Eric brought an authenticity to Frankie, as they are both adoptees. I felt like I was given the gift of a glimpse into an experience I can never know. And those are some of the best moments in books. If you’ve ever felt stranded, unmoored in a room full of people… If you’ve ever felt like you’re screaming but no one can hear you… If you’ve ever been in love with your best friend… If you’ve ever been let down by the people you trust most… If you’re ever found your strength in your lowest moments… If you’ve ever felt seen in Alanis’s music, read this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Nguyen

    I was able to read this ebook through #NetGalley! I had very high hopes for this book. I've never seen the Broadway show, but I still anticipated it to be edgy and cynical and entertaining. Instead, I thought it was dull and scattered and... dare I say, basic. I hate labeling something that's associated with Alana Morisette as basic, but there it is: this book is basic. If you are going to have the focus of the book be on this one party and the ensuing aftermath, give us more of the poor girl who I was able to read this ebook through #NetGalley! I had very high hopes for this book. I've never seen the Broadway show, but I still anticipated it to be edgy and cynical and entertaining. Instead, I thought it was dull and scattered and... dare I say, basic. I hate labeling something that's associated with Alana Morisette as basic, but there it is: this book is basic. If you are going to have the focus of the book be on this one party and the ensuing aftermath, give us more of the poor girl whose life has been turned upside down by it! I felt like I was reading two different books: the Jo and Frankie love story, and then the Bella story. And I wanted more of Bella's story; she was such a one note character. And the writing was pretty basic, too. Show, don't tell. You're not giving young adults enough credit here. They can make inferences.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Looking forward to reading this. Saw the Broadway play in October 2021. It is an AWESOME show! I saw the Broadway play before I read the book. While reading the book, I read sections where I knew what music/score was used in the play.

  22. 5 out of 5

    L.C. Laurent

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I was particularly excited about being able to read. To be honest, I didn't know there was a musical until I saw this book and that's probably for the best so that I can't have TOO much bias. Growing up in the 90s, listening to Alanis Morissette was like that era's soundtrack. The nods to lyrics and Easter eggs are nice little treasures for fans of her music. Best of all, they fit and don't feel shoehorne Thank you NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I was particularly excited about being able to read. To be honest, I didn't know there was a musical until I saw this book and that's probably for the best so that I can't have TOO much bias. Growing up in the 90s, listening to Alanis Morissette was like that era's soundtrack. The nods to lyrics and Easter eggs are nice little treasures for fans of her music. Best of all, they fit and don't feel shoehorned in as a gimmick. There were a few tropes I wasn't a fan of, primarily having our Black female protagonist be "the unfaithful bisexual" character to an assumed white partner. This is really two tropes in one, and both leave me feeling icky. Black characters have been painted as villains and inciting incident characters, or dangerous and preying on "the helpless white woman", for so long that I cringed when I saw where this story thread was going. Add to that, she’s bisexual and cheats on her female partner and best friend with a male character. This is such a tired trope that the bisexual community still deals with to this day, and in 2022 we should be able to do better. I'm not saying you can't have cheating bisexual characters or morally gray Black protagonists, but there needs to be more there than a caricature of both lived experiences. Parts of the pacing felt off, likely from it being adapted from a musical, though I'll say it made for a very quick read. There were some characters that never really got fleshed out or were rushed but again, this is adapted from a musical so I can give it a little grace. I do like that things didn't end in a wrapped up package. There is bad in peoples' lives, whether they're interconnected or not, and sometimes that pain lingers and there isn't a clean resolve. I was surprised in a good way. All that being said, I enjoyed reading it and never walked away hating a character (aside from the person who committed assault, obviously). The book did a good job at letting you see things from everyone's view point even if it was messed up, and trusted the reader to make their own opinion. I would have loved to see more time dedicated to certain plot threads, especially Jo's that felt like it was literally brushed aside (which actually is ironic considering the theme of her and Frankie's storyline). All in all I would recommend it, while taking care to prepare a reader for what's happening in the book (which was handled delicately and never felt exploitative). Nostalgia for Alanis Morissette's album has me wanting to give this a 5 star rating, but the tropes and odd pacing as well as strange focus choices drags it down to a 4.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I am stunned to realize that Alanis Morissette's groundbreaking album, Jagged Little Pill, is now 25 years old. It seems like only yesterday that my junior high students were wailing the lyrics through the hall and totally obsessed with the singer and her music. Attending her concert in New Orleans was surely a highlight of their lives for many of them while I looked on from the sidelines and tried to understand this cultural phenomenon. I guess I've been living under a rock since I had no idea I am stunned to realize that Alanis Morissette's groundbreaking album, Jagged Little Pill, is now 25 years old. It seems like only yesterday that my junior high students were wailing the lyrics through the hall and totally obsessed with the singer and her music. Attending her concert in New Orleans was surely a highlight of their lives for many of them while I looked on from the sidelines and tried to understand this cultural phenomenon. I guess I've been living under a rock since I had no idea that there was a musical based on Morissette's lyrics, and a book based on the musical. I've since remedied my ignorance and listened to the original Broadway cast singing, and been blown away. In this book, told from the point of view of five teens, each one of whom struggles with identity, being heard, seen, understood or accepted--ah, yes! a common wish for adolescents, many of whom are convinced that the adults in their lives couldn't possibly understand what they're going through--a sexual assault at a party has ripple effects among the community. Hearts are broken; some relationships are fractured while others are mended, and some individuals take action to right the wrongs they see in their world. There are secrets that come spilling out, betrayals, jealousy, and confusing family dynamics, all threaded through this book's pages. The author tells the story of life in Greenport, Connecticut, through the voices of Frankie, her brother Nick, Frankie's girlfriend Jo, transfer student Phoenix, and Bella, Nick's longtime crush, and the narrative relies on several text messages as well as traditional storytelling. In some respects, the story seems dated, and yet, in other respects, relevant because of its subject matter. Many teen readers will see themselves in its pages and perhaps find the courage to raise their voices, utter their own truths, and take a stand. They'll also realize that sharing one's pain rather than hiding it leads to healing. I just wish that the author had fleshed out the characters more so that I could feel that I know them well. I barely have an inkling about Bella and how she coped with the aftermath of what happened to her. Still, it's hard to have room to cover five characters plus some parents in a book this size. Now I need to go listen to some other music so that I can get "Ironic" and "You Oughta Know" out of my head.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Sullivan

    This is a fairly quick read as it is fast-paced and a lot happens in a short amount of time, which is not surprising since it is adapted from a musical. With an ensemble cast of characters, each dealing with their own issues, most teens will find something relatable in this book, as well as build empathy for others. The story focuses on five teens: Frankie, a Black child adopted into a white family who is also bisexual, though not out to her family and feels like prop to prove how "woke" her pare This is a fairly quick read as it is fast-paced and a lot happens in a short amount of time, which is not surprising since it is adapted from a musical. With an ensemble cast of characters, each dealing with their own issues, most teens will find something relatable in this book, as well as build empathy for others. The story focuses on five teens: Frankie, a Black child adopted into a white family who is also bisexual, though not out to her family and feels like prop to prove how "woke" her parents, desperate to feel seen and heard for who she is; Nick, Frankie's oh-so-perfect brother, her parents' biological child and mom's golden boy, who feels enormous pressure from everyone to be perfect to help hold his fragile family together and not let anyone down; Jo, Frankie's best friend and now girlfriend, who is out and proud despite her mother's refusal to accept that she is gay; Phoenix, the new kid in town looking for where he fits in and finding himself instantly attracted to Frankie, while also dealing with his sister's life-threatening illness; and Bella, Nick's love interest who likes him back, but they have yet to act on their feelings and become a couple. Five teens, and one party that will change all their lives forever. I found this book to be very engaging and I liked the fast pace. There is a lot going on in a short time, as each person has their own personal and family issues to deal with, though the story seems to focus more on Frankie and all her issues and her family's issues. She is not a completely sympathetic or flawless character; sometimes she can be incredibly selfish, needy, or insensitive, which makes her a little more real. This book does take on some serious issues, including sexual assault and addiction, but it is not overly heavy, dark, or depressing and has an ending that is empowering and hopeful. Highly recommended for all teens who like realistic fiction. [I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    Jagged Little Pill is told through 5 struggling teens perspectives: Frankie who is trying to be seen for who she is in her white adopted family, Nick, Frankie’s brother, who feels like he’s going to collapse from all the pressure his parents put on him, Jo, Frankie’s best friend, who’s mother is trying to force her to change who she is, Phoenix, the new kid in town, who’s sister is terminally ill, and Bella who’s life is completely changed after a drunken high school party. This novel is based o Jagged Little Pill is told through 5 struggling teens perspectives: Frankie who is trying to be seen for who she is in her white adopted family, Nick, Frankie’s brother, who feels like he’s going to collapse from all the pressure his parents put on him, Jo, Frankie’s best friend, who’s mother is trying to force her to change who she is, Phoenix, the new kid in town, who’s sister is terminally ill, and Bella who’s life is completely changed after a drunken high school party. This novel is based on the musical of the same title which is based off of Alanis Morissette’s music. I love the musical and Alanis’ music, but it definitely isn’t necessary to know either to enjoy this book. This story is so important for our world today. It sheds light on real struggles that teens (and adults frankly) are working through everyday: sexuality, rape, addiction, race, love, fitting in, taking responsibility for your actions, and finding who you are. Although a lot of the subject matter is very deep/dark the tone of the book is not that at all, which I definitely appreciated and I think it makes it much easier to read and absorb. These characters were very relatable and all had distinct voices. I could so easily picture each of them in my head and wanted to spend more time with them. The story is told in five different perspectives and although I understand why the author did it that way, I’m not sure if it was needed. A few of the character’s chapters only showed up a couple of times and I think the story could have been told just as well with fewer perspectives. Also, the rape feels like it should be the central plot point, and for a little while it is, but it almost felt like it got lost throughout the story and then showed up again at the end to tie it all back together. I enjoyed this book a lot and really got into the story, but was somewhat pulled out with the ending. Everything seemed to happen very abruptly and it was just tied into too neat a bow. It almost seemed forced. I’m giving this book 4 stars. I definitely would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA! I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and statements are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Thanks to ABRAMS kids/Amulet books for the review copy in exchange for my honest review. Based on the Broadway Musical of the same name which is based of Alanis Morissette's classic album, Jagged Little PIll: The Novel stands on its own in the YA space, telling an honest story of how we're all broken and trying to navigate the world the best we can. Central to the story is a family made up of a mom with a secret drug problem, an adopted daughter with identity issues, the "perfect" son holding ever Thanks to ABRAMS kids/Amulet books for the review copy in exchange for my honest review. Based on the Broadway Musical of the same name which is based of Alanis Morissette's classic album, Jagged Little PIll: The Novel stands on its own in the YA space, telling an honest story of how we're all broken and trying to navigate the world the best we can. Central to the story is a family made up of a mom with a secret drug problem, an adopted daughter with identity issues, the "perfect" son holding everyone together, and an absent father who's basically given up. The story revolves around one night where a particularly shocking and disturbing event takes place at a high school party which brings to light a number of issues the town and families who live in it must deal with head on. While this book is packed with issues ranging from sexual assault to drug abuse, cheating, identity, race, and illness, it handles them all carefully and the high school aged protagonists handle them with honesty, curiosity and grace. The writing is well done and will keep your attention, especially giving each chapter a perspective from one of the characters. However, there are often moments when it's very obvious that the adult authors are trying their best to write in teenage voices. The best YA authors know how to keep language and word choice authentic and Jagged Little Pill is a mixed bag in this area. I have not seen the stage version of Jagged Little Pill but am very familiar with Morissette's catalog, whose lyrics and themes are present here, sometimes more obviously than others. After reading this book I actually went to listen to numerous tracks of the cast recording and to Alanis' album, I just couldn't resist! Jagged Little Pill is a good book for an older teenager/young adult reader and I'd recommend Gen Z parents to buy them for their teenage kids to spread the Morissette love.

  27. 5 out of 5

    ErinTurnsPages

    Told from five different viewpoints, Jagged Little Pill follows the lives of Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella following an incident at a party that would change their lives forever. Frankie, who was adopted into the family, doesn't see the point of pretending life is perfect and would rather stand up for what is right, even if it's hard. Nick has always felt pressured to be perfect. Perfect at school, perfect at home, the responsible one who takes care of everyone else all the time. But whe Told from five different viewpoints, Jagged Little Pill follows the lives of Frankie, Jo, Nick, Phoenix, and Bella following an incident at a party that would change their lives forever. Frankie, who was adopted into the family, doesn't see the point of pretending life is perfect and would rather stand up for what is right, even if it's hard. Nick has always felt pressured to be perfect. Perfect at school, perfect at home, the responsible one who takes care of everyone else all the time. But when does he get to relax? Jo is best friend and kind of girlfriend? to Frankie. All she wants is for her Mom to accept her for who she is, not try and shy away from it. Bella is the friend and not-quite girlfriend of Nick, she just wants to enjoy the final months of highschool. And Phoenix is the new guy, with family problems of his own. When Bella is assaulted, the five are thrown together, and any secrets they or their families had are no longer safe. I wrote two other reviews while trying to find the words to describe this book. I absolutely devoured it. If I hadn't been working for two days, it would have been read in one day, two tops. I've been a big Alanis Morissette since I heard her for the first time, I can't even remember how old I was. How I missed a musical being developed based on her music is beyond me. (Maybe having two young kids had something to do with it?) So when Eric Smith shared that he was writing this novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. In fact, I remember the day I got approved for the ARC. I was sitting outside with some coworkers and literally freaked out and did a little dance, I was so excited. And the book did not disappoint. I love the character development, the imperfect families, but especially the camaraderie and support that was given to Bella after the party. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    It feels hard to really review this, since it's a novelisation of a musical, but without any of the musical numbers... I saw the musical, and I loved it. I loved it as an Alanis fan, and I loved it for the story that it was trying to tell, even if I thought it was somewhat hamfisted in some areas. And then this book.... taking away the musical numbers means taking away the Alanis connection for the most part, and also taking away the slight "disconnect from reality" that inherently comes when ever It feels hard to really review this, since it's a novelisation of a musical, but without any of the musical numbers... I saw the musical, and I loved it. I loved it as an Alanis fan, and I loved it for the story that it was trying to tell, even if I thought it was somewhat hamfisted in some areas. And then this book.... taking away the musical numbers means taking away the Alanis connection for the most part, and also taking away the slight "disconnect from reality" that inherently comes when everyone begins to sing. So what I found was that it really exacerbated the hamfistedness of the plot. It felt like a bit of a big tick list of hot social justice areas, when actually I think that maybe focusing on one or two would have done more justice to the issue. Certain parts got expanded, or allowed us a deeper glimpse into the characters, particularly Phoenix, and Jo... speaking of Jo, I actually found her feelings towards Kelsey made her seem a lot more unlikeable than in the show. Her harbouring feelings for someone else, then getting so angry at Frankie just felt a little... hypocritical. That also leads me onto my main gripe with the plot of the SHOW as a whole, which was that seeing a bisexual character, in a relationship with a gender-nonconforming-woman, cheat with a handsome man felt a bit... heteronormative? But maybe that's some bi-phobia on my part, so take or leave that comment. Finally, the book definitely rebranded the plot as a strictly YA plot. Where the show dealt with both generations of the family, and arguably MJ was the heart of the show, the book treats the parents as entirely peripheral. Despite MJ's assault and addiction storylines still being central to the plot, it was all told solely in relation to the kids, which meant it lost a certain element from the show for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Jagged Little Pill is the novelization of the Broadway musical of the same name. I've never seen it, but I'm a big Alanis fan, and so I really wanted to read this book. Frankie is an angsty teen with a bad adoptive mom, but her brother (her parents' birth child), Nick, can do no wrong, while Frankie feels like everything she does is wrong. Phoenix is new in town and his sister is in the hospital with a life-threatening illness, leaving him to step up. Bella just wants Nick, but he doesn't notice Jagged Little Pill is the novelization of the Broadway musical of the same name. I've never seen it, but I'm a big Alanis fan, and so I really wanted to read this book. Frankie is an angsty teen with a bad adoptive mom, but her brother (her parents' birth child), Nick, can do no wrong, while Frankie feels like everything she does is wrong. Phoenix is new in town and his sister is in the hospital with a life-threatening illness, leaving him to step up. Bella just wants Nick, but he doesn't notice her, and Jo doesn't feel like anyone sees her for who she truly is. This is a multi-POV novel, and all of the characters mentioned have POV chapters. The story here is captivating. The lives of these teens change when Bella is raped at a party. At first, I was really invested in these characters, but the story goes a little nutty at the end, cramming so much into the last third of the book, I felt like my head was spinning, and the characters just lost all depth. What's worse is that often times these characters are indistinguishable from one another. Phoenix, Jo, and Frankie all sound the same, and Bella has very little personality at all. I liked the story a lot (the only reason I kept reading), and I'd love to see the musical to see how the actors breathe life into these characters, but the novel had them feeling very flat to me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marina Marcello

    I have been a huge fan of Alanis Morissette since I was young, as well as a follower of Diablo Cody’s films, so even though I haven’t been able to catch the Jagged Little Pill musical, I couldn’t wait to read this book & I am so appreciative that ABRAMS Kids approved my NetGalley request. Starting off, I did feel like it was the first YA novel I’ve read in a while in which the characters did feel juvenile to me at 31, but, despite that, there are characters & events with which I did relate. Namel I have been a huge fan of Alanis Morissette since I was young, as well as a follower of Diablo Cody’s films, so even though I haven’t been able to catch the Jagged Little Pill musical, I couldn’t wait to read this book & I am so appreciative that ABRAMS Kids approved my NetGalley request. Starting off, I did feel like it was the first YA novel I’ve read in a while in which the characters did feel juvenile to me at 31, but, despite that, there are characters & events with which I did relate. Namely, Phoenix’s character was the most like myself. He is responsible beyond his age & wiser than his years. He takes care of his mother & sister in a way that I once had to at a young age. Nick & Bella are also two of the more mature (& older) characters to whose experiences I can relate. Nick is the most complex of the MCs, his internal & external conflicts & his responsibilities, both put on him & voluntary, make me sympathize with the complexities of being a teenager about to head to college & figuring out a moral compass of one's own. Frankie’s relationship with her own morality is gray at a time when young people are still developing their ideals of right & wrong. Personally, that was one of the most poignant aspects of this book; I wouldn’t want to relive those decisions! I hadn’t previously had the privilege to read an Eric Smith novel, but in Jagged Little Pill, he, Morissette, Cody, & Ballard put themselves in the shoes of teenagers very well, both male & female, straight, gay, & bi, white, latinx, & black. I think the ability to show these representations, motivations, & struggles indicates an insight into the modern life of a young adult beyond the average author. Despite having gone through much of the same strife at the ages of these characters, I was still deeply moved, especially when these characters take more action than I was used to seeing during my time growing up, & it made me proud of fictional characters in a way I don’t remember having felt before. Jagged Little Pill was definitely a 5 star read for me. TW: underage drinking, off-page underage sex, off-page date rape, pediatric chronic illness, drug overdose, drug addiction.

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