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Jessica Z. Paperback – June 24, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
In Jessica Z, Klomparens creates not a portrait of a woman, but a woman - fleshy and real. Through smart dialogue and beautifully rendered insecurities, we come to know Jessica intimately, and we see shades of ourselves reflected in her. Her story is well written and easily told.
The narrative is taut with the heightened anxiety of terrorist threats, as well as the mystery and danger of Jessica's new relationship. Yet it skillfully layers this raw emotion with a counterpoint of clarity and tenderness. Jessica's moments of real insight, when they come, are arresting in their stillness and simplicity, and they stand in stark contrast to the overall tone of the book. And just like in real life, they are fleeting.
Klomparens gives us a tightly-constructed plot full of great dialogue and incisive wit. It's smart, funny, and impossible to put down. Bravo!
I'm certain I'm not the first to say Shawn's work doesn't feel written, it feels told. Lived.
JESSICA Z. is a departure from the young-adult reading and research I normally do. Where YA characters may obsess over just what sex is or could be, Shawn's characters are having it (gasp!). Beyond that, good lit is universal. Shawn's unique perspective closely revolves around my favorite part of any story: characters. Relationships. I'd describe Jessica as coming-of-age, honestly, something that can totally happen when you're a 28-year-old, city-dwelling, redheaded Copywriter... qualities I share, plus a few years. Ahem. :)
As for Shawn's world-building in JESSICA Z., I am a fan. Details, subtle and not-so-subtle, weave into the plot as they would from any well-constructed contemporary setting. This one just happens to include near-daily terror threats. "Seamless" may be an unfortunate descriptor, but the environment makes sense. It underlines and gives dimension to the characters and story; it doesn't overpower.
Aside from all this, I almost can't believe that JESSICA Z., this strong, first-person present voice - a woman's voice - comes from a dude who lives in the mountains. What? Okay, sure, let's give him that. He does it. But he does it well. A unique sort of tension arises from his gift with dialogue, a real-time quality you don't notice until you're reading and reading and almost miss an appointment or a train. His paragraph breaks can speak volumes. Page 244 brought tears to my eyes on a landing airplane. I will never look at sand the same way again, or maps. And I did a happy dance this morning about moving on to his second book, Two Years, No Rain.
This book is certainly worth a read.
Of course, life goes on even under conditions much worse than those depicted (without undue gore, thankfully) in this novel. I thought the author did a marvelous job of capturing the yin and yang of life...obviously all the characters are experiencing angst and stress but the novel does not dwell there, it is a backdrop against the rest of life that Jessica and Patrick are experiencing, from the simple pleasures like coffee in the morning to the joy of meeting a new friend.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From the start, I was sucked into Jess's world. The writing was tight, fresh, quick paced, laced with humor throughout. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by Shamy
I really wanted to like Jessica Z. But... I find it very muddled with which category to put it in. It's not chick lit because even though it's written from the perspective of... Read morePublished on January 13, 2011 by jlkelly
Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens will be a good read for those who like chick lit with a bit of edge to the story. Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by Samantha J
Shawn Klomparens' debut novel Jessica Z strikes a perfect balance, shifting flawlessly between major plot developments and the cinematic quiet moments that fill the spaces in... Read morePublished on July 13, 2010 by Megan M
Jessica Z. is set in an alternative, post-9/11 future (a flash-sideways for all you Lost fans out there) where our security concerns are more than justified. Read morePublished on February 20, 2010 by Catherine McKenzie
Being a Jessica Z. myself, I felt genuinely intertwined with the main character of this book. I absolutely loved it - couldn't put it down - and would most definitely recommend... Read morePublished on May 13, 2009 by Jessica Zabala
Hmmm...well...this book was different. I was very impressed with the male author who is very intune with his feminine side. Read morePublished on March 4, 2009 by R. Massengale