Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series is one of my favorites. It’s full of strong, intelligent, admirable female protagonists and exciting, rewarding, and well-paced plots. There’s not a single one that I haven’t liked. I love that all of the stories are set in the same town, too, so that we see some of the characters from previous books, allowing us to check in on old friends. There are currently six published, with the 7th coming out this summer (side note: while I think it would work best if read in order, each book is its own stand alone story, so you can read them out of order).
While I have liked them all, I can say that Jesse’s Girl, the 6th book in the series, is my absolute favorite of them all (probably because my love of stories involving normal people/famous people romance is real). It’s a slight departure in that the main character isn’t sporty, but it’s classic Hundred Oaks in every other way. In Jesse’s Girl, we get the story of Maya and Jesse. Maya’s a 17 year-old in high school, and when she says she wants to be a rock star when she grows up she’s assigned to Jesse, Nashville’s current teen music heartthrob, for a career shadow day.
Maya and Jesse both agree to this shadow day, but neither one of them are real excited about it. As they spend time together, though, they see the potential for a friendship and more. Jesse helps Maya step out of a bad music situation she’s been in and embrace a more positive future in music, and she soars. This is a surprisingly realistic and very well written story despite the improbability of this situation actually happening.
Because of some content, I’d recommend Jesse’s Girl (and the rest of the Hundred Oaks books) for 9th grade and up. Click here to find it on Amazon, or look or it at your favorite bookseller!