October 9, 2015

This Ordinary Life Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for This Ordinary Life! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book with you - and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above!

This Ordinary Life
Author: Jennifer Walkup
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Luminis Books


Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

This Ordinary Life is a young adult contemporary novel that discusses some really hard topics in life but also gives a message of hope. The book follows our main character - Jasmine Torres - who is trying to manage being a normal high school student and the main caregiver for her younger brother Danny, who has severe epilepsy - all while attempting to grab the internship that could change her life. Jasmine is a great female lead for the novel - she's smart, hard working, loving, devoted, determined, and down to earth (among many other great qualities). She has a majorly dysfunctional family, with her mom being an alcoholic who is always either passed out or drunk; and her younger brother Danny, who has a severe case of epilepsy. With her mother unable to take care of Danny's medical needs, Jasmine has to take on the role of his caregiver - making sure he gets to his doctor visits and worrying about him in general. Looming over everything is an internship at a radio station in New York City - Jasmine's ultimate dream and what she believes could be the big turning point in her life. Jasmine has a lot riding on her shoulders throughout the novel, and even though it seems like it's going to break her at times - she's actually stronger than she knows. She dreams of nothing but a normal life - but her life is already extraordinary whether she wants it to be or not - and she has to learn to see hope wherever you can and love where you least expected it.

Although the plot of the story isn't wholly original and is pretty predictable overall, it was still a good read. I'm not a huge fan of YA contemporary to begin with, so fans of the genre will probably adore this book. I enjoyed the unique details the author puts into the story - like Jasmine's dream internship at a radio station in NYC. There's a lot about her love of music and radio broadcasting throughout the book, which gave the novel a new level of interesting facts and allows the reader to enter a world most would never know in their own lives. Danny's medical problems along with Jasmine's complete devotion to him makes the story pull at your heartstrings. It's sad, full of love, and deeply realistic. This aspect of the story makes Jasmine's character all the more likeable and easy to identify with - I was able to connect with her very early on in the book. 

Another aspect of the novel that made a big difference to me was the author's writing style. I know I sound like a broken record about this - but, in my opinion, point of view makes a huge impact on my experience with the book. First person is almost always the best course (again, my opinion) because the reader gets to see everything that happens throughout the story through the eyes of the narrator. We're also privy to information about the character that we wouldn't have otherwise - we get to know their private thoughts, emotions, fears, hopes, dreams, memories, and so much more. Getting to know a character on such a personal level gives the reader a deeper connection to them, which only enhances the story and the reader's experience with it. This book is told from Jasmine's point of view, which I think is a great choice. She's a complex main character - so getting to see the book play out from her perspective was a true journey. We're able to watch Jasmine grow as a person - she really matures and changes during the story - and having front row seats to this process was the perfect choice, in my opinion, since the we get to see and feel it all just as much as she does.

I'm not going to really comment much on the plot. Like I mentioned earlier, it's not very original and is pretty predictable. I basically knew what was going to happen before I even started reading, so the overall story line wasn't a big influence on me. It's what the author does with her version of this template that makes the difference - especially when it comes to the characters and the various changes in Jasmine's life - physically, emotionally, mentally - that really made an impact. I enjoyed the book because of these life lessons that Jasmine learns - they're universal and we all have to face them at some point in our lives. I also loved the wide range of emotions throughout the story - from frustration and anger, to worry and fear, and then hope, love, and understanding. I definitely recommend this book to fans of YA contemporary fiction - if you enjoy this genre, then you'll love this book. 

Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel. 

To hear about Jennifer's upcoming books, sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/belmjH

 Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble 
(1) Winner will get a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
(1) Winner will get a surprise YA book pack from Jennifer Walkup
(1) Winner will get a swag pack

Open to US only | Must be 13+ to enter 



  1. I'm grateful for my family everyday and I'm grateful for my health.

  2. I think we all go through things in our life and it is usually for a reason.