In 1980 NYC, eighteen-year-old J.J. Buckingham is an uptight trendoid. Working as a mannequin painter and a counter girl, she moonlights as a creature of the nightclubs. J.J. falls for aloof, crazy-talented artist and bicycle messenger X-It. In order to win his love, she succumbs to the dark machinations of drug dealer Marko Voodoo. X-It will love her if she’s the queen of underground Manhattan, right? Her plan backfires with horrendous consequences. J.J. must scrap her way out of a maze of drugs, clubs, and danger before she realizes she’s worthy of a better life. And true love might just come in the form of a clean-cut geek in Buddy Holly glasses.
Loved this book. It felt like a punk rock rollercoaster ride. J.J. was a character I loved and hated. I loved that she was an artist and so insecure about herself that she didn’t realize what a gem she could be. This was a great story about heartache, finding yourself and your true worth, but with not much of the niceties. As the book summary suggested, this story took place in 80’s punk New York, so drugs, punk music, and even sex were involved. I couldn’t relate to all that, but I’ve read and heard enough true stories to know that such Lifetime-movie-worthy ways of life were (and still are) real. The author was able to capture this perfectly and it wasn’t hard not to be swept away in the chaotic J.J. express train. I loved that the two main characters, J.J. and X-It, were artists. Usually when I think about punk club scenes, I picture a groupie in love with a broody and moody musician married to his les paul guitar. In this case, it was an artist painfully in love with a fellow artist, who happened to be her supposed bestfriend and the kind of talent she wished she could be. I loved reading about J.J.’s style and how her innate artistic spirit comes out through her thoughts and choices.
Aside from the gut and heart wrenching (but hopeful!) story, I really loved the writing style. It fit perfectly with the whole artsy thing in the book. It was visual and emotional poetry. The author had that clever way with words that I always strive to do in my own writing attempts. I read this in Kindle but I could just imagine holding a paperback in my hands and feeling the pages. I think this is that kind of book, better read as a paperback than an e-book, so you can roll around in the words. Er, that’s just me.
If you like a little punk pizzazz with your coming-of-age story, you might enjoy this one.
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The reviews are in!
“This book completely captivated me from start to finish. In fact, the first night I read about a quarter of it before bedtime. Then I tossed and turned for an hour thinking about the book, until finally I turned the lights back on, and read until a few hours before I needed to wake up.” ~ William Hertling
“X-It is a coming-of-age novel that is easily identifiable with for anyone who ever felt less-than-cool enough, or alone, or as though they weren’t living up to personal expectations, which, I believe, encompasses most of us. Reminiscent of Maggie Estep’s “Diary of an Emotional Idiot,” X-It contains some perfect moments of quiet truth.” ~ Wendy Whiplash
“From the very first pages I was drawn to J.J. – From her dripping purple hair dye through her slow, dark, and painful decent into the 80’s punk/club scene. Jane George truly created a dynamic character with incredible depth. To me this book read like a memoir, making it even more powerful and at times bittersweet.” ~ Karen Toz
About Jane George
A dedicated writer for over a decade, she produces and publishes her YA fantasy and literary titles under her personal imprint, Paper Grove Publishing. Find out more at: www.Jane-George.com
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from the author. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”