Author: Jenny B. Jones
Published by: Thomas Nelson Publishing (2010)
My Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭
This book was SO good! It was full of amazing characters, laugh-out-loud moments, a good Christian theme, and to top it off, crazy adventures involving solving a murder mystery (all while staying appropriate)! I’d highly, highly recommend it; one of the best books I’ve read this year and another great gem from Jenny B. Jones! ***SPOILERS***
Notes: I didn’t notice it when I first started A Charmed Life, but now, finishing the 3rd, I can definitely say that there are many obvious similarities between the characters in A Katie Parker Production and a Charmed Life. First of all, and I haven’t finished Katie Parker yet so I can’t say this for certain, but Luke was a total Charlie Benson character. The way the romance interacted was a lot of the same, too. Of course Luke wasn’t totally the same person; he did have his own character and personality, but there was a lot that reminded me of Charlie.
Second of all, and on the same note: this took me a while to notice, but Ruthie was a teenage version of Maxine. I mean, if Jenny B. Jones writes another book that is a combined series and it reveals Ruthie actually is Maxine as a child, I would not be surprised in the least. Sure, Ruthie’s actions are more teenage-ish, and she’s a whole lot more likeable than Maxine. But as a whole, she is a mini Maxine, in my opinion anyways. Not that this is wrong—I loved Ruthie! It’s just something funny to note.
Plot: This series began more mellow, with less mystery going on and more just character building, but now here at the 3rd book it’s gone crazy. Upon the arrival of a carnival and the murder of one of the members, Bella sets out to solve the mystery of who is the real murder. Then there are threats on Bella’s life. There are more near-death experiences; for Bella, they just don’t cease to come. And Luke rescues her, too. I don’t know how he always is there right at the right time, but honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me. He showed up, he rescued her, I’m breathing again because the main character isn’t going to die. (I mean, it’s written from first person, but with Bella, you never really know…) With a story like this and amazing characters like Bella, you don’t really notice or care about any little details.
Writing: Like all of Jenny B. Jones’ other books, this book was written so realistically that it felt that Bella was a real person. She is that well written—and I even hesitate to say written; I think of her as a person, not a fictional character. Her and Katie Parker—they could come to life. In fact, I’m seriously doubting the fact they’re only fictional. People this developed can’t only live on a page!
Characters: Bella reminds me a lot of Katie Parker, but not too much, only to an extent. I really liked Bella’s interaction with her dad; it was done very realistically. Everything you want her to do, she does; she’s not one of those characters that you have to yell at because she’s being super dumb. No, Bella is smart and relatable, not to mention easy to love. In the first book, I didn’t like the one-dimensionalness of her father, but it didn’t really matter in the longrun, because her father turned out to be a really well done character.
Overall, incredible, incredible book. You will not waste your time reading this amazing series by Jenny B. Jones. My only regret is not reading it slower…I want to go back and read it again for the first time, to meet Bella again. I need more books on Bella, Jenny B. Jones!!!! Amazing read and I’d recommend this for all teenagers 13 and older!!! *
*I started my first Jenny B Jones book (In Between) when I was 12, and even though I loved it and understood it, I love her books a TON more now being older; I can appreciate her themes and plotlines a lot more.