June 26, 2013

Review: The Jelly Bean Crisis

The Jelly Bean Crisis

A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.

When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.

Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.

Paperback, 308 pages

Published August 1st 2012 by CreateSpace

A Long Story Short:

Although many people liked The Jelly Bean Crisis, the book didn't cut it for me. Stereotypical, flat side characters assisted the main character, Poppy, as she went on a personal discovery journey that lead into the middle of nowhere - and me into a web of frustration. The conflicts she faced didn't seem real to me, the love interest was annoying and in the end, I felt like I had read a self-help book with a story thrown in. 

Review for You:

Did you know that Jolene Stockman, who wrote The Jelly Bean Crisis, wrote a self-help guide for teens, too? Basically, it's supposed to help highschool students decide what to with their future.
Basically, I imagine it to be the better version of The Jelly Bean Crisis.
Because there's one thing Stockman managed to do really well with her novel - and that was giving advice. And introducing different kinds of jobs. And promoting gap months or years.
We don't have counselers in Germany, but with The Jelly Bean Crisis, I didn't think I'd need one, either which was quite annoying.
As I said, the general message, about doing what you feel like, about making educated decisions and to not let anyone tell you what your future is going to be was really good and well presented.
However, the execution of the story idea, the character development, the dialogues, the writing, the ending - really didn't do it for me. At all.
Let's start with Poppy, our main character. At the beginning of the book she finds herself at a point where - just as her dream, everything she worked for - is about to come true. And then she realizes that this might not, after all, be what she wants.
The whole situation, I could identify with.
I know exactly how it feels like to think you've given up so much and worked so hard and now that it's finally paying off you have to get the very, very best out of it.
That situation in the beginning, Stockman explained and described really well. But it went downghill from there.
Not only that I found the gap month idea pretty unrealistic. My teachers certainly wouldn't let me miss four weeks of school - at least not, if everyone else still has to go.
Something else that totally bothered me was that Stockman created conflicts where there weren't any. It started with Poppy's best friends who seeemed to totally disapprove of her idea. They felt like she was abandoning them - which clearly wasn't the case!
Also, while I do understand that her parents weren't too happy about the gap month, I did not understand their hysterical reactions to it.
And all the family drama that Stockman threw in? It should either had been a big part of the novel or not be in it at all. But mentioning old granddad-dad conflicts every twenty pages or so did not help giving more depth to Poppy's father's character.
The side characters were pretty flat in general. That alone wouldn't have bothered me, but they were complete stereotypes, too, and that got on my nerves a LOT.
You know, the understanding, but quiet mom, the somewhat-hippie grandmother, the strict and overachieving dad, the ambitous best friends...ugh. Too much clichés for me.

Overall, I cannot really recommend this book. To younger teens, maybe. Or for not-so-avid readers. Or for people who have trouble finding what they want. The Jelly Bean Crisis is full of good advice, but in general, this book was just not entertaining enough for me.


  1. Sorry this book didn't cut it for you. This is my first time actually seeing this book and I haven't heard anything about it. But, thanks for the honest opinion :) Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  2. Hmm a 'gap month' is certainly a novel idea!


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