Jesobel Jones can bake. In a truly triumphant, appearing-on-TV kind of way. But this means nothing to the rest of the world, because apparently all that cake mix is starting to show – in all the wrong places. So when she lands an invite to the Party of Year by the Boy of Her Dreams, she wonders whether it’s time for a new, improved Jess. But will life still taste as good?
Anna Mainwaring’s debut is a light-hearted and sometimes poignant take on the pressures that face teenage girls. It’s hard to smile in all those selfies when you don’t like the girl who looks back at you. But which is more important – looking perfect or being happy?
Information about the book:
Title: The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones
Author: Anna Mainwaring
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Portal Press
Format: Paperback and E-Book
Published: 25th March 2015
10 Random things about “The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones”
1. Initially Jesobel was called Alyssa, Ali for short. I was teaching Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath” and so I stole the name from the main character, Alison.
2. However, my agent and I decided that the main character should have a more distinctive name. There used to be a boutique near me called ‘Jessobel’s’ and it got me thinking about names that previous generations didn’t like but have come back into fashion. My mother would never have dreamed of calling my sister or I ‘Lola’ but now that’s a very common name. I believe a few ‘Delilah’s are now playing in school playground. I decided to use a softer spelling of ‘Jezebel’ so it sounded more like ‘Isobel’. As far as I know there aren’t many/any baby Jesobel/Jezebels out there but maybe it’s time for a revival!
3. The romantic interest of Matt is named after the first boy I had a massive crush on when I was in Year 9. It didn’t go well. I also have a rather keen interest in Matt Damon so it just was meant to be!
4. Alyssa/Jess first came to being during a writing exercise set during my Creative Writing MA. Once I’d started writing in her voice, I just couldn’t get her to stop…
5. So I wrote a Nanowrimo novel from her point of view which, after many revisions and redrafts, become “The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones.”
6. The character of Lauren, Jess’s little sister is an amalgamation of a number of children. I took the idea of having an imaginary friend who bullied you from one of my children’s friends. Lauren’s distress about the end of ‘The Little Mermaid’ is pretty much word for word what one of my children said when she was three. My year 7s know this story as I once included it in an assembly I gave.
7. Jess’s gran gives her a special glass to drink out of which has markers to how how much Ladies should drink, then Gentlemen, then Little Pigs and finally Big Pigs. My
great-grandfather used this and I was allowed to drink out of it on special occasions when I was little. My mother still has the glass and we think it’s over a hundred years old.
8. I took the idea of making a gingerbread version of the school from ‘The Great British Bake Off’ of course. I remember one week where someone made the coliseum from ginger bread…
9. At the school where I teach, non-uniform days are often traumatic. On a number of occasions, I’ve seen girls arrive at school, take one look at everyone else and then burst into tears. That’s why the novel begins with the trauma of wearing your own clothes to school…
10. I was asked if Jess was based on me as a teenager. No. I wish. I was the quiet, bookish girl in the corner. I think I’d have been friends with her. I hope she’d have liked me!
About the Author
Her debut novel, “The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones”, follows Jess through the joy and pain of being a teenager in the modern world; first love, friendship, embarrassing families, and asks the big questions in life: how much cake is it really acceptable to eat?
After studying English at university, Anna made the foolish decision to work in corporate finance, not the best career choice for someone who a) is number dyslexic b) hates anything corporate. After travelling, Anna re-trained as an English teacher and works in a girls’ school in Cheshire. When not writing, teaching, or looking after her children, Anna can generally be found walking up a big hill, looking for inspiration.
You can find out more about Anna on her website, www.annamainwaring.com, or by following her on twitter at www.twitter.com/annamainwaring1