10/18/2013

Book Review: Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #1)
by Kelly Oram
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Published: June 14th 2010 by Bluefields
Format Acquired: ebook (thanks, Kelly!)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special. Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?

I originally wanted to rate this 3 stars but after much thought, I figured 4 stars would be more appropriate considering how much fun I had reading this. I had some issues with the book but overall it's a good book.

Let me start by saying how awesome I think Jamie Baker is. I like the way she thought and spoke. She has so much spunk on her own that her superpowers made her twice as awesome. At first Jamie's all mopey and and grumpy - it got annoying at some point - but it was understandable. Her boyfriend died because of her, everyone in her hometown hated her for it and to top it all off she can't control her powers so she has to stay away from people... how can she possibly not be grouchy? She was such an introvert that her parents' idea of punishment was taking away her books and forcing her to find a job. It's not that they think reading is bad but her books definitely gave her reason to stay indoors and that lessened her chances of making friends. All they wanted was for her to live a normal life despite the inconveniences her superpowers brought. They even welcomed Ryan with open arms because that's how friendless Jamie was. Naturally, all the attempts at making Jamie live normally would only tick her off more but soon enough things changed - all because of Ryan.

All it took was one superkiss for Ryan to go after her. Ryan was so adorable and positive the whole time that he balanced out Jamie's attitude. He's the right balance of cocky and sweet. It was refreshing to see a popular jock that felt human. He knew girls liked him, he knew he's so darn irresistible but he wasn't a jerk about it. He's a totally believable character. Through time and a lot of persistence, Ryan rubbed off on Jamie - she allowed herself to let go of her past and work on creating a better future.

A lot of the scenes that showed just what Jamie can do involved Ryan. I wouldn't really call Jamie a superhero because she didn't exactly use her powers to help a greater number of people but she used them alright. She mostly used her powers when she practiced control over them. I loved Oram's vivid description of what goes on in Jamie's body when she uses her powers. It was so fun reading all of Jamie's practice scenes and all the normal things she did using her powers - super cool! The one time she did use her powers to help someone, it triggered something that she was looking to avoid for as long as she could.

Now this is the part I wasn't so hot about. For half of the book I couldn't really tell what the conflict is or how severe it would be. Paranormal stories are usually intense so I was expecting some intensity in this one. Unfortunately, the climax of the story was a little... soft. While it was well described and highly entertaining, I feel like the build up before it wasn't as exciting as it could've been. My general expectations of a young adult paranormal story might be too high however I think there could've been a better balance between the romance and the paranormal aspects of the plot.

Having said that I think Being Jamie Baker still makes an entertaining read. I wasn't quite sold on the conflict and the general direction of the plot but the believable characters, cutesy romance and Jamie's superawesomeness definitely made up for all of it - and that's enough reason for me to give this 4 stars.