REVIEW: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore
The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh – Jess Moore
Jeremy Warsh has been in off-mode ever since his grandpa’s death a couple years ago. He set aside their shared passion, comic art, and hasn’t looked back. As an introvert from the other side of town, he fully expects to spend his boring life bagging groceries until, maybe one day, he’s promoted to store manager.
Yet, his two best friends, Kasey and Stuart, are different. They’re not afraid to demand more out of everyone. When Kasey comes out, Jeremy’s inspired. He picks up his colored pencils and starts drawing comics again, creating a no-nonsense, truth-talking character named Penny Kind. Who speaks to him. Literally.
The friend group set in motion Stuart’s plans for a huge Homecoming prank, and if they can get Penny’s comic trending, they might be able to pull it off. Could this be a stepping-stone to a future Jeremy’s only dreamed of? And after he kisses a boy at a college party, will Jeremy finally face what he’s been hiding from?
The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh is a coming of age story set in the late 90s. The book covered Jeremy’s senior year, a time for big changes and major decisions. It is presented in a slice of life style which I liked along with its conscious effort to avoid Hollywood teen movie cliches. However, as one GR reviewer pointed out, situations were presented, problems arose but there seems to be no real consequences. This I completely agree with. I didn’t feel Jeremy and his friends were in any serious trouble. Once a scenario was presented, I could safely assume things would work out for them. In this aspect, the book was predictable.
In this kind of setting and being a YA book, it is very tempting to go heavy on the pop culture references just to get the retro vibe going so I commend the author Jess Moore for not going that route. A little goes a long away and the backdrop effectively provided context on some situations and reactions. But given that the 90s is making a comeback (and that I felt like it never left) , this book could be set this year and I wouldn’t be able to tell much difference, apart from the technology.
It was fun to witness Jeremy’s journey. There were many people who were with him for better or for worse.His friendship with Kasey and Stuart are goals but my favorite was his time with Ms. V, his elderly neighbor and aerobics partner. I also loved his mom, Connie Warsh, who was the best mom anybody could ever hope for. He had his very own Daredevil, Matt, and early on, you could already tell they were good for each other. Their chemistry was great! Even the bully, Russ Landy, gave Jeremy a push on his evolution.
There is romance in the book but it wasn’t the focus. Sexuality was also tackled but it was just something Jeremy and his friends experienced as part of growing up. That these were not the climax but merely part of the journey is a big plus as far too many books tend to dwell too much these two aspects thus minimizing other important milestones in a person’s life. Also, there was, quite refreshingly, no major angst involved in the coming out part. At least for Jeremy, who thinks labels are not important as long as you are OK with yourself . Yes! Kasey’s parents were not so open-minded which is tough but I loved how Kasey is comfortable in her own skin.
Drawing is Jeremy’s emotional outlet and his comic book character, Penny Kind, acted both as his avatar and inner voice that made him look deep within himself. However, as a whole, I felt that Jeremy sort of just let things happened. This kind of semi-passivity gave the book a meh aura so even though I liked TEOJW, it didn’t really blow me away.
A Penny Kind comics please!
I received a copy of The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh from NineStar Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it
Soundtrack: Oh, Me
Artist: Nirvana (originally by Meat Puppets)
Album: Unplugged in New York