Book Review: "The Big Picture" by Jenny B Jones

Katie Parker is having a bad day. First she's dumped by her boyfriend, Charlie! And then her former convict, current addict mother reappears and wants to take Katie away from her foster family, friends, and church. How will Katie's life change as she struggles to understand what home and family really mean?

The third book in the Katie Parker Production series brings us back to the small, quaint town of In Between. It would also be a quiet town if not for the adventures that Katie brings to it. From trying to save the local drive-in to dealing with the ex-girlfriend who seems to be trying to win back the guy Katie currently likes to finishing up her junior year, Katie's seems to be all ready for another summer in In Between. Unfortunately, her mother comes to take her away from her foster parents and the life she's grown to love. However instead of giving Katie the life she needs, her mother returns to a life of drug addiction and neglect. I was appalled and disgusted with Katie's mother. I do not understand why she wanted Katie back in her life and then treated her the way she did. I can only guess that it's a sense of controlling and in want of a possession. I felt so sorry for the way Katie had to live those few months. I literally was getting so angry at her mother that I wanted to scream at the book. Katie handled these situations WAY better than I would have. It's incredibly sad when a 16 year old has to become the adult in the parent/child relationship.

It's really funny how time changes the way you perceive people. In the first book, I really disliked Maxine. This probably also had to do with the fact that Katie disliked her as well. Then she started to grow on me to the point, in this book, that I looked forward to seeing her pop up with whatever crazy scheme she had concocted. I think it's great that even grandmothers enjoy excitement and not letting their age get the better of them. It's also really funny seeing her next to her straight laced daughter. I was glad to see all of Katie's old friends from In Between as well as the new ones she met when staying with her mother. The ending was rather a surprise but I enjoyed it.

I'm incredibly sad this series is older as I enjoyed Katie's adventures (as well as Maxine's zany antics). This is a really good series for teen girls and it's great for combining serious subject matter with a funny twist. It's one of the most realistic and fun YA books that's out there. The book is rather long at 375 pages, but it reads really fast because you can't put it down. Jenny B. Jones is one of my favorite YA writers and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of her books! HIGHLY recommended.

The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones is published by NavPress (2008)


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