Jayne Doe by Jamie Brook Thompson is a story told from the point of view of Jill who is a 13 year old girl and, for the lack of better word, a ghost. After her death her spirit hangs back for the sole reason of protecting Jayne from her boyfriend, Johnny, the murderer of Jill.
I hadn’t heard of this book or author before and it’s maybe out of my usual reading scope, but I liked the story premise. Despite it’s obvious supernatural nature (the narrator being dead and all), the story is very down to earth. Jill’s family is poor and lives in a trailer park where things aren’t made any easier by their mother’s alcoholism.
Jayne is the best kid, helping mother and playing with Jill, while their brother Billy and sister Martha care more about themselves than anything. The center of the story is Jill’s attempts to keep Jayne safe and make her see what her boyfriend really is. Not an easy task when Jayne isn’t put off even by his violent behavior.
The main plot was clear and held up through the story but there were also subplots and mysteries that Jill had to follow. The story also hopped around quite a bit and varied between first person and omniscient narrator. The book was an okay read despite the unpleasant themes, but most characters were very one dimensional, bordering cliches, especially the family. Their reactions to a lot of things (including the murder of Jill) were odd and felt unnatural. Jayne felt more real, although that just made it sadder.
The amount of unpleasant things in the book was a bit overflowing. They lost their effect when bad things followed another set of bad things without the story really stopping to consider their effects. Also while I liked Jill most of the time, her ghostly skills seemed to come and go too randomly. Despite the flaws I mentioned, I still liked reading this book and I had no trouble finishing it.