Rebel with a Cupcake


Jesobel Jones loves hanging out with her friends, Hannah and Izzie. On Own Clothes Day, they spend ages preparing, although Jess is quick to choose her clothes, of which the others disapprove. Freshly changed at their direction, Jess turns her mind to her hunger, and thereafter school and the pitfalls that lie ahead. However, nothing can prepare Jess for the major incident after which everything changes.

Food is Jess’s comfort, ‘something that never lets her down.’ While her younger sister struggles with a bullying imaginary friend, and Granny is confined to her attic room, Jess’s mother and older sister are indoctrinated by a need to deny themselves food. Jess is determined to be different until the incident exposes her in the worst way possible. What’s more there’s film footage that ignites a raft of comments. Jess becomes desperate for affirmation but food is suddenly not the place to turn. Could she need Matt, the boy who smiled at her, with whom she’s become obsessed? What will her change of attitude and heart mean for her friends and family? What is Jess losing and gaining in her new mindset?

Rebel with a Cupcake is a really engaging title for teenage and older readers. Jess’s friendships are healthy and vital, while she is an aware and approachable character. What will she resolve? Will Jess answer the call of hunger, image, expectation, or her own instincts?


Rebel with a Cupcake

Anna Mainwaring

(Firefly Press)

Jesobel Jones is the Rebel with a Cupcake. She’s the teen who feeds her family despite her model mother’s and older sister’s horror, and maintains a positive body attitude. Then comes the incident, when a fall leaves her leg exposed as her leggings tear. As it’s Own Clothes’ Day and there’s little hope of changing, Jess is forced to stay in school.  The barbs are out, not least from Zara Lovechild. Suddenly something changes in Jess. She dares to defy the name callers and baiters and conformity at school. However, in doing so, something proud in Jess snaps. Suddenly she’s worried about her image and how people see her.
Although there’s admiration for her stance according to YouTube evidence of ‘the incident’, Jess is more concerned as to how she appears, especially to Matt. He’s smiled at her, is amused by her jokes, and impressed that she’s the daughter of a 90’s rock band guitarist. Are Jess’s mother and sister right? Do boys prefer thin girls? Certainly by the amount of attention that Cat receives from boys it seems that’s true. So what is Jess to do? Furthermore, will a change in attitude and habit mean other changes for Jess?
Anna Mainwaring writes deftly. We are quick to like Jess’s common sense, indefatigability and loyalty to her friends. Thereafter, we’re concerned as her confidence sinks and instincts shift. Will Jess be able to realise that what she has right in front of her is what she and other people seek? The message is clear and sympathetic. Jesobel Jones is an entirely likeable, believable character, recognisable in each of us, rather like Sam in The Gifted, the Talented and Me.
Bookwagon is really happy to recommend Rebel with a Cupcake to our YA readers.



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