Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: June 18, 2010
Publisher: Bluefields; 2nd edition
Pages: 362 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
In true superhero-comic fashion, a combination of toxic waste and 40,000 volts of electricity invest teenage girl, Jamie Baker, with magical powers ranging from super speed, to super hearing, to throwing lightning bolts.
Jamie and her parents moved away from the town where this accident happened to escape the stalking of a paparazzo. They are scared that if the world finds out her super powers are for real, Jamie will be kidnapped by evil scientists and experimented on in a secret lab until she's dead. Because of this real danger, in her new school, Jamie avoids associating with any of the other students for fear of inadvertently giving away her secret. Since she's a beautiful girl, early on, many boys ask her out, but she coldly rebuffs all of them, earning the unflattering nickname, the "Ice Queen."
Then one day, gorgeous, popular quarterback, Ryan Miller, makes a bet with his best friend and teammate, Mike, that if Ryan can get Jamie to kiss him, Mike will back off and stop competing with Ryan to take the most popular girl in school, a lovely cheerleader, to the homecoming dance. Due to her super hearing, Jamie catches every word of this exchange, and is as amused as angry when Ryan saunters over to her table in the lunch room. But instead of trying to connive his way into a kiss, as she'd fully expected him to do, Ryan is completely up-front with Jamie about the bet he's made. Impressed with his honesty, she gives into a whim and plants a huge kiss on Ryan. But the joke's on her when she feels as if a gigantic magnet has plastered her to Ryan. It takes huge effort to extract herself from their mind-blowing connection, though she stubbornly refuses to admit to Ryan that their kiss has affected her in any way.
Ryan has no such qualms. He earnestly pursues Jamie--all thoughts of the cheerleader he'd kissed Jamie to obtain completely wiped from his mind. Jamie valiantly attempts to maintain her "I am an island" stance, but it's impossible for her to continually resist Ryan, and who can blame her? Far from being an egotistical jock, he's witty, kind, intelligent, and generally all-round adorable.
This is a terrific paranormal romance with an extremely entertaining use of the superhero concept--something I had not previously found in YA fiction and had been hoping some enterprising author would dare to offer. In addition to romance, this well-written story contains mystery, intrigue and some excellent action scenes. I particularly enjoyed the mayhem that results as Jamie practices controlling her super powers.
This book is not as blatantly comedic as the author's hilarious romantic comedy, V is for Virgin, but there is definitely a lot of lively, amusing repartee between the two attractive protagonists. Ryan is a simply irresistible romantic interest, and Jamie is a compelling female lead. It is wonderful to encounter a YA heroine who has zero wimp issues--on the contrary, Jamie's main struggle is to manage her easily-aroused anger so that she doesn't accidentally blow up any of the jerks and villains invading her life.
I purchased this book in a Kindle edition. It is well formatted and edited and easy to read.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Super Hero Plot: 5