Title: Being Jamie Baker
Author: Kelly Oram
ISBN: 9780615377544
Pages: 353 pages
Publisher/Date: Bluefields, c2010.
Reviewed from ARC furnished by We Love YA Books

Most superhero stories start with a meteor shower or a nasty insect bite, but mine actually starts with a kiss. Whether it was a kiss of life or a kiss of death I still haven’t decided, but it was surprisingly, a really good kiss. Not that I’d ever tell him that.
The kiss didn’t actually give me my powers. Those came earlier, in a freak accident involving toxic waste and something like 40,000 volts of electricity. But it was that kiss that forced me out of hiding and changed my life, eventually making me who I am today, and blah, blah, blah… You know the drill. (1)

Seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker was involved in a car accident that left her with an assortment of powers. Running from the aftermath and an overenthusiastic reporter intent on discovering her secret, Jamie encourages her outcast status at her new school. She’s intent on keeping people at a distant so no one finds out her secret. But star quarterback Ryan Miller approaches the ice queen on a dare, and never looks back. Ryan’s persistence starts to wear on Jamie, but can she keep her secret hidden and avoid the repercussions?

I’ll admit, the completely pink cover could go either way. It might discourage tomboy readers from picking it up, but I really like the shocking color to go along with Jamie’s shocking powers over electricity. Her powers aren’t the only secret she’s hiding, which adds some real depth to the story and really explains why Jamie is acting the way she is towards Ryan and her classmates. I think Kelly Oram nailed the high school clique scene, with Jamie avoiding rather than pursuing a conspicuous spot at the social ladder; Be unapproachable intentionally, and you won’t be hurt when no one wants to be your friend.

Ryan does want to be Jamie’s friend though, and I really enjoyed reading the scenes that Jamie and Ryan have together. He knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to try to convince Jamie that this relationship will work out, even if it’s at the expense of some of his other friendships. I was chuckling and smirking to myself at Ryan and Jamie as he tries to convince her to be his girlfriend — in a scene that I can’t share with you here because it contains spoilers. Suffice it to say, pages 214 and 215 read like a conversation I would have with a boyfriend. Becky, one of Ryan’s long time friends that he stands to lose, is also realistically apprehensive about this new turn of events, as it forces her to choose sides, neither of which are very stable.

Ryan isn’t the only one who is stubborn though. Jamie makes him work at being her boyfriend, but not in the snot-nosed, stuck-up Mean Girls manner. She is interested, but she knows how difficult it will be for Ryan and she wants to save him from that hardship and heartache. You have to admit, the girl’s got attitude and emotion! As much as she tries to convince people she’s an ice queen, and I really appreciate being able to see Jamie’s true feelings make an appearance in school since we’re privy to them from the start of the book. The other thing that I like about this story is that the powers, and the reasoning behind their existence, stay consistent. She’s not like a witch or X-men who magically gain powers willy-nilly as the story progresses. Instead, it’s a logical progression as she finally gains the opportunity to experiment with them.

It’s a great sappy, budding romance that I would probably recommend to people who liked The Sky is Everywhere or If I Stay. It’s also a remarkably clean romance if you care about that kind of thing, considering how often sparks fly. There is however a mention of another character’s sexual experience, but with almost no details. Besides that though, it’s an adventurous plot with several turns that you don’t see coming at all. I would be interested in reading a sequel, if there is one coming, although part of the tension would probably be missing since we now know Jamie’s back story. A fast, interesting, and satisfying read.

For anyone who is interested, Kelly Oram has a website for the book, where you can read an excerpt, view the book trailer, and even access her blog.

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