Synopsis from Hachette Book Group:
Remy and Alicia, a couple of insecure service workers, are not particularly happy together. But they are bound by a shared obsession with Jen, a beautiful former co-worker of Remy’s who now seems to be following her bliss as a globe-trotting jewelry designer. In and outside the bedroom, Remy and Alicia’s entire relationship revolves around fantasies of Jen, whose every Instagram caption, outfit, and new age mantra they know by heart.
Imagine their confused excitement when they run into Jen, in the flesh, and she invites them on a surfing trip to the Hamptons with her wealthy boyfriend and their group. Once there, Remy and Alicia try (a little too hard) to fit into Jen’s exalted social circle, but violent desire and class resentment bubble beneath the surface of this beachside paradise, threatening to erupt. As small disturbances escalate into outright horror, we find ourselves tumbling with Remy and Alicia into an uncanny alternate reality, one shaped by their most unspeakable, deviant, and intoxicating fantasies. Is this what “self-actualization” looks like?
Part millennial social comedy, part psychedelic horror, and all wildly entertaining, A Touch of Jen is a sly, unflinching examination of the hidden drives that lurk just outside the frame of our carefully curated selves.
About: A Touch of Jen is an adult fiction written by Beth Morgan. It was recently published on 7/13/2021 by Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, hardcover, 320 pages. The genres are literary fiction, horror, contemporary, and humor. According to the publisher’s website, “Our Vision: To be the #1 destination for authors, agents, customers, client publishers, and employees. To be a respected publisher that values diversity, nurtures talent, rewards success, and honors its responsibilities. To be market focused in all we do, and to lead change in popular culture. To anticipate change, foster creativity, and encourage risk-taking and innovation.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading A Touch of Jen on 8/19/2021 and finished it on 8/25/2021 at 50% or page 161. A different read than what I normally encountered, I enjoyed the humor especially the knock knock joke about someone being in the kitchen. The read was mostly bland. The two main characters don’t have much going on in their lives. They complain a lot about different things. It’s odd that Alicia would put up with pretending to be Jen for Remy’s sake because Remy was obsessed with Jen though readers may think Alicia was obsessed with Jen too. There’s a bit of life to their boring lives when they attended the surfing trip. After they come home, nothing else interesting was going on.
This book started with Remy and Alicia, told in the third person point of view. They were both obsessed with looking at Jen’s photos on multiple social media platforms. Jen used to work with Remy and he’s upset that they didn’t stayed friends after the company closed down. Alicia sometimes pretend to be Jen for role playing with Remy. One day, the couple ran into Jen in real life. Jen reacquainted with Remy and invited both to a surfing trip hosted by her boyfriend Horus. Horus’s a surf instructor so naturally he gave Remy and Alicia lessons because they don’t know how to surf. The story weaved between Alicia and Remy’s thoughts.
A Touch of Jen was well written. I read every word up to 50% of the book. I just couldn’t push further. I loved the cover and the idea of following someone on social media and imitating them but Alicia’s imitation was short to just Jen’s mean personality towards Remy. I will donate this book to the Little Free Library next month and hopefully someone will love reading it.
I rate it 3 stars!
About the Author:
Beth Morgan grew up outside Sherman, Texas and studied writing as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently completing an MFA at Brooklyn College. Her work has been published in The Iowa Review and The Kenyon Review Online. (Photo obtained from Instagram and Info obtained from Hachette’s website).
More Information about Little, Brown and Company
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.