Friday, June 15, 2018

Blog Tour: The History of Jane Doe - Michael Belanger

The History of Jane Doe
Michael Belanger
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning.

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville's past is riddled with green cow sightings and witches' curses, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl--we'll call her Jane Doe.

Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. As fascination turns to friendship and then to something more, Ray is certain he knows Jane's darkest, most painful secrets and Jane herself--from past to present. But when the unthinkable happens, Ray is forced to acknowledge that perhaps history can only tell us so much.

Mixing humor with heartache, this is an unmissable coming-of-age story from an exciting new voice in YA.

Be prepared. This book is an emotional roller coaster, but in my opinion, it's a ride worth taking.

Top Ten Reasons to Read The History of Jane Doe
  1. Ray was sarcastic, insightful, and his love and knowledge of history was unparalleled. 
  2. Simon has been added to my list of favorite sidekicks. His adoration of milk and vampires made me smile, and he was also a wonderful, supportive, and big-hearted best friend to Ray. 
  3. Jane was quirky and interesting without being a manic pixie dream girl. She had this whip smart wit, and I have never encountered a character who counts folk music and conspiracy theories among her favorite things. 
  4. The friendship between these three was sort of wonderful. I promise there will be lots of laughter for a majority of this book, and most of it will be due to the interactions between these three characters. 
  5. I have never seen "folk" used in so many ways. Jane wore these obscure folk music t-shirst, which never failed to make me smile with sayings such as "Let's Folk", "Folk You", "O Come, All Ye Folkful". I just started looking forward to seeing what her next t-shirt would say. 
  6. Tommy Beddington, because I like when people surprise me. 
  7. The format of the book was days before and days after "the event". It's a format I am a fan of, because I like the back and forth and the buildup. 
  8. Carnivorous Green Cows and all the other odd attractions in Burgerville. It was fun learning the history of this quirky little town, as well as, getting to know its oddities.   
  9. Mental health issues were treated in a very honest and sensitive way. We don't get a lot of first hand reflections, because the story was narrated by Ray, but rather, we see how a loved one's mental health issues affected those around them. Ray also worked with a therapists, Richard Dawson, who was simply wonderful. One of my favorite Richard quotes: "Depression is like this black light on everything in your life so you can only see the bad stuff."  
  10. The ending of this book was beautiful. Yes, I cried buckets, but I thought it was a wonderful way to end Jane's story. 
This book was heartwarming and heartbreaking. So grab some tissues and get to know Ray, Jane, and Simon. 

Read Michael Belanger's thoughts about The History of Jane Doe.

* ARC received in exchange for an honest review.


Because I was lucky enough to get both a digital and physical copy of this wonderful book, I am giving away the physical ARC I received. Head over to Twitter and check out the pinned tweet on my page. Sorry, US only (because I am poor).



Michael Belanger is a debut young adult author and high school history teacher. He is a member of the Westport Writers' Workshop and faculty advisor to Greenwitch, a high school literary magazine that has published talented young writers--including Truman Capote--for over a hundred years. He currently lives in Connecticut.



June 6 – ELA Everyday – Review + Creative Instagram
June 7 – I’mbusyreading – Creative Instagram Picture
June 8 - @amberafterglowreads – Creative Instagram Picture


June 11 – Comfort Books – Review
June 12 – Peanut Butter & Books – Moodboard
June 13 – Book Reader Chronicles – Review + Playlist
June 14 – It’s Just About Write – Author Q&A
June 15 – We Live and Breathe Books – 10 Reasons to Read the Book
Do you like folk music?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Okay, between the synopsis and your review, I've gotta say: I am seriously curious. About Jane and about the "event." It seems like this one tackles some serious topics but also keeps it light with plenty of humor. Love that. And I'm already chuckling at Jane's t-shirts. :)

    1. It gets very serious as Jane's mental health takes a reverts back to how it was before she came to town. It's very emotional, and of course, I cried, and the ending was so beautiful, that there was more crying, but I really enjoyed getting to know Jane.

  2. You have definitely caught my attention with this one for sure! Great review.

    1. Glad I did, because it's a really beautiful story.

  3. Okay so now I'm intrigued. I never paid attention to this one much before because the cover didn't strike me but now I think it is something I must add to my tbr!

    1. I had to read the book to understand the genius of this cover

  4. How have I never heard of this book? It sounds wonderful!

    1. It was. Painful at times, but ultimately beautiful

  5. I've seen this book around, but this is the first review I've actually read for it. It sounds like a really incredible read! Milk and vampires? Carnivorous cows? I also enjoy books that bounce between the past and present before finally revealing an event that happened. The anticipation is always so intense! How to Love by Katie Cotugno comes to mind.

    Lovely review, Sam! I'm sure I'll need a box of tissues for this one. <3
    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. I'm also loving the background you've got going on! It's absolutely adorable. :)

    2. Thank you! Kiersten did an amazing job with the new theme. My favorite kind of characters are the different, quirky ones, and these ch asracters had some interesting quirks. They totally wormed their way into my heart.

  6. lol that is a lot of uses for Folk XD looks like a cute read

    1. Lots of cute parts, but it's that type of book, where it's funny until it isn't. Jane's mental health issues were crushing.

  7. Read the synopsis and got a strong MPDG vibe so I'm glad you didn't feel like this was the stereotypical boy meets MPDG story. Um, folk music? I saw Inside Llewyn Davis and stayed awake, does that count?
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. Ray and Simon before Jane were not brooding or depressed. They were actually pretty content in their own little world, and all the characters were pretty quirky. I just didn't feel Jane was the typical MPDG, and the story is about more than her romance with Ray, which developed quite slowly. It was about friendship, and how other's are affected by mental illness even when they aren't the ones, who are mentally ill.

  8. I love it when authors get creative and use things like how this author does with "folk." That is the BEST. And emotional roller coaster???? I'm so so so down for this. Wonderful review, Sam! :)

    1. I love quirky things, and the quirks in this book were fairly original.

  9. I'm so curious to know what this event was and how it effected Jane, because it sounds like a big deal and one worth reading to find out. The characters are all on the list of pros so I can tell the characters are done well. And I love the sound of the use of the word 'folk'. Your examples are already hilarious so I'm so ready to read about more.

    1. If you like quirky characters, this book is for you, because the three MCs all have some really fun quirks. This book is hilarious until it gets sad, so be prepared if you read it. I ugly cried, because I am a total sap.