A noteworthy review of Jess and Jaylen from Booklist on December 1, 2014
Lifelong best pals and diametrical opposites Jess and Jaylen are the main characters in this sweet series entry about friendship and compromise. Each wants their best friend to try their own respective favorite activity during summer rec league. For bookish Jaylen, this means trying to swing a bat and field a baseball. For Jess, this means putting aside her athleticism and giving chess a try. The plot explores what it means to be a good friend, how leaving one’s comfort zone can be both scary and rewarding, and just how much one should be willing to compromise to make someone else happy. The plot is divided into five practicable chapters perfect for both reading aloud and emerging independent readers. Age-appropriate text is dotted with copious colorful illustrations that will facilitate contextual comprehension. Reflection questions in the back matter pose situational questions and prompts for discussion. A relatable and high-interest read.