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Jess Rothenberg Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Catastrophic History of You and Me (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Kingdom (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jess Rothenberg is a literary fiction author from South Carolina that is best known for her 2020 novel “The Kingdom.” She grew up in Charleson and went to Vassar College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English. She then got a job with Penguin Books as an editor between 2004 and 2011, before she quit to become an author and freelancer. At Penguin, she spent much of her time editing middle grade and teen fiction novels such as “I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil,” “Strange Angels,” “Vampire Academy,” and “I Want to be Your Class President” among others. She currently writes full time from her home in New York and when she is not writing she loves to engage in interpretive dance and dream of adopting a sheepdog.

Rothenberg has always been a storyteller right from when she was a little girl, particularly when Mermaid and Unicorn were not viable options. During her high school and college years, she penned a lot of bad poetry and short fiction though her heart was always in children’s and young adult fiction. Even as she was working for Penguin Books, she always had her stories percolating in her mind. It was one of these stories that would eventually become the published novel “Catastrophic History.” When she started writing the manuscript, she was not thinking about writing it in a specific genre, but rather he was just trying to make sense of the chaotic dating world of the Big Apple. She still feels like a teenager and given that she had spent years editing young adult fiction, it is not surprising that he would decide to write in the same genre. Nonetheless, she believes that her novels would be great for readers in any age bracket.

Jess Rothenberg’s “The Catastrophic History of You and Me” is the story of Brie Eagan that was once upon a time living the perfect life. She has the best boyfriend any girl would have died for, three best friends that cared for her and a great family. But what she believed was true was different from reality as her boyfriend had out of the blue come out to tell her he did not love her anymore, days before she turned sixteen. It would seem that a perfectly healthy and youthful person could be so heartbroken that death was knocking at their door. It did not matter that she was the daughter of a well-known and respected cardiologist. All the other good things in her life seemed to fade in significance when her boyfriend announces that she was leaving. The hurt and shock were proving too much to handle for the teen. Brie wakes up to find that she had died and now lives in a very kind of world – she is in an afterlife. It is a bizarre afterlife since she finds herself living in her favorite pizza place. The people living with her in the afterlife are even more bizarre, particularly one handsome young man dressed like Tom Cruise of Top Gun. She never expected anyone to be so kind to her but the young man offers to be her guide in the strange new world. He is a thoughtful and kind man and Brie thinks that if angels existed, then they had to have been personified in Patrick. As the two of them observe the events following her decease, she comes to accept that hat she thought was a perfect life may never have been after all.

“The Kingdom” by Jess Rothenberg is a provocative anti fairy story of AI enslavement for human amusement. Ana is one of the seven organic-technological hybrids and Fantasists that are the attractions, hostesses, and princesses of the Kingdom. The setting of the novel is an amusement park at the tail end of the twenty-first century. The Fantasists have been designed as compliant, polite, helpful, and beautiful reps of the population of the Earth. Ana and some of her fellow fantasists are beginning to break out of their programmed heritage and think on their own. It all began when an unnamed body had been found dumped on the side of the road. The story then weaves through three timelines, including an interview of Ana after the discovery of the body and a public trial. It also follows the events that came before the murder. The events involved Eve and Nia who are two of Ana’s sisters that had been permanently imprisoned for rebellious behavior. It also tells of the developing relationship between Owen and Ana. Owen is an IT expert with high-level clearance and the relationship between them soon raises concerns.

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