Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

I would really give this 3.5 stars I think, but I decided to round up because it was definitely better than just three stars.

The story for this book was very unique. At different times throughout reading I found it funny, romantic, sexy, disturbing, and gross. What a strange combination, right?

So we have Jenny, who has been somehow cursed with spreading a disgusting plague-like sickness to anyone who touches her bare skin. I mean, we're talking gross and immediate sickness (popping boils and the like). So she has lived her entire life alone and afraid of accidentally killing someone. She wears long sleeves year round and even wears gloves on her hands, which has earned her the nickname "Jenny Mittens". Then we have the other two main characters, Ashleigh and Seth. Throughout the book I found myself wanting to jump into the story and shove Ashleigh off of a bridge. She was just SO MEAN!!! Ashleigh and Seth each have something special going on with each of them as well, but I don't want to give away too much of the plot.

Basically, this story is about Jenny going through her senior year of high school (yes, I said high school...but that does NOT make this a YA novel, believe me), lonely and just wanting to make it to graduation. Ashleigh is an absolute horror and has decided that her second mission in life, second only to ruling the world of course, is to make Jenny's life a living hell. There is also a romance between Jenny and another character, and I found this romance to be believable and very sweet (and at some parts...more than just sweet...wink wink).

I did find one part of the story particularly disturbing. It showed what a crazy, controlling, power-obsessed person Ashleigh is, but I think something different could have happened to show that. It was also the part of the story that made me go, "Oh yeah, this was written by a man". If you've read the book, you can probably pinpoint what I'm talking about.

I also thought the ending was a bit surprising. I expected something similar, but not to the extent that took place. I also thought the explanation for Jenny's "powers" (or "curse" or whatever you want to call it) was a bit out of left field. I definitely did not see that coming as the reason she is the way she is. It did make me want to read the sequel though to see where the author is going with it!

I have read in some places that Jenny Pox is toted as a YA novel...but it is not. The book is short, only 185 pages and the characters are in high school, but that is just a coincidence. There is drug use, language, and sex in the book that is not typical in a YA novel. Do not go into this book expecting YA, you won't get it. Every once in a while I felt a little 'bump' in the writing that made me think of YA, but that was it.

With all that said, I still really enjoyed this book! I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read something a little dark, but still with a sweeter side.

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