Friday, September 18, 2015

Jenny Pox (The Paranormals #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM

Age: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3 stars

“She felt the skin on her lower face bubble and pop as bleeding sores formed on her lips. Pustules cracked open on her face, extruding curls of pus like tiny white worms.”

Marta Thinks: Jenny Morton inflicts a deadly plague on everyone she touches: the so-called “Jenny Pox”, which is as far from an original name as you can think of, but considering it was coined by Jenny’s nemesis, Ashleigh, at a young age, I can let that one slide. The novel begins from Jenny’s childhood with an especially horrifying image: Jenny holding a deadly snake in her hands, believing it to be a rattle toy, and it sets the tone for a dark story.

The plot itself is nothing extraordinarly original: Jenny, for example, meets Seth, a boy who is resistant to Jenny’s fatal touch and is, also, Ashleigh’s boyfriend. However, J.L. Bryan diverges from the usual path by not presenting these aspects in the usual way, and not shying away from the ugly details either. Jenny, for example, is bullied at school and is poor and her hardships are not pushed aside, but dwelled upon carefully. This allows Jenny herself to become a likable character -- one that is trying to survive despite the circumstances yet tries not to engage in endless pity parties.
There’s also a careful, quiet study of the other characters. Seth is more than just a boy pulled between two girls and his motivations and actions can be understood. Ashleigh is not necessarily a “gray” character when it comes to her morals but again, the reasons behind her attitude are clear. This lends to an interesting read that does not necessarily challenge assumptions as so much alter them carefully. An important thing to note would be that this book is more mature than the average young adult novel: there’s plenty of swearing and drinking and sex and though it is a little over-the-top at times, it does lend to the gritty sort of atmosphere that is suitable for the story.

Overall, when taking into account the quality and the lack of money involved in this book’s purchase, I think this proves to be quite a good deal!


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