May 16, 2012

Review: Jenny Pox (The Paranormals #1) by J.L. Bryan

Kindle Edition: 312 pages
Published July 22 2010
Source: Kindle free download
My rating: 2.5/5

Goodreads Summary: Eighteen-year-old Jenny Morton has a horrific secret: her touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague, the "Jenny pox." She lives by a single rule: Never touch anyone. A lifetime of avoiding any physical contact with others has made her isolated and painfully lonely in her small rural town.
Then she meets the one boy she can touch. Jenny feels herself falling for Seth...but if she's going to be with him, Jenny must learn to use the deadly pox inside her to confront his ruthless and manipulative girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.

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Ivana's review: 

I wish this could be one of those raving reviews that made me all itchy to read Jenny Pox in first place, but I wasn't all that thrilled about it. I was completely prepared to have my mind blown off. I mean, a book with a great premise, a Carrie-touch to it, and fairly good writing. I loved Jenny, and the entire cast was well developed. It was chilling at moments and laugh-out-loud funny on other parts. So what went wrong?

First to clarify the Carrie part. You have a girl with some supernatural ability who is a social pariah for obvious reasons. She gets her chance at love and acceptance, until it's rudely taken away from her. She endures the torture long enough until she explodes. What's there not to like?

I would have loved and adored it if it were heavily combed through and tightened. Everything I said above still stands, but it was what the author does in between the fantastic scenes. The book is too short on action to justify its length, which means there are so many fillers that my enthusiasm completely withered down and I found myself reaching for something else to read. It killed the pacing, and sorry to say it, but I was bored.

The antagonist Ashleigh was given much more credit and space than Jenny. Ashleigh is a fantastic, intelligent villain who conquers the world with a soft touch and sweet words. She freaked me out more than Jenny with her gift (or curse). Also, she is in full command of her ability, while Jenny has to suppress hers.  Obviously, it's the charmers that you should stay clear of, not the pox-people. Ashleigh was more developed in terms of motivation, and therefore more memorable.

I also could have done without the numerous scenes that involve Jenny, Seth and pot. Not being a prude here, I just feel that scenes like that have done nothing for the story except provide the platform for more chit chat and whiling away some time.

One more thing that I liked was the setting; well-described lower middle class (almost) trailer park surroundings. It enhanced the atmosphere of desolation, added more dimension to the world building and more contrast between Jenny and other characters.

Final verdict: I really think this would go from "good" to "fantastic" if a certain amount of pages was cut out. If you don't mind the slow pacing and you're looking for a dark and gritty YA paranormal, by all means, give this book a chance. I'll still try to get my hands on the second in the series, that's for sure.

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