I went into Jenny Pox by JL Bryan thinking it was a YA story, and boy was I wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Jenny Pox had all of the elements of a YA novel but it also had a couple very adult elements added into the mix and wowzer – what a story!
Jenny has a secret. Her touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague. And she can’t turn it off.
She devotes her life to avoiding contact with people, until her senior year of high school, when she meets the one boy she can touch, and falls in love.
But there’s a problem—he’s under the spell of his devious girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.
Now Jenny must learn to use the “Jenny pox” she’s fought so long to suppress, or else be destroyed by Ashleigh’s ruthless plans.
Jenny Pox is about a young girl who, from birth, is a lethal threat to anyone she touches. Having killed her mother (and many doctors and nurses) when she was born, she has had to grow up dealing with how to keep to herself and avoid contact. Going into the 7-9th grades, however, it’s not as easy to do considering the cruelty of kids and how contact and social interaction are the norm.
Jenny encounters the “mean girl”, Ashleigh, of her school early on in grade school and they continue on together throughout their senior year. The whole time having a huge rivalry (which Jenny hopelessly tries to avoid) that Ashleigh is not willing to forgive or forget.
Ashleigh, much like Jenny has a gift but her gift is such that she gets her way all of the time and it only makes matters worse for Jenny and anyone else that decides to go up against her. What Ashleigh doesn’t realize is that someone else has a power, and things are about to get mighty interesting!
Bryan does a wonderful job with the character building in Jenny Pox. You really feel sorry for Jenny and want to reach into the book and smack the living snot out of Ashleigh. I had never read anything like it before, what with the pox type disease power set, and Bryan made it very creepy and morbid. The characters are realistic from the start and very easy to relate to – after all, who hasn’t been there before – Being picked on or being the one picking on other kids?
The story takes a huge turn in the middle from being a YA book to more adult, not only in the sexual nature, but with the morbidity as well, which I actually loved because it creeped me out and I love a good horror story. There really isn’t much in the way of world building as it’s set in a normal high school type environment where the world is clueless about any type of supernatural powers.
Overall Jenny Pox was a fantastic read. A dark and morbid story about a young girls journey to “just be”. If you want something different, sort of young adult and sort of adult-ish – Jenny Pox is the perfect fit :)