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Jenny Pox Paperback – July 24, 2010
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"This tale highlights both the inspiring strengths and the abhorrent cruelties of human nature, forcing us to run through the full gamut of emotional responses and refusing to let us return to reality until everything Mr. Bryan wants us to experience has been felt, seen, and fully absorbed." -Jenny, Supernatural Snark
"This book has it all: teenage angst, sex, drugs, hiding an evil agenda disguised as a religious quest, evil cheerleaders." -Heather, Bewitched Bookworms
"This is one of the best novels of the year I've read so far, and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it." -Darkeva's Dark Delights
"JL Bryan has written a book that runs the gamut from young adult romance to revenge thriller to horror novel to grand fantasy epic love story, and doesn't miss on any fronts. I was, quite simply, blown away." -John Hartness, Author of Hard Day's Knight
Selected by Geeks of Doom for Top 10 Urban Fantasy Books of 2010.
Winner of a Red Adept Indie Award: #1 in Horror for 2010.
About the Author
J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He enjoys remixing elements of paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, horror and science fiction into new kinds of stories.
He is the author of The Paranormals series (Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, Alexander Death) and other books. Fairy Metal Thunder is the first book in his new Songs of Magic series. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, his baby son John, and some dogs and cats.
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First, it turns out that although the main character is in high school, as the story develops it becomes apparent that the high school and main character’s age are only the setting, the focal point of a larger reality. I got the book because the idea intrigued me, but I was a little leery of it being just another story about a teenage girl not fitting in socially. Well, it’s not, and I’m glad I read past the first few pages.
Second, there’s a lot going on with the characters. The main character is developed significantly better than the others, but all of the important characters are definitely not one-dimensional. All of their surprised do fit well with their character.
Lastly, I was impressed with the writing itself, most notably the descriptions of Jenny’s afflictions. Each time it came in to the story it seemed fresh, a new set of images that added to your mental picture of the Jenny Pox. Instead of simply finding different words to repeat the same idea, he painted additional layers into your imagination.
This story isn't exactly horror, although it has horrific scenes and is incredibly gory. The gore didn't feel gratuitous, as this is a core element of the MC, and it was certainly imaginative. But it did make me a little ill, a few times. If you have a delicate constitution, as I do, be aware.
This story isn't exactly romance, either, although romance is one of the key cornerstones of the plot and character development. It's a bit of redemptive love, where romance brings out Jenny's confidence...I'd like to knock it for that, but in the greater scheme of characters and plot, it makes sense that the romance is the first time Jenny has anyone truly believing in her. Also, there's some very steamy sexual content.
It's also not exactly scifi, although there are solid elements of supernatural fiction.
Overall, this is a really visceral story. My heart broke for Jenny (although if she ever did her dark witch plague ickiness in front of me, I'd be horrified), and was horrified by the blockbuster ending. I'm not giving it a full A because I felt like the main romantic interest was rather underdeveloped- although this is weighed by major props in the main antagonist being well developed and understandable. Also, amazingly, the cover looks just how I pictured Jenny when reading (which pretty much never happens).
I recommend this story for anyone who likes somewhat bizarre fiction with a lot of sensual detail and larger-than-life plots. It was well-paced and read very much like a summer movie.
After reading Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, I was looking forward to reading another story by J.L. Bryan.
Jenny, nicknamed “Jenny Pox,” has a rare anomaly: her touch causes sores and blisters similar to the chicken pox, and they can be deadly. Ever since then, she wears long sleeves and avoids getting close to anyone. Of course that doesn’t make school any easier, especially when you’re on the outs with the meanest, most popular girl in school. Right away you feel for poor Jenny and you hope that the mean, bossy Ashleigh gets hers in the end. I had a feeling the finale would mirror a scene right out of Carrie, with Jenny’s powers wrecking havoc on the school. That would’ve been awesome.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t really turn out that way. About half way through the book, the story gets complicated and weirder. It completely deviates from Jenny Pox and expands to other paranormals in the small hick town. Apparently Seth and Ashleigh have a similar yet different touching power (Seth heals and Ashleigh can transfer pleasure.) What kind of freaks are these kids?
It was nice seeing Jenny and Seth (total opposites in their powers) getting closer, but, again, certain parts in the story lagged with too many useless details on background scenes (I skimmed over these for the most part.)
I just feel that the story revolved more on religion and spiritual healing/destruction. It wasn’t what I expected. I think the Ghost Trapper series was better.
Ashleigh is my favorite character in this book. Despite being introduced as a mean girl, she's a villain you can't help but to love. (It was like she touched me through the parchment and suddenly I was like "Ashleigh, I'm gonna go get a sex change so we can make some babies." Midway though the operation, this feeling strangely faded away, and then I was like "Awkward.")
Seth, on the other hand, I can't get into. I don't understand why he falls for Jenny so suddenly, especially considering his relationship with Ashleigh. Granted, he probably has the best excuse ever for cheating.
I would categorize this book as high YA or NA, due to some pretty graphic scenes. If you get offended easily, this might not be the book for you. There's violence, death, and sex. If you're looking for a different sort of paranormal romance, then Jenny Pox might be for you. (B)