Review: Jenny Pox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This hasn’t been a great year in the reading department so far. Jenny Pox, by J. L. Bryan, was really the first book of 2012 that I enjoyed. I wouldn’t call it a great book, and I probably won’t continue the series, but it was solid and entertaining.
The story is about a remarkable and unfortunate girl named Jenny Morton who has a terrible super-power. Everything she touches becomes infected and dies. This earns her the nickname Jenny Pox for a short while, and then Jenny Mittens after she learns to live her life covered up from head to toe, even on the warmest days.
Jenny grows up in a small town in South Carolina complete with all the fixin’s that you’d imagine the setting to have. Her chief antagonist, Ashleigh Gooding, is the preacher’s daughter, class president, cheer captain, and total sociopath. Life is hard for Jenny Morton, and Ashleigh seems to take pleasure in making it harder.
As the story grows, Jenny and the reader learn more about her powers and the existence of other powers in the world. Mixed up in all this fantasy is a pretty straight forward story of bullying and harassment mixed with a dash of falling in love.
The ending delivers pretty much exactly what you’re hoping for as you read the whole book. There is a little too much exposition right at the very end for my tastes. It seemed more like the author wants you to know that he really thought about the origin story of these powers and how it all ties together, even though it really didn’t come up at all in the book. Still, it does open the story nicely for a series of sequels.
The actual writing of the novel wasn’t particularly noteworthy. The two main protagonists did show a bit of growth in their arcs, though the rest of the cast seemed pretty much to follow their template for the whole story. The pacing was good, and the action was horrifically descriptive.
I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll put it this way: if you enjoyed Carrie, read this book.