Title: Jenny Pox
Author: Jeff Bryan
Poor Jenny. She hasn’t got any friends, her dad’s a drunk, and her only crush, Seth, is the boyfriend of her absolute worst enemy in the world—Ashleigh Goodling. What Jenny has got is the deadly ability to kill with just a touch. She can’t control it, so she avoids touching anyone. After a near-tragic accident, she discovers Seth has an unusual ability as well—he can heal people just like she can kill them. To make it even more amazing, he can touch her and not die from a horrific plague. Too bad Ashleigh isn’t going to let him go easily. Especially not with her own ability—to manipulate people.
At first, I was like, Oh, great, dues ex machina. Everybody’s got magic stuff going on. Separated mystical soul mates, and so on. So where can this book go that the movie Hancock didn’t?
Well, in short, nowhere, because this book is a mash-up of Hancock, Carrie, and Mean Girls.
So far, sounds like a pretty negative review, huh?
The book starts off a little stiff, but quickly engages the reader. It’s a fun story, even if you’ve pretty much seen it/read it before. Bryan managed to create a unique, sympathetic character with Jenny. In fact, I think his female characters were better written than the male ones! I thought she was a refreshing change from the usual type of character that populate these sort of novels. She’s not self-pitying, doesn’t yearn to be part of the ‘in’ crowd, and she knows who she is and what she wants. Even though she has an ability that forces her isolation from everyone, she is content with her life. She’s accepted it, and even when Seth comes into the picture and we have the inevitable betrayal scene, she still doesn’t let it destroy her.
Jenny knows she has the power to destroy, but she never gives in to the urge, except at the very end in a very Carrie II: The Rage-esque moment. Seth’s character never really develops. He’s sort of nothing and then all of a sudden he’s boyfriend material. He needed a bit more defining in the early parts of the book. Ashleigh’s character brought out some good stuff in the plot—the use of religion to control and manipulate the masses, and the matters of tolerance and intolerance. It was fun watching her world-domination plots unfold naturally—or supernaturally, if you will. The end is predictable from the second you read the blurb, but it’s executed beautifully. I loved the last few chapters. I think they brought the whole story together, although it did rely on the Hancock lost gods/goddesses mythology a little much.
So in all, Jenny Pox is a fun read. It’s good, well-written, and a great novel to just sit and read without taking too seriously.