Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Publisher: Self-published (Author's site: www.jlbryanbooks.com)
Synopsis/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.
Not recommended for readers under eighteen.
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The book was labeled as a horror book somehow, personally, I didn't think it was all that scary. It did get quite disturbing towards the end though, imagine a the results of a zombie attack (this book has nothing to do with zombies, don't worry, no spoiler here), that's disturbingness of that scene. When I read that part, I just read the words without thinking too much of the scenario, so it was okay. A friendly remainder, when you read this book, don't think too much about the scenes, especially towards the end. That said, it wasn't the kind of "horror" I was expecting, just a big bloody mess, so I didn't really get scared or scarred after reading it.
Back to the plot, this is actually a really good book. The plot is well thought out, and have some foreshadowings. I feel like there are 2 climaxes in this book, one during the middle and one towards the end and got me engaged. There's not much of a plot twist though, but the urge to keep reading is enough for me. However, although officially, the books is just 309 pages for the Kindle edition, I felt like it was much longer. I felt like I have just read a 500 page book when I finished, I enjoyed it a lot, but the pages didn't flow by. There were also some excessive scenes, like a particularly sex scene somewhere in the book. It means nothing, it does nothing to push the plot forward and there was actually no follow up after that scene. Luckily, it was just a chapter, so that didn't kill my enjoyment of the book.
I like the ending of this book. It was a bitter-sweet ending, with the whole grim and heavyset of this book, it was pretty satisfying.
Jenny can kill with her touch, it's the power that she had been born with, and there are other characters in this book that has special power with their touches too. These origin of these powers weren't explained until the end of the book. Personally, I didn't really thought much about where their powers came from, I was more focused on the plot. The revelation of it was a good addition to the book and made the world-building a lot more completed, it was nice touch. However, it did come in one pretty short chapter, so prepared to have some big information being thrown at you.
The atmosphere of this book is very, very heavy. I didn't even noticed how grim it was until I finished the book and kept listening to sad and depressing songs. :( The atmosphere fitted the story well. What with the unfortunate experiences and hardships Jenny went through, it was perfect for readers to really blend into Jenny's world.
I really felt for Jenny. Her life.. Well there was no other way to say this, it was a living hell. She was bullied, without friends and can't even fall in love (she'd kill anyone who touches her). With her family in poverty and her mother dead, Jenny really can't afford to lose anything anymore. She was treated badly by almost everyone in town, even the adults thought she was a freak and disliked her. She was treated unfairly for many times and that really aroused my anger. It also portrayed the ugly side of humanity really well, a little extreme, but not exactly unreasonable. All of this combined, we have a tragic main character. And like I said, I really felt bad for her, especially when she was so sweet and kind, it's just that no one wanted to know her and be near her. In a way, her growth throughout the book was kind of like a YA contemporary story, and I am so glad she was way stronger and happier by the end of the book. I also learned that she can get pretty scary if she want, so don't mess with her!
Seth is a pretty nice guy. I like him a lot. He treated Jenny pretty well, and he didn't judge Jenny at the start of the book. He and Jenny were kind of in a insta-love, but I liked it, those two fit together pretty well and were destined to be together.
Finally, Ashleigh, I hated her guts, I wanted her dead from the start of the book. Through the whole book she picked on Jenny for no apparent reason. She was just a generally horrible person with a gift that she didn't deserve and was a hypocrite. She was such a hypocrite that I wanted to personally struggle her with my bare hands. On the outside, she was all sweet, cheery, considerate, innocent and whatsoever, but on the inside, she's the most manipulative character I've ever read. She span vicious lie, only used people to her own advantage and was generally cold-blooded. There was nothing to like about her. She was just born a b*tch, so readers, don't hold hope for her to change or actually do anything good, because she would NEVER do that.
I would give this book 4.5 stars. It was a good and engaging story but I felt a little uncomfortable reading some the parts. I would recommend this to New Adult readers. Yes, that new genre aimed at college readers. One thing that I wanted to complain that has nothing to do with the story is that the title actually read kind of silly. "Jenny Pox"? Didn't that just make you want to giggle? Or is it just me? But, don't let the title fool you, things got pretty ugly in this book.
This is a pretty bloody book I just read, and depressing too. So, what do think about Jenny Pox? Have you guys read other books by J.L. Bryan? How do you like it? What would you do or feel if you touch is deadly? Tell me in comments below. I am all ears! ;)