Book #21: Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

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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.

Jenny Pox is the first Kindle book I bought and read. Recommended through a blog post by Amanda Hocking, I decided to check out JL Bryan and his work. After a few years of Kindle books, I decided it was time to check out the audio and give the book an overall review.

If I could compare Jenny Pox to any book, I would compare it to Stephen King’s Carrie. Like Carrie, Jenny is a senior in high school and the loser of a small town. She lives in a single parent household and has a dangerous ability. And, like Carrie, the ending is messed up with her ability running rampant through the town. Unlike King’s heroine, Jenny’s ability makes more sense.

Not to be mean to Carrie, but telekinesis is moving things with the mind. Rocks just appearing and killing people isn’t really a telekinesis move, but more like a poltergeist. Just putting it out there.

Jenny’s ability is more messed up. Jenny can’t touch a person. If she does, they will have sores appear in their body. She can cause a famine and a plague. She is destruction and it’s disturbing. If she touches a person, she can kill them. She has known this all her life and has taken precautions to prevent her abilities from showing. That is, until she grows attached to Seth Barrett.

The writing is a mix of good Southern Gothic and young adult horror. You have teen issues and yet, those issues are expanded to something that disturbs the reader. My heart beats fast when I read the book and I get to the edge of my seat trying to figure out what is happening and the villain’s plans.

Unfortunately, that is lost with the Audible narrator. I don’t know if it was just my file or not, but there were skips in the narration. Words were repeated and sometimes sentences. It took away from the story for a few moments. When that wasn’t happening, the narrator herself took a while to get used to. She has a nasally almost whiny voice when she is portraying Jenny Morton. It isn’t a voice I would have used.

That said, I’m not pushed to the point where I won’t bother with the sequel. I will be reading it some time (I have it, just haven’t read it) and it probably will be via Audible.

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