Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

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Jenny Pox
J.L. Bryan
Series: The Paranormals, #1
Release date: July 22nd, 2010

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

When I first came upon this book months ago, I thought it was a paranormal romance based on the few reviews I had read. It’s only recently that I was told it’s actually more horror, comparable to Carrie, and aimed at 18+. This brought it right up my reading list because I love horror novels, Carrie was one of my favorite movies, and this premise screams at me (really!)! As promised, Jenny Pox is horrifically awesome with a deadly touch, a sweet romance, and a brilliantly wicked villain!

Jenny has never been able to touch anyone without causing them to break out in oozing boils, or at worst – die. Consequently, she has grown up without any friends, getting mocked for her “covered up” fashion and loner status. From the get-go, I wanted to take Jenny and hug her. She has such a sweet personality that, because of her touch, people never got to know. She also deals extremely well under her circumstances. It makes it easy to sympathize with her, besides rooting for her to kill everyone. What? For real!

A masterfully written villain, Ashleigh is quite the character. I loathed her; she is manipulative, she is malevolent, and she literally wants to rule the world. It’s not hard to guess that she is the one making Jenny’s life a living hell. As far as villains go, this one really gets under your skin. I thought her role was ingeniously crafted; you can easily imagine how, if something is not done soon, she can, and will, become unstoppable.

We do have quite the sweet romance woven into this horror novel as well. At first I wasn’t too keen on Seth. I didn’t understand why he was so open to cheating, or why he was with Ashleigh in the first place, however that was before I realized how much power she had over him. Afterwards, I warmed up to him and was positively rooting for him and Jenny to be together. They make an awesome team along with having great chemistry.

Comparing it to Stephen King’s Carrie is not misleading. The plot is clearly different, but it has the same feel with plenty of deaths and gory descriptions. The ending: if you guess it, I will give you a million dollars! No kidding! In a way it’s really different than what I was expecting, completely changing the bigger plot of the story, however it’s so well thought of, taking me so much by surprise, that I think I loved it! I’m absolutely looking forward to reading the rest of this series and I definitely recommend it to fans of horror novels – although take note that in no way do I consider this a YA novel. Even though the characters are in their teens, there is sex, drugs, gore, violence, death – really, a whole lot of awesome! 

4 Hot Espressos
Jenny Pox is FREE at the moment for ebook!

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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47 Responses to “Review: Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan”

  1. Amy

    I bought this in December and still have to read it. After reading your review I think I have to bump it up a bit on my list. Awesome review!! I love horror and gore!!

  2. Agnieszka Nashi

    Your enthusiastic review made me move this one on top of my reading pile! I got it last week since it was free, now I should read it. :)

    And I loooove the cover! It rarely happens with self-pubbed books or freebies, but this one is intriguing.

    Thanks for the great review!

    Agnieszka @ Nook of Books

  3. Sarah

    Awesome review Giselle! I’m so glad you liked this one. It’s been on my list for awhile. I actually got it as an Amazon kindle freebie a few months back. I’ve really got to get to it though. I haven’t read too many horror novels, but I will definitely check this out as soon as possible! :)

    ♥ Sarah @ I’m Loving Books

  4. Amy Leigh Strickland

    People like to stamp a LOT of fiction these days as YA. It makes me sad when I see someone blasting Jenny Pox on reviews for being clearly not YA. I’m happy that you made it clear that this is really intended for 18+, despite the protagonist being in high school.

  5. Annette

    I have so many books to read, and this is one that I’ve had for a long time. Reading a great review like yours makes me want to get this one to the top of the pile! Thanks!

  6. Giselle

    Thanks ladies! <3 your faces!

    @Amy Leigh: I know, right? Especially that it says it right on the blurb. Plus, what kind of high school doesn’t have drugs and sex!?

  7. Katie @ BlookGirl

    This. Sounds. Amazing! The cover is sooo creepy. I love it! :-) What a great review, Giselle, as always. I actually haven’t read a ton of horror books (though I like horror movies) and will definitely buy this soon!

  8. K R Weinert

    Great review; I didn’t rate it as high on Goodreads, but I think it’s because I came to it thinking it was YA, so half-way through I was a totally thrown. I loved the beginning, but lost the feel for it half way through. Yes, lots of sex, drugs, gore and splatty deaths :-)

  9. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Carrie? *runs screaming* Actually I’m a wimp and haven’t seen the show. However, I still have Jenny Pox in my tbr and WILL get to it. I would be happy about the million but I know I won’t guess the ending if you didn’t! I am so moving this one up my pile!

  10. Jennifer | Book Den

    I have this book, and I keep letting it slip down the TBR list!! I have got to read it soon; I just know I will love it, too. I’m a big fan of Carrie – I’ve never heard that comparison before. (Yay!)

  11. Heidi

    Oh fantastic! I scooped this one up a while back when it was a Kindle freebie, but honestly hadn’t heard anything. It was a ‘hey this is free, but I may or may no actually read it’ purchase. Hearing from you that it is more horror than paranormal romance, and more new adult/adult than YA has me totally on board! Thanks for the great review, I’ll be reading this one sometime in the next few months to be sure.

  12. Sarah (saz101)

    Ooooh, I TOTALLY thought this was going to be YA paranormal. WHA? Ooooh, you know what? I bought this for Kindle MONTHS ago, and I’ve never really even glanced at it… GISELLE! You make it sound A M A Z I N G.

    I’m seriously going to read it, like, SOON! EXCELLENT review! ♥

  13. Aylee

    Huh, I had had no idea that this was a horror either, really. For some reason, I don’t remember gleaning that from reviews before now. Kind of makes me a bit nervous to read it now! I’ll have to to it with a teddy bear in tow.

  14. Maja

    I actually started this once and really liked it, but then I got distracted by a new release or an arc or something and forgot all about it. However, I was really convinced that it’s YA and I’m kind of happy to know it isn’t. I’m so tired of same old. And besides, who doesn’t like Carrie?! :D
    Great review! :)

  15. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    I didn’t get it was more of a horror either! But ohh, that makes me even more intrigued. o: Wow. And the ending is that surprising? *rubs hands together* It SOUNDS awesome! Can’t wait to read it now!! Thanks for making me even more excited. ;)

  16. Danny

    I am such a big fangirl of JL Bryan, he’s awesome and I love his books and his writing! You out it perfectly “Jenny Pox is horrifically awesome with a deadly touch”. I was amazed by Jenny Pox! Wait until you read the next books, they are as awesome!

  17. Ada Adams

    Hi Giselle,

    Great review! I have been looking for an interesting horror book to read. I will definitely have to get this one.

    “…there is sex, drugs, gore, violence, death – really, a whole lot of awesome!” – this cracked me up. :)

  18. Lexie

    18+ or no, I may have to check this one out. Awesome heroine, awesome villain, and awesome creepiness sounds like my kind of book. *-* Is it in print? /too lazy to check

  19. MoonStar

    Great review. I got it free on amazon and reading it right now. Read about 60% and really liking it so far. So different.
    And I also thought it was YA. But no.. Can´t say it so.. But looking forward to the ending now :P haha Must continue reading xD

  20. Canada

    I’ve got this book on my shelf but I don’t know why I didn’t read it yet.
    One thing is for sure, I’ll read it soon with your great review that makes this book more appealing!

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