Title: Jenny Pox
Author: J.L. Bryan
Format: Kindle eBook
Release Date: July 22nd 2010
Taken from Goodreads
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.
It would be impossible to review Jenny Pox without thinking about another book about a troubled teenage girl who had some deadly paranormal powers. Stephen King's Carrie (first published in 1974) told the story of Carrie White, a girl who was so different to her peers that, even when we felt pity for her, we kind of despised her too. The film was a slightly kinder portrayal of the character, but in the book Carrie was the kind of girl we all stayed away from in school. She wore bad clothes, had greasy hair and she smelt bad.
In Carrie, King created a character who was extraordinary and tragic, but who also lacked likeability. It was why she was so powerful. Readers kind of hated themselves for wanting to grab Carrie by the shoulders and shake her! We felt even worse when we realised how her awful her home life was.
There's a lot of Carrie in the eponymous heroine of Jenny Pox. The character's real name is Jenny Morton, but she is given the cruel nickname by Ashleigh, one evil bitch of a villain who knows Jenny's secret. If Jenny's skin touches someone, it spreads a fatal disease. Because of this, Jenny is isolated and lonely. She wears ugly, old fashioned clothes which she has to button up until she looks like a puritanical freak. She has to wear gloves, no matter what the weather. She can't even hug her father or pet her dog. Whereas Carrie White didn't inspire sympathy, Jenny does. When the narrative follows her, we see a lonely girl who is also smart and quirky.
Jenny isn't the only person in her town with a special power. There is also Seth, a boy who can heal injuries, and Ashleigh, who can spread love like Jenny spreads plague. And in the hands of someone like Ashleigh – a marvellously loathsome antagonist – love is far more dangerous than sickness is in Jenny's hands.
This is a book for older readers as some of the content is a tad on the risqué side. However, the sexual content is dealt with brilliantly and it certainly isn't glamorised!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is yet another example of a free Kindle eBook which had me staying up into the wee hours to finish the story! Jenny was a greatly imagined character. Her power was gross and frightening, but she had a heart of gold. Seth was a great yet flawed love interest who served as a shiny example of how boys can be really dopey when it comes to their man-parts ruling over their sense! And Ashleigh... I honestly wanted her to suffer. She was brilliantly bad.
The conclusion of the book was mind-blowing. I wasn't entirely convinced by the last chapter, but the climax was tremendous! This is the first book in a trilogy, but it works well as a stand alone novel too. Still, I'm sure I'll get my hands on Tommy Nightmare and Alexander Death at some point in the future, and I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts on them too!
For, Jenny Pox, however, a well-deserved four stars! A fab freebie!