Title: Jenny Pox
Series: The Paranormals, #1
Author: J.L. Bryan
Genre: Paranormal, Horror, Young Adult
Publisher: Self-published by the author
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Length: 310 pages
Source: Purchased from Amazon.com
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.
If I were picking adjectives to describe this book, they would be: bold, imaginative, gross.
This story isn’t exactly horror, although it has horrific scenes and is incredibly gory. The gore didn’t feel gratuitous, as this is a core element of the MC, and it was certainly imaginative. But it did make me a little ill, a few times. If you have a delicate constitution, as I do, be aware.
This story isn’t exactly romance, either, although romance is one of the key cornerstones of the plot and character development. It’s a bit of redemptive love, where romance brings out Jenny’s confidence…I’d like to knock it for that, but in the greater scheme of characters and plot, it makes sense that the romance is the first time Jenny has anyone truly believing in her. Also, there’s some very steamy sexual content.
It’s also not exactly scifi, although there are solid elements of supernatural fiction.
Overall, this is a really visceral story. My heart broke for Jenny (although if she ever did her dark witch plague ickiness in front of me, I’d be horrified), and was horrified by the blockbuster ending. I’m not giving it a full A because I felt like the main romantic interest was rather underdeveloped- although this is weighed by major props in the main antagonist being well developed and understandable. Also, amazingly, the cover looks just how I pictured Jenny when reading (which pretty much never happens).
I recommend this story for anyone who likes somewhat bizarre fiction with a lot of sensual detail and larger-than-life plots. It was well-paced and read very much like a summer movie.