Author: J.L. Bryan
Publish Date: July 24, 2010 by J.L. Bryan (self-pub)
Pages: 214 pages, e-book
Reviewed by: Isalys
Reason for Reading: E-book provided by author for review purposes
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.I hadn't heard of this book until my "Month of Indie Epicness" co-conspirators recommended that we include it. This is the reason I know those girls won't lead me astray because damn, Jenny Pox blew my friggin' mind, like whoa!
Jenny Morton, known as Jenny Mittens to all which was still a vast improvement from her days as Jenny Pox is a pariah. She wears mittens to protect others from her deadly touch. For reasons unknown, Jenny's touch spreads plague-like infections such as blisters, boils, and nasty open sores. If she holds on too long, you can kiss your butt good-bye.
Even with a loving and supportive father, Jenny has never known acceptance or even another person's touch. She's always been that weird girl that keeps to herself and is covered from head-to-toe even in the middle of summer, that is until. . .
Meet Seth, boyfriend of Ashleigh, the school's reigning Queen Bee. We are introduced to Seth as your typical high school jock, but a sad incident involving Jenny's dog reveals that Seth is actually really sweet and compassionate and has a BIG secret of his own. He also has an ability and incidentally, it nixes Jenny's which means they can touch, kiss and even have sex. For the first time in Jenny's life, she is over-the-moon in love and she does not intend to let go.
As for Ashleigh, little Miss Holier than Thou. She's got the whole town wrapped around her finger, except for one person and that is Jenny Mittens. She is determined to rise in power and take Jenny down and reclaim Seth while she's at it. What none of them realize is that they ALL have abilities and they're about to be pushed to their limits.
Holy shit guys! I can't remember the last time that a book affected me so much. The premise is unique, the characters are intense, and the world-building is surprising! Jenny's story broke my heart. I can't imagine living life without human touch. No hugs, no kisses, no high-fives, no smex *gasp*. Seth was funny and sweet and genuinely cared about Jenny so the scenes with them together were a delight. Ashleigh, well, she may or may not be the anti-Christ. She does a phenomenal job of convincing people that she's sugar and spice when she's really venom and claws. Jenny and eventually Seth are the only ones who see her for what she is and they are determined to stop her!
Then we get to our big finale...the climax of our story and the part where Isalys's (yes, I'm referring to myself in third person) palms start sweating, my eyes are bugging out of my head and my heart is about ready to burst. I'm reading the e-book so I've got my iPad in a death grip as I try to take it all in. The bad guys think they're good, the good guys do bad things and it's all chaos and mayhem. J.L. Bryan took the mind-fuckery to EPIC proportions.
And then, just when you think that this story is over, J.L. Bryan takes us for a little mythological ride with a taste of the backstory about why Jenny, Seth, and Ashleigh have those (particular) abilities.
*headdesk* To quote my own comment on Smash's Goodreads page: "I just finished Jenny Pox and I need a drink OR a hug OR a drink while being hugged."
Go read it. Now!
WARNING: The characters may be young adult, but there is some very mature content/scenes. Suggested for 18+ readers.