Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jinx by Meg Cabot

Jean Honeychurch is cursed.  She's knows she's cursed because she was born during a supercell storm, she's always finding new ways to hurt herself, and she has to move from Iowa to her aunt and uncle's house in New York City to escape her stalker.  She's doubly cursed because of the stupid nickname her rotten luck has garnered her: Jinx.  But when she gets to New York, her cousin Tory corners her with an old family legend-- they're descended from a real witch who was burned at the stake hundreds of years ago, and Tory is convinced they've both inherited her powers.  Jinx just wants to focus on fitting in at her new school and on her crush (and Tory's), the boy next door, Zach.  But Tory won't give up, and soon Jinx unwittingly finds herself locked in psychological and magical warfare with her cousin.  Just her luck.

This book is a fun, light read, much in the vein of Meg Cabot's other work.  The characters are incredible.  Jean is a total fish-out-of-water, and her confusion and frustration with NYC and its people are both sympathetic and funny. The conflict between her and Tory starts out as a simple crazy relative clash, but soon escalates to a full-on battle of wits, before making a sharp turn into the genuinely scary.  I envied her "just-a-friendship" with Zach-- anyone would love to be just-friends with such a sweet and funny guy that you can understand why she continues to hang out with him in spite of being convinced that he's got a crush on their au pair, Petra.  And as per usual for a Cabot novel, Jinx fails to notice how requited her crush on Zach is till the very end (but trust me, that's not a spoiler, because we all know it from the page he shows up on).  It's a good stand-alone novel-- a tight, coherent story that leaves you split between wanting more and not wanting to disturb them any further. One little niggle I had at the beginning was that Jean seemed to know a little too much about witchcraft for someone who claims to not want to have anything to do with it-- of course, there turns out to be a reason for this, but I feel like that hint could have been handled a little more smoothly.  Aside from that, I highly recommend this book-- pick it up for some fun summer reading!

You can read the first 54 pages on the HarperTeen website. (And you can finish out Chapter Six--which the preview ends in the middle of--at Meg Cabot's website)


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