Review by Jackie
by Jennifer Bosworth
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (January 12, 2016)
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"I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy."
Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.
She's haunted by a violent tragedy she can't explain. Kenna's past has kept people-even her own mother-at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she's plunged into a new nightmare: her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.
On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she's capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere; that her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something menacing lurking underneath its idyllic veneer. And she begins to suspect that her new family may have sinister plans for her...
“I’ll be here when you wake, so you won’t be afraid to dream alone. To dream alone” (ARC).
Let me tell you a quick little something about how I like my creepy. I like it cold, served with kisses that taste a whole lot like danger. I like it when I see every single terrible part of what makes the antagonist so terrifying. I like my creepy with a dash of cinnamon (so I can feel the burn) and a little bit of maple syrup (so that I can taste the fear in the November leaves).
THE KILLING JAR by Jennifer Bosworth gave me creepy in moderation, and with a book title like THE KILLING JAR I have to say I expected a little more.
The story begins with death. Kenna has a secret, and as she learns more about her own dark past she delves deeper into her family history and what it really means to bear her last name, as well as the consequences that come with it. Kenna killed a boy when she was a child, and because of it she is not allowed to touch anyone, or allow anyone to touch her, for fear of taking their life as well.
In all honesty, there wasn’t a specific aspect of the book that I was entirely opposed to. I wasn’t a fan of Kenna. Or her mom. Or the boy Kenna sort of has a crush on. Or that other boy that Kenna sort of has a crush on. The overall character building felt. . . hollow. And I suppose because I wanted to love it with all my teen-angsty-ness, that when it fell short I just lost interest.
The plot of THE KILLING JAR was not fast-moving. It wasn’t slow-moving. It was juuuust right. And this, my friends, is what saved it from being a two-star novel.
I feel like this should have totally been my kind of novel. I wish it was fleshed out a little more. I want to know the characters a little more and know the reasons behind what they’re doing. Not save it all for a grand-final last minute thing.
I suppose you’re wondering what it was that I did like. The grandmother. I love her. I can’t say pretty much anything about her, but I feel like she was the character that was most explored and the association and creep-factor with her just just stellar. (Can I have a novella just on her back story? I would so buy that.)