Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jinx by Meg Cabot

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 262

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Summary: The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just . . . Jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she's thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she's halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she's caused back in her small hometown. 
But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it's causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she's sure Jinx is going to reveal. 
Jinx is beginning to realize it isn't just bad luck she's been running from. It's something far more sinister . . . and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life. 

I have been a Meg Cabot fan since I was eleven years old and I first picked up a little pink book calledThe Princess Diaries. She's fun, her characters are usually full of pop culture references, and the stories fall on the lighter side without sacrificing quality. Jinx was next on the list to read because ever since my sister read it, she's been talking about how much she liked it and how I should read it. Also, I thought it was the only young adult Meg Cabot book I had yet to read. I was wrong, I still have to read How to Be Popular, but I own that and I was taking books out from the library, so Jinx it was.
One of the aspects of Meg Cabot books that I enjoy is that the locations seldom branch out from three places: New York City, Indiana, and Florida (an exception being the Mediator series, which takes place in California. But the main character, Suze, is from New York). Even if the book does not take place in one of these three places, the characters have something to do with one of the three places. They're all places that Cabot herself has lived. I like that she writes what she knows. In Jinx, the story centers around Jinx Honeychurch, a girl that moves from Indiana to New York City in the last month of her sophomore year in high school. There is a specific reason for this that is continually referred to but not elaborated on at first.
Jinx Honeychurch is a classic Meg Cabot heroine--strongly principled, can sometimes be the object of mockery at the hands of more "popular" kids, and quite unaware when it comes to the opposite sex. I loved that Jinx wasn't afraid to be herself--even if it meant being totally naive in front of a bunch of native New Yorkers. After tasting a Long Island iced tea for the first time and spitting it out all over an attractive boy, she is teased by her cousin. Rather than try to excuse what happened, Jinx merely exclaims, "I've never been to Long Island!" She isn't a native New Yorker, so she doesn't pretend to be. Jinx is completely genuine. Even with her own naivete and the tendency for her cousin to maliciously tease her, Jinx never backs down from her convictions. Even when it becomes a threat to her social life, and more importantly, her safety.
I think Jinx might have the darkest plot I've ever read in a Meg Cabot book, even considering the fact that it was still a very light read. I was surprised that Jinx's cousin Tory (or "Torrance" as she kept demanding to be called) actually attempted to kill her in order to take control of the powers that she thought she deserved. I thought the plot had been chugging along on the slightly-predictable-yet-still-totally-enjoyable track when suddenly that happened. Nice curve ball, Cabot.
The romantic aspect of the book was predictable. The way Zack and Jinx got together actually reminded me a bit of how Michael and Mia's relationship came to be in The Princess Diaries. Jinx thought he could never like her, it was clear that he did, he humored her ignorance for a little while, and eventually they ended up in a relationship. Pretty normal. I liked that the lead up to their relationship did not overtake the story; this is very clearly supposed to be a supernatural book, not just a love story with supernatural leanings. Their growing friendship/relationship was also one of the things that pushed Tory over the edge, so it wasn't completely on the side of the supernatural plot.
One thing that I did find slightly lacking was the whole thing where Jinx is supposed to be just that--jinxed. I didn't really see too much bad luck around her, which was a shame because the reasoning behind it was actually really cool--that she was creating her own bad luck by denying her true self. I just think it would have been more important if she had actually be surrounded by bad luck. The only thing I can recall is the fact that she almost got run over by a bike messenger, and that was in order to save Zack from a similar fate. I could have used more bad luck to justify the whole name thing. That being said, I absolutely loved that everyone called her Jinx. I thought that was a way better name than Jean. If I were her, I would have kept the nickname.
Overall, Jinx was a fun paranormal read with some twists that even I, avid Meg Cabot reader, did not expect. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 - good.

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