Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, Book 1)

Rated 4.17/5 based on 18 reviews
Jenny was born with a curse—-she infects anyone she touches with a lethal supernatural plague. She’s spent her life avoiding contact with everyone, but her life is about to change. As she finds her first love, she also discovers another girl in her small town has a supernatural touch more sinister than Jenny's.

Jenny doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but the horror within her has urges of its own... More
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About JL Bryan

J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on English Renaissance and Romantic period literature. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina and assorted pets.


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Trailer for Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan Video created by Rosie Jane Shepherd: Find her on vimeo: On Twitter: @frecklypeach

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Review By: peapodsa
Jenny Pox Review by DeannaReads
My thoughts and opinions on the book Jenny Pox.

Review by: Victoria Zigler on Aug. 07, 2018 :
This was a weird and kind of creepy story. I didn't think it was totally amazing, but I did really enjoy it, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
(review of free book)

Review by: LorreF on July 25, 2016 :
WOW! I loved this book!

I discovered J.L. Bryan through Inferno Park that I got as a freebie on Amazon and I loved it so much I wanted to read more of this author.
Jenny Pox has everything I loved about Inferno Park... an amazing story full of suspence and unexpected twists that drew me in and captivating charachters that I can't help but love (or hate in Ashleigh's case).

Again, WOW!
(review of free book)

Review by: chucklesthescot on Oct. 29, 2014 :
So lets start as always with the good. Jenny is a decent MC and you feel sympathy for her situation. She can maim and kill by touching people so she keeps distant from everyone at school to protect them from her curse. One day she gets bullied and touches a girl in front of witnesses who see the ugly welts she causes, earning her the nickname Jenny Pox. Jenny struggles to hug her dad or even befriend a dog in case she kills by accident. I liked her and I liked the 'pox' storyline, which was a bit different but I thought having the cliche story of the MC being bullied by the beautiful school uberbitch did spoil the plot, turning something new into something we'd seen a hundred times before. It's something that does get on my nerves in YA books. And the bitches were just evil in this case with no redeeming qualities.

I finally started to lose interest when the inevitable romance element was being introduced. I know that teen romance is going to feature heavily in most YA/NA paranormal after the success of Twilight, but I'm just getting a bit bored by that type of book all the time. Jenny needs a friend so having someone who has a similar type of ability was good, but seriously, guys and girls can be friends without a love element! It might be nice to see that for a change! Seth, as a character was a bit bland and boring, even when he is playing hero for Jenny and I never really felt a chemistry or anything between them. The romance felt there for the sake of it instead of natural. Most of the other characters I just didn't like.

I have read in reviews on Goodreads that graphic sex and drug taking are also in the book but to be honest, I didn't really get that far into the story so I can't comment. This book was marketed to me as being YA, it is highly listed on Goodreads as YA yet I just noticed as I write this review that it carries an 18 restriction-so I guess it isn't meant to be YA at all. Huh. It just wasn't going to be my kind of book anyway.
(review of free book)

Review by: candi davenport on July 26, 2013 :
I really liked it first until the author started demonizing Christianity. That made me sad. Also, one sex sceen was uncalled for. Would have been a good story other than that.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jay Dee on Feb. 20, 2013 :
Highly enjoyed this. I had trouble putting it down! Looking forward to reading the others in the series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Maureen McCormick on Feb. 03, 2013 :
What can I say - this is an EXCELLENT book! Even though it's under "Young Adult," all ages can appreciate this absorbing story. I'm 51 and loved it.

I will order the succeeding books to see where the adventure continues.
(review of free book)

Review by: Auttie on July 18, 2012 :
i found this book to be surprisingly good. it got confusing and grusum at times but it is a good read. but if you are not a fan of graphic things, dont get it.
(review of free book)

Review by: Books4Tomorrow Reviews on May 12, 2012 :
I’ll come straight out and say it. This book blew me away. The first time I came across it on Amazon’s free downloads, I read the blurb and wasn’t impressed. Needles to say, I didn’t even bother downloading it. A few weeks later, one of my colleagues at work raved about this book and pretty much begged me to download it. Begrudgingly I did, and because said colleague and I share the same taste in certain genres of books, I started reading it right away.

The first thing that impressed me about “Jenny Pox” is how remarkably well author J.L. Bryan portrays his characters – each shaped with a true-to-life personality. The two main female leads are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum – one perfectly good and the other perfectly evil. It’s been a long while since I came across an antagonist whom I hated as passionately as I did this one.

But let me backtrack a little here. This book has three main characters, each with an extraordinary paranormal power and all of them with different back stories. My first impression when I read the blurb was that this was going to be another standard YA novel with loads of teenage angst and soppy romance. Four chapters into the book I could already tell that this was not going to be the case at all.

Jenny is a fantastic character! I loved her right from the start. Her “power” is such an inimitable and unusual one. She spent most of her life fearing and hiding it, but once she takes control of it, she kicks some serious butt. Ashleigh, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Jenny. She’s rich, popular, shockingly manipulative, and has a power I think most of us would kill to have. Yet, she uses hers for evil. She is one of those antagonists you just love to hate. J.L. Bryan did an outstanding job pitting these two girls’ strengths and weaknesses against each other, whilst at the same time making it easy for the reader to root for one and despise the other.

Of course Seth also needs a mention here. At first I didn’t know what to make of his character – should I love him or hate him? Another few chapters into the book, I decided I definitely like him; especially after I came to that part in the book about his one-of-a-kind power and how he uses it to save lives. Not only that, he’s also really nice, handsome, caring, rich, nice, handsome…..oh sorry, got carried away.

“The Paranormals” is an addictive new series which I will be enthusiastically raving about for months to come! I already got books two and three in this series long before I was half way through the first. Take my word for it. Once you’ve read the first book in this superhot new series, you won’t be able to resist reading anything written by J.L. Bryan.
(review of free book)

Review by: Amanda R. on Feb. 02, 2012 :
This book was GREAT! I enjoyed Jenny and Seth's story. It had good and evil (Ashley), gore and action. The characters were great. Some of the scenes were a little more YA than I thought they would be but that only added to the story. Definitely will re-read this book in the future.
(review of free book)

Review by: David Hoyt on Jan. 19, 2012 :
Wonderful series. I had to wait between books; otherwise I probably would have read the entire series in on sitting. There may be more in the series, but it may also continue. The first and third are the best. The second is quite good.

I understand the current pricing marketing. A lost leader followed by sold books. I've also bought many books because the cost of any single order is cheaper than two books from Amazon. Still, authors like these deserve better rewards for the quality of their works.
(review of free book)

Review by: Amanda R. on Oct. 26, 2011 :
This was a great book! Not sure how young adult it is since there were some scenes that made me blush. I enjoyed it and can't wait to move on to Tommy Nightmare!
(review of free book)

Review by: Marlene S. on Oct. 09, 2011 :
This is such a great book. I've read it months ago and I'm always thinking about it.
(review of free book)

Review by: Marlene S. on Oct. 09, 2011 :
This is such a great book. I've read it months ago and I'm always thinking about it.
(review of free book)

Review by: Claire Rooney on March 31, 2011 :
A writer I follow on twitter linked me to an Amanda Hocking blog post, which in turn linked me to this book. I'm quite glad that odd chain of events occurred. This was a rather macabre but awesome tale of Jenny Morton, the unfortunate bearer of the "Jenny Pox". Any living thing she touches, dies.

At first Jenny is a wallflower, doing her best to stay out of sight and mind of a rather nasty piece of work named Ashleigh. Ashleigh is all sugar and spice and everything nice to people who can give her what she wants, but anyone on her bad side may very well imagine they've stepped into "hello, this is your life on steroids... in hell". As a thoroughly nasty creature, I spent a great deal of the book wishing she'd get a massive dose of karma. Jenny's emergence as a more confident person put Ashleigh in her place briefly, but even the girl who doesn't fear snakes, spiders and ghosts knows to fear the picture-perfect cheerleader.

The ending is rather gruesome and serves as a declaration of independence for two of the leads, which in turn opens the door for a more proactive sequel, one in which the leads may need to abandon the shackles of normalcy and embrace their natures and pasts if they are to make something worthwhile of their current lives. There is a rather sweet romance running through-out, which affected each of the main characters in profound ways. I can only imagine that the author is an animal lover, because Rocky the dog was quite simply the most inspired choice of catalyst to trigger these changes.

Well worth a look at, and I'll definitely be checking out the sequel.

A few minor niggles were to be had on the ebook version,which had a few formatting errors that occasionally distracted.

I would, personally, not classify this as YA - rather paranormal fantasy or horror fantasy. Even though the novel features teens, there are some rather adult scenes in it.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: KT Grant on March 17, 2011 :
Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan is a self-published young adult that has a great deal of buzz behind it, so much so that Amanda Hocking has praised the book. I also have seen many positive reviews of this book on the blogs I visit. With that in mind, I purchased a copy of Jenny Pox, expecting to read greatness. Unfortunately disappointing isn’t a good enough word to describe Jenny Pox.

Jenny Pox suffers from an incredible concept that cannot deliver, as well as a major lack of depth, one-dimensional characters and motivations that don’t make sense and had me going, “huh?” most of the time. Plus, by having some disturbing and shocking scenes where sex and a large amount of drug use is shown for no reason to further along the story, I can’t help but wonder if the author is trying too hard to keep readers interested. At one point I had to stop reading and almost gagged over a very sexually wretched scene that turned me off where I came close to DNFing. But I carried on, hoping the story would be redeemed. It didn’t happen and I ended up DNFing Jenny Pox regardless.

The title is very appropriate and the only positive thing about this tale. The heroine Jenny is an outcast, not only because she’s poor and has an alcoholic father, but she can’t touch anyone. She has the plague and ended up killing her mother and the doctors and nurses that touched her when she was born. We see early on what Jenny is capable of by handling a snake that dies a violent death.

Years later, Jenny has come to terms with her ability. She wears gloves and long sleeves even in the brutal heat to protect anyone who may come in contact with her. Jenny is an overall sweet girl, although at times rages at the injustice of her life. She has a bully, or more of an enemy, with the very popular, seemingly wholesome and self-righteous Ashleigh. Everyone adores Ashleigh, who teaches abstinence and the Lord’s good word to her fellow students. Ashleigh’s boyfriend Seth, another popular boy who comes from a very rich family that rules of the town, isn’t cruel, but since he’s aligned with Ashleigh, he’s admired. Jenny dislikes Ashleigh as much as she hates Jenny, and makes Jenny’s life miserable at school by calling her the nickname- Jenny Mittens.

Jenny doesn’t really like Seth, until her beloved dog is run over. Seth comes to her aid and heals her dog by placing his hands on it. Seth has the power of healing and can counteract Jenny’s power of sickness and death. Seth is the only one she can touch without gloves, and because of that they fall in love.

Ashleigh finds out that Seth and Jenny have grown close, and since she can’t stand to lose in any situation, she will steal Seth back. Ashleigh also has a power at her fingertips- the power of love. But, she wields this power in evil ways. With one touch she can drug people with love and in turn they end up loving Ashleigh. Since Seth and Jenny know what Ashleigh is capable of, they team up together and try to show their friends and others that Ashleigh is evil. But since Ashleigh is great at being manipulative, she figures out a way to turn everyone against Seth and Jenny. Jenny has had enough, and the girl who has been put down and ridiculed most of her life is sick and tired and decides to show the world what she’s made of.

Jenny Pox has a strong element of Stephen King’s Carrie as well as the movie X-Men. You have characters who have amazing powers that if known about, would most likely be experimented on and used as a weapon. That’s the only highlight of Jenny Pox. Other than that, this is a story that’s so very lacking from beginning to end. The biggest problem is the characters. They come across as flat with no real motivation. Jenny has some spirit and initiative, but her attraction to Seth is laughable. There isn’t enough between them to build upon it. Seth comes in and out of each scene like a soft breeze and one that is very forgettable. As for Ashleigh, can we say cartoonish? Her actions had me rolling my eyes more than a few times. We see her as spoiled, a maniacal bad seed. She has a major lack of well-rounded character traits. At one point I wished Jenny would just give her a hug with no clothes on and take her out so the story would be over sooner than later.

Jenny Pox also suffers from what I call, “everything but the kitchen sink” syndrome. This is when an author will write in as many shocking acts as they can think of from to keep the reader interested. Not only do we have massive amounts of drug use, (oh look! The teens do coke and smoke pot while drinking wine. Tsk tsk.) but the sexual situations are so out there. The one scene I mentioned earlier is so sudden and out of left field that it had WTFckery written all over it. It simply made no sense being there other than to jolt the reader’s sensibilities. And because I couldn’t sympathize or connect with any of the characters, including Jenny, I felt uninvolved and distant by everything that was occurring.

Some may call this supernatural horror that walks a fine line since it’s a young adult, but even with the small town mentality and religious matter than is close to fanatical; I was more dumbed down if anything. I couldn’t say if the ending was where Jenny gave all those people who were cruel to her their just desserts, but I have the feeling if I made it that far, I’d just end up rolling my eyes again like I did the entire time I read. Jenny Pox is one forgettable read that could have been a winner
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

Review by: Alexis on Feb. 14, 2011 :
This book was amazing, start to finish never a dull moment, surprises around ever corner, I loved the way JL Bryan captured how teenage girls think and feel so astoundingly! When I had to put this book down, it was all I could think about wondering when I could sneak in a few more chapters, what was going to happen next, How Jenny was going to deal with the constant bullying and lack of friends, why she had this power to begin with, could she ever find someone to love her for who she was?…..I could keep going! Needless to say I CAN’T WAIT TILL THE SECOND BOOK COMES OUT!!....."That fees good Peter!" lol
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)

Review by: FauxPaw on Jan. 10, 2011 :
Because I write clunky, Fred Flintstone type reviews, I usually say nothing. But the review by mish was so good, and spot on with everything I felt.
I'm especially glad that she (he?) mentioned the sex scenes that were surprisingly adult for teens in a YA novel, no matter how realistic (unfortunately) it may be in real life.
I'm glad there's a Parental Rating: "This book contains content that may not be suitable for young readers 17 and under."
But, all in all, it was indeed everything that mish said in her (his?) review. Fun read for me (a really old "kid").
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)

Review by: mish on Jan. 02, 2011 :
Do you hear that slurping sound? That's me…getting sucked into this book.

The three main characters in this story are Jenny, Seth, and Ashleigh. Each wields a different supernatural power. At first they don't know this about each other but soon they discover each other's secret. Jenny and Seth just want a normal life, but Ashleigh has other plans. Their lives are intertwined more than they realize and eventually Ashleigh's evil intentions are discovered. Jenny and Seth are the only ones who can stop her.

Jenny is the shy loner -- by necessity. She cannot touch anyone without giving them a disgusting pox or even, ya know...killing them. She has to cover her bare skin even in the summer and wear gloves at all times, hence the cruel "Jenny Mittens" nickname her classmates give her. The first couple of chapters set the stage for how Jenny has grown up living a lonely life, never able to touch or be touched without deadly consequences. I did kind of wonder how she could get through grade school unsupervised without being touched (except for the one incident between her and Ashleigh) and her power being discovered, but I decided to go with the flow and assume she was able to do this.

Seth has the opposite power to Jenny. He can heal with his touch. Their powers seem to cancel each other out and he is the only person Jenny can touch. Seth starts out as a bit of a jerk but you soon realize he is not quite himself because of Ashleigh. He turns out to be stand-up guy. Seth actually likes Jenny, and Ashleigh is none too happy about it.

Ashleigh's power is to make people feel for her or love for each other. She is like an evil and selfish cupid. People become her puppets and she uses this power for her own selfish reasons regardless of the consequences to that person. She is the ultimate mean girl: nasty, manipulative, cruel, devious, power hungry, selfish, and vengeful. She has no remorse and no redeemable qualities. Nothing and nobody will get in her way to get what she wants. She is the character you love to hate.

At 103K words, this is a fairly long novel, but it read very quickly as I was totally absorbed by the story. At one point I had to stop to recharge my ereader and I was impatient to get back to it. There were times when there was more description than I would like as I'm more of a dialogue kinda gal, but it still held my interest. This book is labeled horror and for most of the book I didn't really see it that way, but when you get to the Carrie-like climactic scene you can see why it might be considered horror. It was pretty gross, but given Jenny's power of inflicting an instant plague-like disease on people, it makes sense that it played out this way.

The main characters are in high school and much of the story revolves around the school environment so you might take this as a YA book. However, I would probably recommend this book to the older end of the teen audience or adults as it does have quite a bit of casual drug use and a couple of brief sex scenes.

So, overall I thought this was a well-written and absorbing story. There were actually quite a few typos but I was so into the story that they did not distract me like they usually do. If you like stories with superpowers, high school angst, villainous mean girls, a sweet romance, and a dash of the horrific (and don't mind the gross factor), then you might like this one. Oh, and there’s a dog in the story – just icing on the cake! :)
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)

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