Seriously? I Read That?

Review: Jenny Green’s Killer Junior Year

Posted on: January 14, 2009

The incomplete sentence summary: Boarding school, killer bongs, hairy under arms, a stained futon, Long Island accents, designer clothing sales, deadly icicles, and the exhilaration of revenge.

Jenny Green’s Killer Junior Year by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborne is a sometimes funny, generally captivating revenge tale narrated by Jenny Green, the teenaged killer, herself. Readers are privy to Jenny’s innermost thoughts through out the book, from the mundane–dieting and wardrobe woes– to the decidedly creepy thoughts of death and murder.

Jenny Green is bored of her Long Island life. A self appointed Jewish American Princess (JAP) reeling from the latest round of high school humiliation and misery, Jenny decides to leave it all behind and start over in a new school, in a new place, with new faces. And what better place to start over than a boarding school way up north in Montreal, the very same boarding school her middle school crush, Josh Beck, attends? But along with a fresh start, Jenny also finds that not all experiences with the opposite sex are the stuff of romance novels. After her first accidental taste of murder and fed up with the lying, cheating ways of the males in her life, Jenny decides to take her revenge on those that have hurt her.

I really, really wanted to love this book. I did enjoy it, and it turned out to be an entertaining read, but it sure wasn’t “love”. The beginning was a little slow and I kept wondering when the killing would begin. That sense of anticipation is what kept me reading to find out who would make Jenny’s list of victims.

The killings are not very graphic, as Jenny is narrating and hates the sight of blood. Jenny’s thoughts are the creepiest thing about the book, though the creepiness factor is pretty fairly balanced with humor.

So what’s not to like? Jenny’s character took quite a while to grow on me. Through a good portion of the book I didn’t really care about her until all of a sudden I found myself rooting for her. It surprised me because up until that point I saw her as little more than a spoiled brat; a stereotype of a wealthy teenage girl. Thankfully, Jenny grows somewhat, and moves beyond her initial flatness.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the supporting characters. These characters are not really fully fleshed out. The pessimist in me says the authors chose stereotypes over real characterization. The optimist in me says the authors consciously left the supporting characters (especially Jenny’s victims) one dimensional in order to make them appear more disposable or less real, thus making their murders easier to swallow. Whatever the motivation (or lack thereof) the characters never really reach beyond stereotypes and become full fledged human characters.

Overall, Jenny Green’s Killer Junior Year is an entertaining read with an interesting premise; it’s a dark spin on the ubiquitous teenage dating drama books.

Rating: 3.5 Molsen Export beer bottles out of 5.

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Where else you can find me:

Books That Go Bump in the Night- Halloween and scary books for kids and teens. My other blog.


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