Friday, May 4, 2012
Jenny Green’s Killer Junior Year
Amy Belasen & Jacob Osborn
Simon Pulse, 2008
January 18th, 2012
Genre: School Story, Horror, Crime
Description: Jenny Green, a self-proclaimed JAP-Jewish American Princess (aka rich and spoiled), just finished a horrific sophomore year. A hot senior was ready to ask her to prom when her best friend swooped in and got him to ask her instead. Dissatisfied, she convinces her parents to send her to a boarding school in Montreal, Canada, for a fresh start. She has no trouble getting guys interested in her but when she realizes all boys—no matter who they like—are despicable, lying bastards she decides to make them pay . . . with their lives.
Opinion: I really, really had high hopes for this book. The cover features a school girl clad girl with a large butcher knife and the book was marketed as a female teen Dexter. However, it fell flat in numerous ways. Jenny is a character I felt no sympathy for at all. She is rich, spoiled, and a liar like the boys she hates in the first place (which does beg to question whether the senior who was going to ask her to prom ever really way or if it was all in her conceited little head). She convinces her parents to send her to the boarding school that an old crush she hasn’t seen in years is attending (can we say Felicity syndrome here?). She cheats on her entrance exam to get accepted and then moves into a dorm house with the “hippies and weirdos”. Her (only) friend, Chloe, is the most sympathetic character—a girl just realizing that she might be a lesbian who actually likes Jenny until she begins to see a serial killer in her roommate. Basically the plot starts going when Jenny runs into Jeremy (the old crush) on the street and he totally recognizes her (really—they haven’t seen each other since junior high?). They start dating and Jenny sleeps with him, loosing her virginity. He then begins acting like a total jerk and tries to rape her at one point in which she accidentally kills him in self-defense with her other roommate’s glass bong. Instead of reporting it, she hides the evidence and stages a suicide by pushing his body out of an old clock tower on campus. After that the killing becomes easier and easier for her—a drug dealer who humiliates her is next followed by a boy who gives her ex-best friend (who is visiting with other classmates) attention, followed by a troubled student who wants to shoot people (but hey, she’s actually saving lives here by killing him!), and when the jig is almost up she actually kills her literature professor who makes the moves on her. Jenny is a despicable character. One minute she’s moralizing about how she’s saving other girls from bad guys and the next she’s worried about her designer clothes. The novel also tries to incorporate too many “problem” novel elements and then leaves half of them unexplored—most of which are given jokey treatment even though they are serious issues, such as sex, rape, lesbianism, and cutting (which Jenny does all of a sudden now that she is a murderer). She isn’t moral at all—when her ex best friend visits and gets the attention from Bobby she sees him slip roofies into her friend’s drink and decides that’s what she deserves for stealing my prom date from me! When she finally seems to have found love it turns out the boy was just using her until his old girlfriend took him back and in a jealous rage she tries to frame the murder of the depressed student on his old girlfriend (which proves to be her downfall). In the end, the police seem to be on her trail but she still escapes and heads back to America. Here is a selfish girl who committed five murders and she gets away with it without any consequences (except maybe some of those designer clothes getting all bloody). This book is also for older readers as there are many instances of sex—most of it unprotected, drinking, lots of drug use (the hippies), and very vivid (they made me uncomfortable) descriptions of various sex acts, including losing her virginity, having an orgasm, and going down on a guy while doing something so disgusting with the fingers of her other hand that she ends up losing a ring in the process (use your imagination—or rather don’t because it’s disgusting!). There is also a major language issue and just a horrible main character in general. The story had the potential to be an awesome teen spin on Dexter but with a vapid, selfish, unmoral main character it turned out to be utter trash I don’t even understand how it ever got published in the first place.