November 13, 2007

Book Review: Jinx by Meg Cabot

Jean is known by her family as Jinx because bad luck seems to follow her wherever she goes. It is back luck that has lead Jinx to move to New York. She is running away from some trouble she believes she has brought on herself. Is it just bad luck or something else?

Jean moves in with her aunt and uncle and cousins, including similar-aged Torry. Jean remembers Torry as being a fun childhood companion, but this new Torry looks and acts completely different. She dresses all in black, takes drugs, and is convinced she is a witch. After Jinx saves the life of hot neighbor Zach by pushing him out of the way of a car, Torry believes Jinx is also a witch. But that's ridiculous, right?

When Jinx refuses to join her coven and catches the eye of Zach, who has been a long-time crush of Torry's, it starts a war between the cousins.

While I appreciate Meg Cabot and everything she has done for young adult readers, this book really got on my nerves. I am tired of stupid protagonists. It was hard for me to sit and listen to Jinx let her cousin repeatedly walk all over her. In addition, it was clear from early on that Zach had a crush on Jinx, but she keeps thinking he has a crush on the au pair, Petra, who lives with Jinx's aunt and uncle. It isn't until the end of the book that Jinx finally stands up for herself and admits that she is special.

You might remember I had a similar reaction to the book Haters by Alisa Valdez-Rodriguez. That book was also about a female that had special powers (intuition and spirit ancestors) and also had a jealous female after her. Both girls had spiritual guides encouraging them to embrace their abilities to avoid danger. Like Jinx, Paski seemed to let people walk all over her, even though she was supposed to be this strong biker chick. I would have liked Jinx to have a little more attitude. Maybe the book wouldn't have had the same conflict, but it certainly would have made her more interesting to listen to. I would like to see authors draw strong female characters that have character and don't take no flack.

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