Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by: Amy Belason and Jacob Osborn

Hell hath no fury like a JAP scorned...

Total: Ugh. I can't even rate this it was so heartbreakingly terrible. You want me to? Well, hey, since you asked so nicely. 0.5, maybe?

When I selected this book from Chapters, I had a good feeling. I'd read a couple great five-star reviews for it on Amazon, some other bloggers liked it, it's set in Canada - specifically la belle provence, Quebec. Why not? Also, it was about a teenage girl who becomes a revenge-driven serial killer. The possibilities for an awesometastic review were endless.

I imagined myself slaving away at this very computer, brow glistening with sweat, while typing up an essay-style, four-or-five star review. I would draw comparisons to the teenage generation's morbid fascination with crime and how TV shows like Dexter, CSI, Criminal Minds and the like were bringing murder to the masses and making it commonplace - sometimes even boring.

Then I started reading this book and just about barfed.

For one, all the characters fit nicely into stereotypes. Plot points are easily predicted. It reads like a mis-match of books and shows I've already read or watched.

Two: Jenny's justifications for murder were positively shallow. I never thought someone could make murder seem so vapid.

Number three: It's set in Montreal, a notably bilingual city. Occasionally, Jenny (in her downright annoying "like," "totally," and "killer," voice) complains about all the French. IN MONTREAL EVERYTHING IS WRITTEN IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH. Hello? Second of all, why doesn't anyone else speak French? And why do they speak "French" French? People in Montreal and Quebec City speak Quebecer French!*

Lastly, she says "C'est cool," a lot. It's cool? Really? Wouldn't you just say "Cool"? God, Jenny is annoying.

The only thing that was decent was the ending. Spare yourself the migraine and just skip to the Epilogue.

*Basically just French slang. Not like formal, taught-in-an-American-classroom French.


Bookworm said...

Yeah, this one didn't look too good. Link exchange?

Tempestt said...

I had heard so many mixed reviews on this one. I love how you reviewed it, you said it plain and simple, it's a miss. I love the "just about to barf" part,lol, a really bad book can do it to you sometimes. :)

Book Chic said...

Aww, I'm sorry you didn't like the book. I loved it and found it hard to put down. Great review though and glad that you wrote about it honestly, if a bit brutally so.

The Story Siren said...

let me just say that i loved this review.

"Then I started reading this book and just about barfed."

that is just classic!

jocelyn said...

Jenny is a superficial stereotype. Her reasons for murder are stupid and shallow. I don't know anything about Montreal so I can't comment there. But, mostly, I agree with what you said--yet I really enjoyed this book! I guess I just took it differently than you did. I felt like Jenny was that way on purpose. I felt like this book was sort of poking fun at itself, if that makes an sense. However, not sharing that opinion, I can see why you'd hate it so much. If I'd thought this book was taking itself seriously, well, I'd probably have wanted to barf as well. Interesting.

By the way--I just discovered your blog, and I'm really enjoying your reviews!

Gabbi said...

Okay. Wow. I REALLY should insert that "barfing" comment into every review. It seems to be a surefire way to get comments!

Here's my reply to all your comments, guys.

Bookworm: Sure. Link exchange sounds good.

Tempestt: I'm just a simple girl, that's a fact. Have any of you guys read a book that made your barf?

Book Chic: I'm sorry, too. I, like Tempestt, had read some truly positive reviews for this book and was excited for reading it. However, like you said, I would never edit a review because it goes against the common opinion.

(sometimes i edit a review because i usually write them CRAZY early on weekends and they don't make any sense.)

Story Siren: What can I say? It's my new catchphrase apparently. ;)

Jocelyn: Thanks for your lovely, lengthy comment! I'm enjoying your comments, too!

Yes, I understand this was supposed to be darkly comic. Frankly, there isn't any other way to write a book about a spoiled brat who becomes a serial killer, now is there? However, Jenny's validations for killing were, to put it simply, cruel. The whole "charming murderer" thing is very en vogue now (coughDEXTERcough) but even Hanibal Lector gave more sensible reasons for killing. :P

Jacob said...

As co-author of this book, I'm sorry that you found it so unrewarding, and I can say with assurance that it was definitely intended as a very dark comedy/satire (think Heathers or American Psycho, whereas we weren't introduced to Dexter until after our book was finished).

In regards to Jenny's motives, I agree that they aren't necessarily justified (murder rarely is), but I wouldn't call them entirely shallow either. After all, these guys were doing some pretty heinous stuff, including rape, exploitation, and conspiracy to commit mass murder.

Compared to the two influences I mentioned above (Heathers and American Psycho), I find that Jenny's reasoning is rather grounded, although as the novel progresses her intent to kill does end up overpowering and perverting her intent to uphold justice.

Again, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book more. I do like your writing style (I would've liked it even more if it were about someone else's book!), and I'd love to receive a positive review from you one day.

Thank you for reading!