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I Belong

Review: The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

Title: The Killing Jar

Author: Jennifer Bosworth

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0374341370 (Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0374341374 (Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Tara


“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

Quick & Dirty: A uniquely creepy paranormal YA novel with a good mystery.

Opening Sentence: I try not to think about it, that time I killed a boy.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Haunted by a history she doesn’t want to remember and a hunger she can’t explain, Kenna Marsden is withdrawn and distant. Playing guitar is the only thing that makes her feel normal. After a man connected with her terrible past hunts down her and her family, her powers fully awaken and she finds herself losing control, reaching to take the life essence from other people. Her mother, who knows about Kenna’s powers, drop her off at a commune filled with others like Kenna so she can learn about her history and what she is.

It’s been a few days since I finished this book and I’m still not sure how I felt about it. It was dark, creepy, and definitely paranormal. The writing wasn’t the best and I really wish more had been explained about the world and the characters. Things that I thought would be important ended up not even playing a role in the later storyline. However, I really liked the coming of age aspect of the book. As for the plot, I think this is one where it’s best to go in blind because of how the mystery unfolds.

I liked Kenna in general. She was a strong-willed character and I loved the juxtaposition between her hunger and her sense of morality. Watching her blossom as she found herself was wonderful. However, I really wasn’t a fan of how she treated the romantic interests. Part of that is probably due to my dislike of love triangles. One love interest I think I would have liked if we had seen more of him. The other was just creepy, however some of that is due to the fact that he was part of the commune.

This book kept me intrigued the entire time. The pacing was just fast and engrossing enough that I found myself unwilling to put the book down, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the story. Some of the reveals toward the end seemed to come from nowhere and I would have liked a lot more details to wrap everything up, especially considering that there won’t be a sequel.

This one would be good for individuals who like paranormal YA and are looking for a different story with some darker undertones.

Notable Scene:

The butterfly beat against the walls of its glass prison until it lost the will to fight and drooped against the bottom like wilted lettuce.

Jason’s empty eyes beamed with excitement then, and fury uncoiled in me like a rising cobra.

He never saw it coming. I grabbed Jason by the wrist and felt something unfurl from my skin, connecting me to him like a shared vein. His mouth opened in a distended O, but he couldn’t scream. I didn’t give him the chance. His life, his essence, a sensation like rising and expanding, like I’d swallowed a sunrise, flooded my body. At the same time, Jason’s color waned from pale to waxy gray and shriveled into a dehydrated shell of mummy skin. The hair fell from his head in hunks. His eyes turned black as underground tunnels and his cheekbones protruded in chalky, white wings.

When he fell, his killing jar hit a rock and glass exploded like brittle fireworks.


FTC Advisory: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan provided me with a copy of The Killing Jar. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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