The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
“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…
What I Liked:
That first line of the synopsis is the first line of this book. Creepy, no? It gave me chills! What a way to set the tone, which Bosworth definitely did. This book was intriguing, twisted, and very, very creepy. I still have chills!
Kenna has an ability that no one knows about, except her mother. Not even her twin sister Erin knows about what Kenna can do. It's dangerous, and powerful, and addictive, and Kenna can't control it. One day, Kenna's power manifests in a terrifying and obvious way, and her mother takes her far away from prying eyes into Eclipse, a commune of people in the mountains nearby. It seems like a cult at first, but Kenna flourishes in the new paradise, and begins to see her curse as a gift. But is the paradise really a paradise? How will Kenna choose where to stay?
To be honest, I didn't closely read the synopsis of this book, so I pretty much went in blind. It's been YEARS since I read Struck, and I've had this book added to my TBR since March 2013. So when I saw it available for review, I didn't think twice - I requested a review copy, never mind what the book was actually about. As it would turn out, this book is a creepy paranormal normals that had me in chills from the start.
Kenna has always known that she is different. She did something awful when she was ten, and since then, she's been trying to keep things under control. At Escape, everyone is like her. She learns to control her ability, and to nurture and use it. She's never felt so happy or accepted. But she knows, underneath everything, that something is very wrong. I liked Kenna - she isn't timid or afraid, likely because she's spent her lifetime guarding herself, putting up her armor.
The secondary characters are really well-written as well; Kenna's mother has been hiding Kenna's ability, and it has to do with something in her mother's past. Erin, Kenna's twin sister, has been sick by unknown causes since she was born. Every little bump or fall could break bones. Erin is happy and sunshine-y to Kenna's sullen and sober nature. Then there is Blake, Kenna's neighbor and adorable best friend. He's sweet and kind and confident but not arrogant or alpha-male-y.
Then there are those at Eclipse - Rebekah, the leader; Cyrus, the handsome hippie cowboy/Southern boy. Joanna, who seems to hate Kenna from the start. Everyone welcomes Kenna into Eclipse, but the truth about everything starts to knock on Kenna's door, and from an unexpected source.
The paranormal aspect of this book is twisted and intriguing, but mostly twisted. I don't want to state things specifically, especially since I've been skirting around Kenna's ability (on purpose), but woah. I definitely got a cult vibe, even from the start, when Kenna was swept up by the paradise of it all. Cool place, but... eerie.
Quite possibly one of my favorite things about this books is how QUICKLY I read it. I could believe I was a fourth into the book, halfway through the book, three-fourth finished... then it was over. This book captivated me, had my full attention. This hasn't happened in a while! And by now means is it a tiny book!
The ending is probably everything I expected and hoped for, with the exception of one thing (and I'll get to that below). I am (overall) pleased with the ending, especially for a standalone novel. Bosworth has really told an engrossing and fascinating story about a cult-like group and the paranormal!
What I Did Not Like:
There is an aspect of the ending that I thought would make an appearance, but didn't. I expected what Kenna did when she was ten to come back in the end, in some way. Like, that would come full circle, like an absolution sort of thing, or SOMETHING. I expected that event to circle back somehow. So I was slightly disappointed when it wasn't even mentioned, in the climax or ending. But I suppose that's okay!
Would I Recommend It:
If you like creepy paranormal novels, I highly recommend this one. It's definitely not for everyone (I don't usually read books with a cult aspect, but I didn't even read the synopsis to know about that aspect), and I will say that the romance isn't as *there* as I would have liked (you have to read the book to know what I mean). But still, the book was a very good read, and I'm glad I gave it a shot, after all these years.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I liked this one more than I liked Struck! I can't get over how creepy it was, how I got chills from reading it. It's not SCARY, but it's creepy (if you catch the difference). Worth the read, especially given how fast it reads!
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