What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book is about a nice girl who is a witch -- and a mean girl who thinks she is one. Jinx may be a "bad luck magnet" but she has a strong moral center and
keeps trying to do what's right, and her story imparts a good
underlying message about being yourself. There is an apparent suicide attempt, an attempted bloodletting, and a stalking (thanks to a love spell gone bad). Jean and her boyfriend share kisses that she feels "all the way to my toes." Also, Tory drinks and takes Ritalin and Valium and the au pair shares a bed with her boyfriend.
What's the story?
When Jean -- nicknamed Jinx because she's a bit of a bad-luck magnet -- moves from Iowa to her aunt's house in New York City (all readers initially know is that she was being "stalked" back home), she immediately gets off on the wrong foot with her beautiful -- but mean -- cousin Torrance. The tension only escalates when Torrance confronts Jean, saying that she knows they are both the witches foretold by family legend -- and that they should use their powers to "rule the school." When Jean denies her powers, Torrance unleashes a series of cruel punishments meant to torment and humiliate her cousin (think headless rat in the locker). Jean needs to decide if she should use the magic she promised not to in order to fight back.
Is it any good?
JINX is filled with familiar but fun elements. There aren't a lot of surprises -- readers will recognize stock characters and will expect the ultimate conclusion in which Jean must learn to accept her true self. The only eye-opener is how creepy and violent the girls' final confrontation is. But the set-up is enticing enough and in the end, there is enough drama here -- some of it magical and some merely mean-spirited -- to make this book satisfying if not spellbinding.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how this book compares to other Meg Cabot books. Why does her writing resonate well with tweens and teens?
Talk about the girl friendships here. How does Torrance's "coven" resemble a typical mean girl clique?