Jinx, by Meg Cabot, narrated by Amber Sealey
What's in a name? Apparently everything for Jean Honeychurch, AKA Jinx, because she truly is cursed by a history of accidents, clumsiness and messes. When a stalker refuses to leave her alone, her parents send her from their rural Iowa home to live with her wealthy, sophisticated New York City relatives. There she attends private school with her cousin Tory, Tory's friends, and handsome neighbor Zach. Jinx adapts well to everything in her new environment except the drugs, alcohol and witchcraft that are the focus of Tory and her friends' lives. When Tory learns that Jinx has supernatural gifts and invites her to join her coven, Jinx refuses, angering Tory who plots revenge for the insult. Jinx is befriended by neighbor Zach who shows her New York City and helps her adjust to her new school and new family. Jealous of Zach's attention to Jinx, Tory becomes even more vindictive and vengeful. Sex, drugs, money, belief in magic and mental instability create a dangerous mix for Tory as her behavior spirals out of control placing Jinx in mortal danger.
Meg Cabot has combined a fantastic witch's brew of opposites and created a satisfying concoction. Jinx personifies innocence, goodness, kindness, generosity, and naivety, while Tory is sophisticated, cruel, and selfish. Zach's friendship for Jinx enriches her life, while Tory's friendships are destructive. Spiritualism is dealt with in a way that is not offensive or threatening, in contrast to the Black Magic Tory and her friends try to practice. Meg Cabot is a master at seeing the world from the teenager's perspective and then creating a tale that builds on the positive while acknowledging the negative.
Jinx is written for a teenage audience
but it can be enjoyed by adult listeners, too. The story line
holds the listener's interest with its moments of suspense
and violence, but the more fascinating aspect of this story
is Jinx's awareness and acceptance of her gifts. Tory's behavior
becomes so deviant that listeners wonder if her parents will
ever forgive her, much less love and support her. But here
Cabot proves why she is such a successful young adult author.
Her unexpected conclusion will please both adult and adolescent
listeners. Jinx is recommended both as an entertaining
story and as a conversation starter for teenagers, their friends
and their parents.