Saturday, October 1, 2011

REVIEW: Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year (I was not impressed)

Belasen, A., &; Osborn, J. (2008). Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year.  New York:  Simon Pulse.

284 pages.

So, when I first started typing this review, I accidentally put 'yar' instead of 'year.' As though 11th grader, Jenny, had become a pirate. (Note: I would read that book. I may be out of high school, but I'm still looking for ways to transition to a career in piracy.)

Appetizer: After a sucky sophomore year, Jewish American Princess (or--I kid you not--'Jap' as she prefers to use *shudders*) Jenny Green decides to leave her Long Island public school in the hope of finding cooler people and "the one" (AKA Prince Charming) at boarding school.  She has a good idea of who her prince will be:  a boy named Josh who had transfered previously.

Jenny settles into Molson Academy, navigates having to live in a house of artists/hippies, finds a friend, orchestrates running into her prince, finds a way to cheat in her AP calc class, considers losing her virginity and flirts with her favorite professor.

But all is not perfect.

She starts to realize that Josh may not be as wonderful as she thought he was and after he drunkenly attacks her, Jenny will have to do things she'd never considered before:  become a killer.

But what starts out as self-defense, quickly evolves to murder as other men wrong her.

I wouldn't say I *hated* this book.  I could say I disliked it.  But, I think saying I didn't get it would be gentler.  From the first page, I hated Jenny.  She was shallow and judgmental.  So, when she started killing other characters, with seemingly almost no regret, I was not inclined to care.

Eventually guilt and potential consequences do present themselves, but by then, I was just reading to get the book done.

On top of that, the book repeatedly refers to 9-11 and a potential school shooting at Molson to explain some of Jenny's choices and to imply that the crazy-screwed-up world is somehow contributing to her choices.  While I appreciate the effort to show the subtle pressures influencing Jenny, my reaction as I was reading was just to say "WTF?!  What the heck is this doing in this book?!"  I felt like Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year was attempting to make some cultural or feminist commentary, but I just failed to follow it.

Oh, and this book is supposedly humorous.

I didn't find it very funny.

Was I missing something?

Also, aside from the killing, there are also a handful of pretty sexually explicit scenes.

Dinner Conversation:

"'Twas the end of a long and bitter sophomore year. 'Twas. I just really wanted to use that word. I promise I won't use it again; this ain't Dickens. Seriously, though, sophomore year totally sucked. I broke my toe and couldn't be in the school production of Grease, Doug Lapidus took a picture of a huge zit on my nose and broadcast it on Facebook, and that bitch Veronica Cohen stole my prom date Mark Leibowitz" (p. 3).

"Still, none of my experiences in high school could have prepared me for the utter lameness of the guys I'd soon meet in boarding school. I repeat, and seriously, feel free to scribble this somewhere while you're reading: None of my experiences in high school could have prepared me for the utter lameness of the guys I'd soon meet in boarding school. Pretty please, keep this in mind before you blame me for everything that happens in the next however many pages" (pp. 5-6).

"It proved fairly easy to track down Josh Beck.  Some random girl knew him and said he was usually at the school gym around five.
Okay, I'm totally gonna sound like a stalker now, but I basically camped outside the gym until I spotted Josh." (p. 41)

"Memories flooded my feeble mind--memories of 9/11.  My family and I were supposed to go into the city the night before to watch a Broadway play and stay at a hotel.  It was a tradition.  We called them "Green Apple Nights," and Daddy let us take off from school and everything.
Anyway, Daddy had a friend in the towers that we were going to visit the morning of 9/11, and the only reason it didn't happen is because Abby got food poisoning and everything was canceled.  Daddy's friend died in the attacks.  It took me years to recover from the fact that I, too, almost died that day.  And here death was again, knocking on the door but not coming inside.  It chilled me to my core.  What the F was up with September?" (p. 53)

"I wanted to get away with it.  Beneath the anger and the self-defense lay something primal, something pleasurable even.  As I'd watched Josh squirm, a feeling came over me I can only describe now as empowerment.  Watching this creep die suddenly filled me with a force I'd never known myself to possess.  It was all mine.  I was Supergirl" (p. 68)

Tasty Rating:  !!


  1. Sounds like it should have been more successful as a farce or satire....

  2. Exactly! I'm forcing a friend to read check if it was just me.



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