Jenny Pox - J.L. Bryan Jenny Morton is for all the world a normal girl. Except she's not, not even a little bit. Jenny can't ever touch another person or living creature without killing them of disease. The book opens on a very young Jenny having the "don't touch anyone" rule being reiterated by her father. She had picked up a snake that had erupted in disease and died on contact. A fairly minor incident with kids on the playground leading in only a breakout of some sort of pox, but no death leads us to where the bulk of the book takes place. Jenny is now 18 and wears long sleeves, long pants, and gloves at all times in public. This reduces her risk of touching anyone at all, but has earned her the cruel nickname: Jenny Mittens.

Jenny's biggest enemy is a girl named Ashleigh. Ashleigh is also 18, she is active in her church, running an abstinence program, is captain of the cheerleaders, is running for class president, and is generally loved by everyone who comes into contact with her. When it comes to Jenny, however, Ashleigh has a dark and cruel side, which is helped not at all by the fact that Jenny isn't madly in love with her like the rest of the town.

Things get a little better for Jenny when she's going for a run, and meets up with Seth, Ashleigh's boyfriend, over the broken body of her dog - which had been hit by a car. Jenny discovers that she can touch Seth and they strike up a friendship. The obvious happens, and they fall in love, leading Ashleigh to hate Jenny even more. This "school girl rivalry" is brought to an epic height in the ending of the novel, but you'll just have to read it to find out what that is.

One of the best parts of this novel? People actually die. We're not talking tame-ass young adult, "oh no they died, we're so sad," kind of death. We're talking people melting and exploding and bleeding profusely. They die horribly, and it is wonderful. It's a story about a girl who brings death with her touch, it's nice that the author doesn't shy away from the kind of reality that it would bring. It's actually one of the only times in the novel that the gender of the author shines. It's strange to find a male author that does YA fantasy like this well. Fuck, it's strange to find a female author that does YA fantasy of this sort well. There's something about the "Paranormal" genre (which I think was made up for marketing piss-poor fantasy romances, but that's a whole different rant) that usually drives me crazy. It was really, really, nice to read one that was not only a good novel, but a good novel where the romance is secondary to the meat of the mythology created for the series. I love a good Fantasy YA novel, and I think this was it.