Jennifer Strange is your average high school freshman. And I mean that. She’s the girl you were in school, or the girl you were friends with, and NOT the bombshell of a specimen depicted in film or TV. Except now, she’s actually cursed with the power to destroy supernatural beings and is therefore a magnet for them. Pairing this with being dumped off in a new city with her college-age sister and a dad missing in action, you can see just how much her life is starting to suck. This will be author Cat Scully’s debut novel, complete with illustrations.
Jennifer Strange tiptoes to the edge of fantasy territory but jumps back with the sequences of straight up horror and action. It’s an adventurous, supernatural horror teen romp that isn’t sugar coated for Freeform. There’s no stuffy, forced romances or revelations of hotness in here. That shit is toxic to young adults and thankfully, this steers clear of it. What it does help shed light to is familial bonds and the undying, sometimes tumultuous, love of sisters. If you have a sister, ya just know, ya know?
The accompaniment of illustrations (also done by Scully) was such a nice perk, and acted as a strong conceptualization of just how horrific the baddies were to the characters. How the author incorporated them into the actual story was also very clever and appreciated.
This was a story that was really exciting to read. Jennifer was a relatable protagonist with both her speech and inner dialogue with her swearing and general “whatever, carry on” affect. As a 26 year old, was it a bit too adolescent for me? About 40% of the time. But I could relate because hey, I’ve been through teen girl stuff before! I felt like we were just skimming the surface of who Jennifer and her sister, Liz, really were, but who knows? Maybe there’ll be a sequel. I was particularly pleased with the amount of death (spoiler?) in here. Gimme all the horror, all day and night. The amount of described gore is low but the overall body count is primo. I would’ve loved to see those action scenes more fleshed out, simply because there was so many of them and while I got the gist of the moment, I felt there was ample room to build description, and Scully’s imagination would’ve certainly allowed it.
I’d be crazy not to recommend this to my fellow readers. It was an enjoyable escape during this strange *pun* time in our history. It’s charming, exciting and every bit spooky. Filled with an array of monsters and witchy elements, Jennifer Strange is a staple in the pantry of teen horror.
Be sure to pre-order Jennifer Strange by clicking here. Published by Haverhill House books on July 21st, 2020.
For more of Cat Scully’s works and to keep up to date on her latest news, follow her here.