When Meg Cabot Went Dark: Jinx by Meg Cabot

It’s not easy being Jinx.

The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just…Jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she’s thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she’s halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she’s caused back in her small hometown.

But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it’s causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she’s sure Jinx is going to reveal.
Jinx is beginning to realize it isn’t just bad luck she’s been running from. It’s something far more sinister…and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life.

Source: GoodReads

How I remember this Book: This is the book Meg Cabot went “dark”.

Yeah, I’m laughing now.

Jinx is hardly dark.  Oh, sure it has some dark moments and acutally deals with some sensitive issues-drug abuse-but compared to some of the stuff out there in the genre now…

Hardly dark.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book though.  I actually had and even second time around had a fun time with Jinx.

There’s just something magical about reading a Meg Cabot book, the thing is there are books that are more magical than Jinx.

And in the forty some odd books that Cabot has had published I sort of forget about it.

The thing is, I’ve been trying to reread a lot on my shelves and it was Halloween and I’m doing this book project where I’m rereading books pre 2010 and this one just sort of stuck out.  So, I gave it a whirl (again).

The result: pleasantly surprised and amused.  But I do feel like I’ve grown up some since this was published and it’s not like I was that young when it was first put to press.

I think it’s more or less that the genre has grown and has evolved since this book’s initial publication.  And now something that at one time seemed so shockingly dark for a cotton candy fluff author like Cabot just seems like cotton candy fluff.

The plot itself is pretty simplistic.  Jinx (or Jean as she prefers to be called) doesn’t have the best of luck and because of this is sent to live with her relatives in Manhattan.  And there’s evil cousins and witches.  Oh, and cute boys.

Because a Meg Cabot book can’t be complete without a cute boy.

To be honest, I can’t think of one Cabot book where there wasn’t a cute boy.  Okay, I wasn’t especially pleased with John at the beginning of the Abandon trilogy, but he grew on me.  Or for that matter Alaric who I still don’t really care for in the Insatiable duology.  But whatever.

He was a man not a boy.

For the most part, her YA heroes are gimme gimme (dibs on Jesse de Silva, bitches). And Zach fits into this category.  He likes seals.

How can you not like a guy who likes seals?

And his relationship with Jean isn’t insta love.  Sure, there’s attraction there, but it doesn’t go from stranger to soul mate.  It’s more like stranger to your sort of cute wanna get coffee?

Another thing I love about Meg Cabot’s books is how the setting seems to become a character of its own.  I love how she depicts New York.  Unlike a lot of YA and chick lit authors that try to focus on the city’s glamorous side, Cabot looks at the other fun sides of the city.

In this book: the food of Central Park.

That actually sounds like it could be a Food Network show.

But I loved those little dates where Jean and Zach would go from vendor and vendor tasting what the park had to offer.

So, why isn’t this the most memorable of Cabot books?

Because at times it just felt like it was going through the motions.

While I did enjoy the romance and the characters, there were points where Cabot obviously played her tropes.  Jean being a small town girl planted in the big city and seemingly fitting in effortlessly (the Boy Next Door series, the Queen of Babble series).  Jean being seemingly meek but powerful (The Princess Diaries, The Abandon Trilogy-though I still think Pierce is week, the Insatiable duology).   Too rich to be true Manhattanites starring in the book and fawning over the main character (She Went All the Way, The Heather Wells series, The Princess Diaries).  A beautiful evil mean girl (Avalon High the Graphic novels, The Princess Diaries, Airhead trilogy).

Yes, I get that author tropes is going to be a crutch that the author relies on but…

Come on.

Also, while the story is clearly a standalone and while I applaud and appreciate it, it sort of faded in the back of my mind because Cabot has so many great series.

Overall Rating: B+ if you’re looking for a fun Halloween-ish (it takes place at spring time, but there’s witches in it) book  read this one.  Warning, if you don’t like fluffy books then avoid.  But I like fluff, so I like this book.

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2 thoughts on “When Meg Cabot Went Dark: Jinx by Meg Cabot

  1. I found this book on a shelf at my middle school with a lot of other earlier Meg Cabot books, and you’re right about it not being the best. I still thought it was pretty cute, but there are many that I prefer. (By the way, I was totally in love with both Alaric and John. Jesse is also really sexy, but my heart totally belongs to Christopher from Airhead). I’m not sure if this is one of the weaker Cabot books, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites. However, my least favorite of her love interests is the journalist from Teen Idol. He was sweet, and all, but just hard to really fall in love with. Great post, by the way. 🙂

    • Yeah, it’s still very cute. I liked the Airhead series too. I think my least favorite Cabot book that I’ve read recently is probably How to be Popular. I also remember not liking Ready or Not a whole lot too, but it’s been years since I’ve read it. Regardless, she’s still one of my favorite writers.

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