Re-reading childhood favourites: Jinx

This is stretching it a bit in terms of “childhood” favourites. But this is my series, so really, I can do what I want.

Jinx by Meg Cabot was released in 2007. I was in high school at the time, and around the same age as the characters are in the book. This makes this book technically a teenage favourite, but I’m counting it. I was very into Meg Cabot’s books at the time. I had them all–the whole Princess Diaries series, Avalon High, Airhead, All-American Girl, all her adult books. I read them all over and over, Jinx included. But it’s been a few years since I’ve gone back to Jinx, so why not do that now.

Jinx: Cabot, Meg: 9780060837662: Books -

I remembered the basic concept of the book before starting my re-read. Jean or “Jinx” is a teenage girl who moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in New York City after an incident at her old school. She’s nicknamed “Jinx” because of the massive storm and power outage that occurred at the moment of her birth, and because of the string of clumsiness and accidents that seem to follow her around. I remembered random details–like a gazebo in the back garden of the house where action took place. I also remembered really loving her love interest in this book. I remembered him being chill and likeable and someone who I understood why she liked him and why I was meant to root for them together.

This latter point remains true upon re-read. I do like the love interest! Maybe not as much as I did as a teen–which makes sense, since I’m no longer a teenager and he’s a 16 year old boy–and he’s idealized in some ways, but I still really like him and find his friendship and chemistry with Jean fun to read. I still get why they make sense as a couple, and that’s important to me.

In this book Jean, her cousin Tory, and her friends, all get involved at some point in witchcraft. Tory and Jean’s grandmother had told them both a story about how once of their ancestors was apparently a witch and said that they’d be the ones to inherit powers, thinking it a fun story. But Tory and Jean took it very seriously, unbeknownst to one another at first. I was surprised upon re-read how ambiguous the witchcraft was kept in the novel. I remembered the witchcraft being a lot more blatantly….magical. Whereas upon reading it, it feels like the author leaves it up to the audience whether to believe the witchcraft as they use it is real or not. Both explanations–real or not real–makes sense in the context of the book and even in the context of the characters.

It’s a short book, only about 260 pages, and it’s a fun and breezy read. It’s almost like reading the script for a teen movie. I feel like I would have wanted some of the side characters to be more fleshed out, or to sit in moments a bit longer, but at the same time, I can tell that isn’t what this book is trying to be. It’s a teen movie read.

I can still enjoy things, like this book, that I enjoyed as a teen. I don’t think that because I don’t enjoy it in the exact same way that I did as a teenager, it means I enjoy it less, or that it isn’t serving its purpose as a book. Jinx is cute and fun and a bit of a twist on a typical high school drama novel. Would still buy for any teenager in my life today.

Movies I Watched in 2021 (Part 3)

I meant to read another book and write about it, but didn’t end up having the time to do so because of work. I’ll get to that soon. But for now, here are the four VERY DIFFERENT movies I have watched for the first time since the last time I did this. All the trailers are linked!

Love and Monsters: This movie was released on Netflix and stars Dylan O’Brien as a young guy who has been stuck in a bunker for several years during the apocalypse with a group of other survivors. He decides one day to leave the bunker in search of his former girlfriend, who he hasn’t seen since the day of the apocalypse. I admittedly watched this movie largely for Dylan O’Brien, who I watched religiously in Teen Wolf and have been fond of ever since. But I ended up really enjoying it. I knew it would be fun, but it got a lot of genuine laughs from me, was genuinely heartwarming, and Dylan was very likeable, understandable, and charismatic as the protagonist. I also loved the concept for the apocalypse. Basically, an asteroid headed for Earth is destroyed, and that creates chemical fallout. This causes cold blooded animals to mutate into large monsters, many who are dangerous and kill off much of the population, while the rest hides from them. I’ve devoured a LOT of post-apocalyptic content, and can honestly say I’ve never seen an apocalypse quite like this before. It was really fun and definitely worth a watch.

Promising Young Woman: This is a surprisingly divisive movie. But I was interested in it from the first trailer, and after watching, think it was a brilliant film. But I get why it isn’t what some people wanted or expected. I also get why it can be hard for some people to watch. It’s hard to talk about. I think if you aren’t triggered by discussions of sexual assault, and it’s safe for you to watch, you should give it a try. The performances by the entire cast is amazing (and some of the casting choices are just brilliant….the use of actors who have played iconic “nice guys” is an amazing touch), the cinematography is beautiful, and so much is just a fucking gut punch. Things are morally grey, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

The Mitchells vs the Machines: And now swerving back to Netflix family fare about the apocalypse! This is an animated film about a family who finds themselves the only ones who can prevent the end of humanity when a furious AI takes control of technology. There’s so much to love about this movie. It’s funny, really funny in a way that’s silly and interesting and never punches down. It’s a story about technology and about finding yourself and about the importance of family even when it’s not perfect and also about robots. There are lots of robots! It’s also so interesting stylistically. I know not everyone loves stylized movies but it’s always appealed to me. I think the style and editing of this cartoon is really quirky and fun and suits the storyline and the main character. Absolutely recommend if you want a laugh and also robots.

Bo Burnham: Inside: This is the second project featuring Bo Burnham on this list, since he also stars in Promising Young Woman. This is his latest Netflix special, created by himself during the pandemic, and in a lot of ways, it’s about the pandemic, and about us during the pandemic, and about Bo during the pandemic. I don’t know if “comedy special” is the right descriptor for this film. Yes it’s definitely funny, in weird ways, and in silly ways, and in dark ways. But it also gets dark and meaningful and hard to watch in a way where you don’t want to stop watching. It’s the most creative “comedy special” I have ever seen. It’s poignant and funny and off-kilter and full of songs and it’s just so damn good.

I’m hoping to see a movie in theatres this summer, although I don’t think there’s even a possibility of that here until July. But fingers crossed!