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.
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.