Title: The Killing Jar
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)
Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret. She's haunted by a violent tragedy she can't explain. Kenna's past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she's plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance. On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she's capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…
The Killing Jar is mysterious and dangerous, a look at life and death, a hiding away from the past and a haunting search for the truth. But as welcome as it makes her feel, does Kenna really want to know everything about her new home?
Kenna is afraid of a number of things, like the past, like repeating it. So she keeps everyone at a distance, isolates herself from everyone including her mother and sister. She would rather be alone, in her own head playing her music, than potentially hurt others. She's a kind, fractured girl that doesn't allow herself to be happy, until something terrible happens again. Until she goes to Eclipse.
The magical realism of the book, Kenna and her ability, the people of Eclipse, has a rather old and haunted feel of it. It's there inside all of them, deep down. It's been there for a long time. It's kept them there and they can't leave it. Won't leave it. As Kenna learns more about it, more about them, she discovers how dark and dangerous it is. How it all felt wonderful at the beginning but discovers the price that needs to be paid. How it's never just about life and death, black and white. How all the shades of grey matter.
I found this book intriguing. I didn't expect it to be as dark as it is, to go into the play between life and death, power and control, as deeply as it did. It's made it a richer story, a heavier story. The mystical magic of Eclipse is explained in some ways and left a mystery in others, which was nice to see. The magic in books like this doesn't always have to be explained. Sometimes, it can just be. It gives it that hint of possibility. I would recommend this book to those looking for a haunting, mysterious stand alone with a heroine who struggles to come to terms with a dark spot in her past.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)