Tuesday 2 September 2014

Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? by Liz Kessler

It was during a Friday afternoon double geography lesson that I first discovered I had superhuman powers.
Published by Orion Children’s Books in August 2014
Pages – 256
Jessica Jenkins is missing...
Jessica Jenkins has always thought she was a perfectly ordinary girl, until the day that part of her arm vanishes in the middle of a Geography lesson! Her best friend Izzy is determined to help Jessica realise what a great opportunity the power to turn invisible could be, but where has her new ability come from? Does this mean she's a superhero? And, when her friends are threatened, can Jessica use her superpower to help?
I love the premise of this book. Who wouldn’t want the power of invisibility? Just imagine the trouble you could cause if you could make your body disappear with just a thought.  What a fabulous idea and one that seems rare within the Middle Grade market.
I enjoyed the pacing of the story and I was quick to follow Jessica as she came to terms with all the changes and revelations occurring around her. Jessica’s friends made excellent secondary characters as they each came to terms with their own problems while learning to deal with their new situation.
I know some reviewers found the connection between the super powers and gem stones difficult to believe, but personally I thought it was a brilliant idea. I could see the scientific potential and how this could actually happen.  Gem stones have always fascinated me, especially with each one having it’s own meaning and purpose in connection with our bodies. So it seemed perfectly feasible to me, that they could be used for a wider purpose.
I think a little shout out is needed to the illustrator, Emily Twomey , as the illustrations at the start of each chapter are simply gorgeous and not forgetting the awesome cover.
I do have one little niggle with the book. I wasn’t completely sure I agreed with the way the antagonist was dealt with in the story. However, I do feel that the way the book ended, the plot left it open for perhaps a future book in the series.
At times I wasn’t always sure of which age group the book was aimed at. It had a strong, young, Middle Grade feel to it, however these kids were all about sorting the problems out themselves without adult intervention, which tends to stray into the YA genre. On reflection, I think this book would  definitely suit the younger end of the  Middle Grade bracket and I think anyone who loved Liz Kessler’s last two standalone books will really enjoy this one too. An enjoyable read with a twist of Heroes in it for the younger market.

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