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The Killing Jar

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  185 reviews
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

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, a
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Jennifer Hello! Sorry for the confusion. The pub date was pushed back, but the official release date was announced today. January 12, 2016. One year from today…moreHello! Sorry for the confusion. The pub date was pushed back, but the official release date was announced today. January 12, 2016. One year from today! Sorry for the long wait! (less)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  719 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

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 an
Chelsea Humphrey
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

What a surprisingly great read! I personally would place this as a NA or even YA read (although parts of it seemed a bit mature, but maybe I'm too old fashioned). I'm trying to not be vague but I feel if you know as little as possible about the plot before reading, it will enhance your experience.

I'm going to be honest, I requested this book because the MC's name happens to also be my oldest daughter's name. :) (I can be a
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
've started and restarted this review many times and the truth of the matter is, I have no idea what my complete and finals thoughts are on this book.

It was such a strange and thrilling mix of fantasy, romance, and mystery, let alone the twists and turns and the complete feeling of bizarreness that was this read, and because of the mix, I still can't quite grasp all my emotions on how I feel about it.

To say it was anything but the norm is an understatement. To say it was slightly dark, mysterio
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

I was looking for something a little different and this one fit the bill. It had a paranormal theme that I don't remember seeing before. I really liked the narration a lot and think that it added quite a bit to the story and I am really glad that I chose to listen to this story. This was never a book that totally sucked me in to the point that I didn't want to put it down but I did really enjoy in the end.

Kenna isn't like everyone else. She ha
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
3.5 stars
The Killing Jar, Jennifer Bosworth’s sophomore novel, is a big step up from her debut, Struck. I vaguely remember Struck as a bland, uneventful, unmemorable book, but The Killing Jar has a bit more flavor to it. It’s not the novel it could have been with some careful planning, but it’s still a good choice for those who prefer their paranormal YA to be a bit on the creepy side.

The idea behind The Killing Jar is fairly unusual and therefore very interesting. While it’s not uncommon to hav
Richard Cardenas
Mar 27, 2014 marked it as to-read
Temp cover? this better be the cover! it's fucking beautiful and creepy. It reminds me of the Silence of the Lambs DVD cover art.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Great cover! Quick read that kept me interested but this book is for a much younger audience than myself. 3.5 stars!
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
First off, that cover is gorgeous and I was instantly drawn to the image and the title.

I loved Kenna. Her inner monologue kept me interested and quickly turning pages. There were a lot of characters in this book, but we don't really get to meet them. Everyone is kept at arm's length and it help me to picture the setting for Eclipse.

The creepy plot line was captivating. There was a real sense of urgency in the story and the way it unfolded captured it perfectly. I feel like the why wasn't expla
This had a fantastic opener, and was pretty damn solid throughout. Really enjoyed this, and now it makes me want to dig out my copy of Struck, Jennifer's debut, which has been sitting around on my shelves since it came out, and see if it's as good.
Kirsty-Marie Jones
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Weird book, really, really weird. Interesting, definitely different, no connections to the characters though. Did I mention it's really weird?
Heather (The Sassy Book Geek)
Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek

*** Thank you to Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, Giroux / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review ***

This was an exceptionally fantastic book, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I went into it not expecting a whole lot but oh boy did it take me on an unexpected journey.

Let's Talk About That Plot:

I'm going to start off by saying the overall storyline is a bit weird, but definitely in
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two and a half stars: A creepy, suspenseful read that needs more depth and development.

Kenna is hiding a terrible secret. When she was ten, she killed the boy next door with her touch. He deserved to die because he was a monster. When her mother found out, she warned Kenna that she has a power that she can never let anyone know about. For seven years, Kenna struggles to be normal, but she isn't. She fears touch, and she is always suppressing the her power, until the day things come to head. Whe
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review, however, is based up on the audiobook version. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

I've been such a mood reader these days, and it means I miss release dates on a lot of the review books I have in my possession. I either wait until I do feel like reading a story - to give it the fairest chance possible - or until it's released on audiobook. Such is the case
Kari (BookandCoffeeLover)
Family politics abound and loyalties are tested in this engaging read. A creepy paranormal story rooted in a teen's desire to be normal. Great characters all around, but the Kalyptra were super fascinating individuals...albeit with a sinister undercurrent.
My feelings are all over the place with this one.
For the most part of the story I was confused, even more than Kenna. I got frustrated with how much was kept from her and how much was hinted at but people would never just come out and say the whole thing. Yes, it helped with the mystery aspect of the story, but at the same time, it kind of made things drag on too long and when some things were explained I was still confused about it.
The Killing Jar wasn't a bad read, Kenna's ability had me int
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
DnF @ 73%

I know I've come so far but I just can't any more. I don't care about the characters at all, no one is likable.
Sarah {Literary Meanderings}

• Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings

- - -


This is one of the best books I've read in some time. I put off reading this for like two years, and I am so happy I finally got to it, because what a gem! A creepy gem, but still a gem.
I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.
Kenna, our MC, is living with a secret. Kenna has a twin sister, Erin, that she loves more than anything. Makes sense, yeah? Well, when a creepy little boy from scho
Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)

I had very mixed feelings about this book. I think the thing I enjoyed most about it was how seriously twisted it was. It was very dark, and I liked that! But sadly, that was where the enjoyment ended.

There was a scene in the beginning pissed me off to the point that I very nearly DNFed it. I wanted to throw my Kindle against a wall! Erin has a cat (named Clint Eastwood...and it's a female. Wtf....) that has kittens. As soon as the words "He liked to watch things die. But then he went too fa
Stacie (Shy Book Nerd)
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-releases
Where do I start with? Well I'll say this was definitely a book I've never read before. It was bizarre, creepy, and down right depressing. Given its beautiful cover, I wanted to like this one so bad. Sadly, with its depressing attitude of people and their strange behavior, it was too much out of my element for me to enjoy.

Kenna was born with special powers where she can suck the life out of people just by touching them. All her life she's grown up like this fearing any touch will kill people so
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Killing Jar was so utterly terrifying and so enjoyable at the same time. I don't usually like horror/paranormal books, but this was great! Jennifer Bosworth was able to create this amazing sense of mystery and suspense that I loved.

when we first saw Kenna take the anima out of Jason and Thomas, I was more than a little freaked out. I mean, sure, they did terrible things, but I don't think anyone deserves to literally have the life sucked out of them. as the book went on, I became more comfo
Jackie (No Bent Spines)
ARC via
3 Star

“I’ll be here when you wake, so you won’t be afraid to dream alone. To dream alone” (ARC).

Let me tell you a quick little something about how I like my creepy. I like it cold, served with kisses that taste a whole lot like danger. I like it when I see every single terrible part of what makes the antagonist so terrifying. I like my creepy with a dash of cinnamon (so I can feel the burn) and a little bit of maple syrup (so that I can taste the fear in the November leav
Damaris (GoodChoiceReading)
When I started reading The Killing Jar I immediately thought this is my kind of book! The prologue was awesome. It grabbed my attention right away. I couldn’t wait to read the entire book.

As I continued reading I found myself enjoying it, but I had so many questions. I was also very confused by so many things. I am not a fan of the whole back and forth when it comes to secrets. Kenna’s mother obviously had a lot of secrets. She kept Kenna in the dark when it came to what she really is, and who h
Carrie Beth
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After accidentally killing a neighbor boy at a young age, Kenna learned that she has special abilities. Kenna is able to steal the life from living things. It's an ability that Kenna is alone with. Her mother and twin sister don't share this mysterious gift, making Kenna feel frustrated and sometimes isolated.

It isn't until Kenna grows up that she discovers a whole community of people who share these same abilities, including her materna
Ardyss (With Her Head in a Book)
Originally posted on my blog, With Her Head in a Book.

I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars

The Killing Jar is sure to attract readers with its eye-catching artistic cover. I absolutely adore the cover, especially since it is so fitting to the novel. The book is an interesting twist on the genre that I had not been expecting upon reading the synopsis (in my opinion not a single summary of the novel was very accurate). In some ways, I am glad I
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Killing Jar is light YA horror, perfect if you want something creepy but not actually terrifying. Kenna has a secret ability to draw the life from living things and when she was 10, accidentally killed a boy. Now a teenager she has her music, her twin sister, and a sort of boyfriend. But when the past comes back to haunt her and her family is attacked, she flees to a sort of commune where she can be safe with people like her. Of course, all is not as it seems and things get strange.

I was not
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Exiled to a mysterious commune called Eclipse where the residents are all glowing, young and beautiful, Kenna is at first beguiled by the lifestyle.

Here she can be herself and accept her strange powers. And like a moth to a flame, Kenna is drawn to the light or "anima" that glows brightly inside special glass jars. When released, the light feeds a never ending hunger which grows stronger with each day.

What I liked about this book was the wonderful descriptive prose that flows easily and beautif
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a strange story, but for folks who like strange, it isn't a bad choice. Kenna is an engaging protagonist with complex feelings and the little bit of a dark side needed to make her feel like a real person more than a character. The first person point of view gives readers plenty of insight into her inner workings, but it does leave the secondary characters feeling a little flat. I don't think that is necessarily a negative thing because it does leave readers guessing about everyone's int ...more
Erin Arkin
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth has been on my radar since I read the summary. First, the cover is amazing! Second, the story centers around a secret about Kenna. She has a memory of something horrible from her childhood and because of that, she has always kept her distance from others. When something happens that forces her to face what she is, Kenna is sent away to live at a nearby commune called Eclipse. When Kenna learns more about who she is and what she is truly capable of, she also b ...more

Kenna and her twin, Erin, have a deep affection for each other, to the point where Kenna would kill anyone who hurts her sister, and she has. While her mother tends her bakery, Kenna makes sure Erin is safe since she has several debilitating diseases that make her extremely fragile. Gifted with a rare sort of power, Kenna finds she can draw on other’s life source and becomes almost intoxicated by the act. When she finds that she can no longer control her acts, her mother takes her to
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Paranormal
*Rating* 3.0

*My Thoughts*

Jennifer Bosworth's The Killing Jar is a standalone novel that features 17-year old Kenna Marsden. Kenna carries a deep, dark secret that only her mother knows about. When she was 10-years old, she drained the life force of a boy who was torturing animals including her sister Erin's cats. Since then, she has kept her distance from nearly everyone, except for her best friend and next door neighbor, Blake Callahan who has be
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Author and screenwriter, Jennifer Bosworth, grew up in a small town where there was nothing to do but read and get into trouble. She did plenty of both, which led her to a career writing about people who get into trouble. Jennifer and her husband recently escaped from Los Angeles and are now hiding out in Portland, Oregon with a couple of long-legged dogs. In her spare time she can be found watchi ...more

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