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“I want a career that sets my soul on fire, that fans the flames of passion that smolders deep in my belly—that I guard with my focus and intellect. I want a place to unleash that which burns inside me,” Lacey. –Jinxed 

Jinxed

by Amy McCulloch
AR Test


At A Glance
Interest Level

8+
Entertainment
Score
Reading Level
5.4
Number of Pages
326

Lacey Chu has always dreamed of working as an engineer for MONCHA, the biggest tech firm in the world and the company behind the baku, which is a customizable “pet” with all the capabilities of a smartphone. But when Lacey is rejected by the elite academy that promises that future, she’s crushed.

One night, Lacey comes across the broken form of a highly advanced baku. After Lacey repairs it, the cat-shaped baku she calls Jinx opens its eyes and somehow gets her into her dream school. But Jinx is different than any other baku she’s ever seen. . . he seems real.

As Lacy settles into life at school, competing with the best students in a battle of the bakus that tests her abilities, she learns that Jinx is part of a dangerous secret. Can Lacey hold on to Jinx and her dreams of a future?

Lacey has always been focused on academics, but being successful at Profectus is not going to be easy. When she learns that she has been chosen as part of a baku battling team, Lacey is determined to make friends. Lacey was prepared for Profectus’s academic pressures, but Lacey wasn’t prepared for the challenges of having a baku that has its own opinion and agenda. Lacey soon learns that some of the students will stop at nothing to make it to the top of the class.

Lacey’s world is unique, fascinating, and full of unexpected surprises. Everyone in Lacey’s world depends on their baku, and each baku has the ability to make its owner happy. Whether it’s playing an upbeat song, helping instruct a recipe, or giving directions, each baku is essential for day-to-day life. However, Lacey’s baku, Jinx, is different. He doesn’t follow commands and often leads Lacey into trouble. The interactions between Lacey and Jinx create suspense as well as show Jinx’s unique personality.

Jinxed is an action-packed story that keeps the readers guessing until the very end. Although some of the characters are predictable—the mean kid, the rich cute boy, and the best friend who feels left out—the story never feels cliché. Instead, Lacey’s world gives the reader a realistic view of the future, where everyone is connected to a device 24/7. The end of the story will leave the reader with many unanswered questions, which might frustrate some readers.

Through Lacey’s experiences, the readers will learn important lessons about choosing your own path; it doesn’t matter where you come from, your choices and decisions make you who you are. The message that Jinxed portrays is clear: loving someone doesn’t give you the right to decide what’s best for them.

 Sexual Content

  • Lacey gives Tobias a handshake and “he clasps my hand. I don’t know if he feels it too. A spark. A moment where electricity leaps from my hand to his, where all the neurons in my palm seem to light up. It takes my breath away.”
  • When Tobias winks at Lacey, she feels butterflies in her stomach and feels “my face burning bright red.”
  • After Tobias grabbed Lacey’s hand, her “palm doesn’t stop tingling for the rest of the weekend.”
  • When Tobias holds Lacey’s hand, her “heart pounds, my brain is unable to compute that Tobias Washington is holding my hand.”

Violence

  • A woman holding a “creature” runs from someone with a pulse gun. “She ducked and the shot flew over her head, obliterating the trunk of a beech tree in front of her. . . The next shot hit her shoulder, and she wasn’t sure who screamed louder: her or the creature.” The creature falls over a cliff into a ravine, then “the men turned back to her, gun barrels leveling at her head. She closed her eyes and accepted the inevitable.” The two-and-a-half-page scene ends without saying what happened to the woman or the creature.
  • The school allows teams to battle their bakus. During the battles, some of the bakus are destroyed and cannot be fixed. During a battle, Tobias immediately makes a hit on Dorian’s snarling wolf baku, his eagle stretching his talons out, wing spread wide to keep him hovering—and to enable a quick getaway from the wolf’s surprisingly high jump.” During the battle, one of the girls is upset because she thinks her baku is destroyed and cannot be repaired.
  • When a boy is being rude, Jinx scratches the boy’s hand, which “beads with blood.”
  • During another baku battle, “The cloud leopard is lightning fast, rounding on poor Jupiter with barely a delay. . . Frost swipes out with a sharp paw and part of Jupiter’s surface paneling is torn.” When it looks like Jupiter will be completely torn apart, Jinx jumps into the fight. “The boar falters, twitching and convulsing, as something is destroying him from the inside out.”
  • When Lacey’s baku is stolen, Lacey and her friends go to get it back from Carter. Carter’s panther baku “leap past their bakus and aim their attacks at the people themselves. . . While Tobias is distracted by my screams, he sends hunter up to bring Aero down. There’s a sickening crunch of metal against metal, as Hunter’s tusk pierces Aero’s belly.” Lacey is able to pin Carter to the ground.” Lacey and her friends are able to free Jinx. Tobias has “one arm around Ashley, who is bleeding from a scratch along her hairline, and another arm supporting River, who is getting shakily to his feet.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • Jerk is used multiple times. For example, a boy from school is mean to Lacey. Lacey’s friends say, “He’s a jerk. Forget about him.”
  • Lacey’s friend tells her, “You’ve worked hard all friggin’ year. You’re allowed to take a break and relax.”
  • “Holy baku” is used as an exclamation once.
  • Heck is used four times. When Jinx scratches a boy, the boy says, “What the heck?”
  • Darn is used twice. For example, when a teacher tells Lacey that she’s late for class, Lacey thinks, “Darn.”
  • Oh my god is used as an exclamation three times. God is used as an exclamation once.
  • While working on a baku, Jinx’s “paw brushes against a smashed-up printed circuit board—if one of the bakus is missing that, they’re going to be seriously screwed.”
  • When a team captain thinks an opponent isn’t going to show up, he says the girl is a coward.
  • Jinx refers to an opposing team captain, saying “only idiots could have broken what you fixed. I mean, I wouldn’t put it past them to be idiots, but. . .”

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • Lacey and her friend Zora run into a mean boy from school. The boy is rude to Lacey. “Zora doesn’t immediately follow, and I whisper a silent prayer for her to drop it. . .”
  • When Lacey tells her friend that she found her baku, “she responds almost right away with a series of ‘Praise the Lord’ emojis.”
  • Jinx plays loud music and draws attention to Lacey. When the music stops, she thinks, “Thank god.”
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“I want a career that sets my soul on fire, that fans the flames of passion that smolders deep in my belly—that I guard with my focus and intellect. I want a place to unleash that which burns inside me,” Lacey. –Jinxed 

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