Ugly Young Thing
By: Jennifer Jaynes
Publisher: Amazon/Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 3/3/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Allie has already experienced a lifetime of horror, having lost her mother and serial killer brother to mental illness.
Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana, Allie ends up in foster care and is placed with Miss Bitty, an eccentric but kindly older woman who shows her a new direction and brighter future.
But Allie’s new life takes a devastating turn when young women in the area start turning up dead, and she begins to see shadowy figures outside her bedroom. As Miss Bitty grows inexplicably distant, a nagging voice makes Allie wonder if death has found her yet again…or if it never really left her at all.
A special thank you to Amazon Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jennifer Jaynes returns with UGLY YOUNG THING, (Grand Trespass #2) a "killer" followup --an intense psychological suspense thriller, a sizzling page-turner, for a continuation of Allie we met in Never Smile at Strangers (Grand Trespass #1). Allie, sixteen-years-old, is beautiful; however, after being a victim of her abusive mom, telling her she is ugly, she sees a different face, a reflection, when looking into the mirror. She has experienced a traumatic childhood, a lifetime of horror-her mom was a prostitute, a psychotic murderer. Her older brother tried his best; however, he also suffered from mental illness, and in the end a murderer, ending his life and misery by killing himself before Allie’s eyes. With no family left, she is on the run to Texas, hitchhiking, trying to survive with one trucker after another. Allie’s home had been one of horror-her father abandoned the family early on, her mother a prostitute, dumping bodies in the pond behind their house, as well as abusing her brother; thereby screwing up his mind. After he finally killed their mother, he ended up taking care of Allie, by paying the bills and putting food on the table; ultimately was sick and began hurting people, as well. Currently, she is on the run, tired of trying to survive by selling her body, and when her boyfriend Johnny has to leave, she realizes everyone has abandoned her. Now, nine months later without her brother or her boyfriend Johnny, she met along the way, she sees no point in life. The world to Allie is a frightening place, and she never seemed to belong. In a lonely motel she tried to end her own life with pills unsuccessfully. She feels like such a loser and couldn’t even manage to kill herself. After being attacked while hitchhiking, she decides to return to Grand Trespass, Louisiana to her childhood home to rest and figure out what to do next. She just wants normal. She wants to be wanted and loved, but all the pain has worn her down, and she wants to escape. Finally she ends up in foster care and placed with Miss Bitty. Her home is beautiful, and Miss Bitty, even though eccentric, everyone seems to love her. She is an older, kind, and a giving person. Allie wants to be like her and does not want to disappoint her and lose this opportunity. However, can she trust her? After all, her mom said never to trust anyone nice. Can she possibly have a normal life and a fresh start without her past haunting her? Sometimes she wonders if she will become crazy like the rest of her family. However, not long after moving in with Miss Bitty in Louisiana, near her old home, Allie begins to feel someone is watching her. Miss Bitty is a wellness coach, making sure her home environment is in alignment with health goals from nutritious foods and positive thoughts--from meditation, yoga, and energy work, helping everyone around her. She had been caring for foster children for almost sixteen years and Allie grows to like her. Miss Bitty helps her pick out new clothes and makeup, to give her a classier look and assists with her lower self-esteem issues. Allie just wants to be accepted and have friends. Miss Bitty is kind to her and supportive in every way. Their household is not the norm. Louis comes and goes, a guy which home schools her in preparation for her GED, and later college courses. Joe is a client of Miss Bitty’s from California, living in their guesthouse, and she meets a new friend, Hannah. Hannah’s stepfather, Ted and mother, Claire are weird and he also does maintenance and yard work for Miss Bitty. So a variety of men coming and going. Allie tries working at the supermarket part time; however, it turns into a disaster when people find out she was the murderer’s daughter and sister. The job is short lived. Now, if things could not get any worse, there is a killer on the loose in the nearby town and he is targeting young women, stabbing them multiple times – he is on the hunt and nothing satisfies his itch except killing. He has tried to keep in under control however he stalks, watches, and hides in waiting for the kill. Since the murders have been occurring, Miss Bitty brings home a dog for Allie, and now seems worried and overly protective. Miss Bitty seems distant, Allie sees someone watching her, hears voices, and she wonders if death and pain will continue follow her. UGLY YOUNG THING keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat, switching back and forth between Allie, Bitty, and the sick mind of a killer. As a reader you have no idea the identity of the killer and are holding your breath to learn the killer’s next move. What a shocker! Jennifer does an outstanding job of keeping the suspense high, as one minute you think you have the mystery figured out, and then you begin suspecting another. You are never certain how Miss Bitty is connected to the players and the motives behind the killing until towards the very end. With intense twists and turns, as all the pieces come together from the first and second book. Well-developed characters and vivid settings with heart-pounding scenes awaiting the sick and twisted killer’s next move. So many suspects! Wow, I really enjoyed this riveting psychological mystery thriller, leaving you anxiously awaiting the next book, to learn what is in store for Allie. Cannot wait. Highly recommend this series, and this talented newfound author!