Cover Image: Jinxed


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A great start to a new middle-grade series that I see myself continuing on with!

I loved the setting of futuristic Toronto, a city that I would love to visit. With great descriptions, I could picture myself there. 

I liked the characters, a lot. Lacey comes across and very relatable and I can't wait for the second book to find out what happens with Jinx!

Brilliantly plotted and thrilling throughout, I was hooked from the very first page.

With mysteries aplenty and a cliff hanger to rival all others, Jinxed is a great book that will appeal to many, many readers.
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This is a good book with a unique premise. I liked the concept of the bakus, Profectus school, and the baku battles. The author does a good job with the world building.

I wish that some of the side characters had more development. A lot of them were thrown, conveniently, into the story when they were needed without any real knowledge of them besides basic information. I think this was especially true with Jake (Jacob?). It's said that him and Lacey are friends but we only saw him when he was betting on the battles. 

I also hated the romance. I don't think middle grade stories really need that romance element. It felt forced and sometimes too mature.

Some of the things the kids did read like an adult writing a kid (which, to be fair, is the reality). Kids don't shake hands or invite people to sit down. They're awkward.

Overall, an enjoyable read.
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This was a fun adventure where technology has taken the world in a new direction. There was a little bit of everything, humor, budding romance, suspense. I really liked the idea of our phones being transitioned to our pets. The best of both worlds. Two drawbacks of the book were the essence of animal cruelty and the very abrupt ending. All in all I did enjoy the book. 3.5 ⭐️
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It`s deffinitley a children/ young teenagers book. Non the less, I`ve still enjoied it and can`t wait for book two. But it has a cute story about following your dreams, friendship and technology. Would deffinitlly recomend if you like adventure and technology and pets.  :)
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I really loved this. Jinxed was such an enjoyable read. A great book and you 'll find tat once you pick this up you’ll find it hard to put down. I loved the character of Lacey so much, and of course Jinx! A really well written fast paced read, highly recommended!
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Content Warning: simulated animal cruelty

Billed as “The Golden Compass for the digital age,” Jinxed is a suspenseful, heartbreaking, and timely middle grade thriller. It doesn’t focus on religion like its inspiration; rather, it explores the ubiquity of technology and the privacy concerns that come from living in a world where most people are literally leashed to their phones.

In the late 21st century, most people have bakus, or digital pets that work much like our smart phones do. People get implants so that they can physically leash the bakus to themselves for charging. The bakus are the brainchild of Monica Chan, creator of tech giant MONCHA and personal hero of protagonist Lacey Chu. Lacey is a talented engineer, and when she runs across a damaged baku, she takes it home to fix it and discovers that it has some unusual properties. Once she leashes the baku, she starts to realize just how unusual it is, and together they go down a dangerous path of technological and corporate intrigue.

The bakus are similar to the dæmons from His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman’s trilogy that begins with The Golden Compass, or Northern Lights, as it is called outside North America) in that they are simultaneously a part of their “owner” and a separate creature. Jinxed adds a stomach-churning element to this dynamic by depicting baku battles, wherein bakus physically fight and occasionally destroy one another. The bakus are made out of metal and cables, but they are designed to mimic “real” animals as much as possible, so the fight scenes can be very difficult to read, especially since the human owners bond so closely with their bakus and usually view them as cherished pets.

The question of where the line is between “real” and simulated animals is deliberately left unanswered, as is the resolution to the book’s intertwining plot threads. Jinxed ends on a massive cliffhanger (don’t worry, there is a second book in the series: Unleashed) that underscores just how little privacy and control individuals have when corporations infiltrate our daily lives.

Though its themes are heavy, there is fun and humor in the book as well: Lacey’s unpredictable baku Jinx is always ready with a sassy comeback, and it’s a joy to see Lacey revel in her own technological wizardry and be recognized by others as a rising STEM star. The plot moves quickly, and though I didn’t love it like I do His Dark Materials, I’m eager to read the next book to find out what happens with Lacey and Jinx.
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Imagine living in a high-tech world where your family pet also doubles as a smart device. Twelve-year-old Lacey’s world is just that. She lives with her mother in a corporate mini-town within Toronto, sponsored by Tech giant MONCHA. Ten years ago, MONCHA created robotic animal companions called bakus to provide people with companionship to help alleviate their smartphone-caused anxiety.

Lacey’s whipsmart and she’s long hoped of getting into Profectus, an elite tech school where she’d be well on her way to realizing her dream of being a companioneer for MONCHA like her father was. (Lacey’s father is missing.) But Lacey is rejected by Profectus, and even worse, she has to buy a baku before she starts seventh grade at St.Agnes, because all the “textbooks are stored in baku-encrypted software, and homework assignments are sent” straight to bakus. She can only afford the cheapest baku, a level one scarab beetle. (Bakus are graded from level one to level five and get progressively more complex and powerful.) Had she been accepted to Profectus, Lacey would have needed a level 3 baku.

While recovering her best friend Zora’s baku from a ravine into which it had fallen, Lacey also discovers another badly damaged baku, a level three cat. Lacey soon gets an email saying she was accepted to Profectus, after all. An expert tinkerer, Lacey spends all summer repairing the rescued baku cat, Jinx. It soon becomes clear that Jinx is more than your average baku. And mysterious, dangerous things are also afoot at Profectus.

Jinxed is a highly readable series starter. McCulloch has created a smart, likeable character in Lacey and given her a strong voice. Time and care is taken with characters and relationships, and readers are given a good look inside the school and all the ramifications of technology. The baku battles the students have at the school are riveting. Kids compete in teams with their bakus in a high-stakes battle (an internship is on the line) in which nothing seems out-of-bounds. In between rounds, the students have a limited amount of time to make repairs to their baku. Though not life or death for the humans involved, these mini-wars are reminiscent of the Hunger Games.

With a mix of adventure, mystery, tech, and just a dash of romance, Jinxed has elements that combine to make a great book for the in-between tween. It sits at the sweet spot between middle grade and young adult. Thematically, the story takes an intelligent look at science and technology, including its responsible, ethical design, marketing, and use, while also exploring the meaning of friendship. With its crazy cliff-hanger ending, readers of Jinxed are guaranteed to finish clamoring for more!

Verdict: 4.5 of 5 Hearts: A high-wired series starter with a crafty heroine and her robotic feline sidekick!
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So what happens when you mix The Golden Compass with robots? You get Jinxed and it’s AWESOME.

Jinxed follows the story of young Lacey, who dreams of becoming a companioneer for Moncha Corp. A companioneer is like an engineer that builds companions,called bakus, which is what smart phones evolved into in this fictional near-future of North America. Basically, someone made daemons from The Golden Compass, but they’re smartphones and also your best friends. I loved this idea from the get-go.

Lacey wants to get into Profectus, an elite academy with direct ties to Moncha, but she doesn’t have the funds to do so. She works her butt off every day to get into Profectus and when she gets her decision letter, she’s heartbroken.

Then one day, she finds an abandoned baku after being chased by some bullies and works the entire summer to fix it. This baku, Jinx, is state-of-the-art and cutting edge, and he’s got the sarcastic tongue to prove it. He and Lacey become hesitant friends, since bakus aren’t supposed to talk, and she finds out the school’s decision has been reversed.

But Profectus isn’t what it seems, and the people Lacey has idolized for years suddenly lose their gleam when the cameras are off. Lacey soon finds herself in a heap of trouble, all thanks to Jinx.

That may have been my least favorite part of the book. Every plot point was made not by our main character, but by Jinx. And I can understand why, in the long run, and seeing Lacey figure her way out of the problems was great, but I wanted more agency from her. Lacey just ends up running frantically after Jinx for most of the plot, instead of Lacey getting herself into trouble.

Still, Jinxed was a fantastic read and I loved its imaginitive take on robotic companions.
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I found this to be a very fun and interesting book. I can definitely see this being some young teenage boys favorite book. Great read.
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I honestly thought this would be a middle grade book for young children but after the first few pages it became clear that this was (probably) meant for kids older than 12. Besides that, this book was really awesome. It hope this one gets translated because my kid is always looking for more books, and he's really into fantasy lately. This book is easy to read, but not too easy, and has a nice storyline with enough suspicion to keep reading.
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Lacey dreams of going to the Profectus Academy, an elitist school specializing in technology, where each student has a baku, a customizable robotic animal. The only problem is that Lacey was refused there… But that was before she discovered on her window Jinx, a baku that she never bought, accompanied by an admission email to the famous academy… This is how the young girl made her debut in this school full of mysteries, just like her strange companion, who seems almost real ...
I like the story: we felt from the start that there was something not very clear with Jinx. I liked the reversal of the situation at the end, which suggests a hectic sequel for the next volume.

All of the students in the school seem slightly upset, and potentially dangerous to Lacey ... even her "friends."
I didn't particularly hang on the characters, and I even often looked up to the sky: between the romance, the arguments for nothing and the kid "I'm too mean but in reality, I will end up falling in love with you"… Afterward, we are faced with children, so…
On the other hand, I liked the link between Lacey and Jinx, which I find very interesting: in general, the bakus were good characters, which make all the originality of the series.

In short, a nice and original reading which I hope to discover more! ^^
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This was a very nice young adult book that I would be happy for one of my kids to read. I liked the story and the characters very much. I thought the material was appropriate for the age group. Will definitely look into more books from this author.
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Jinxed is perfect for those who enjoy reading the Harry Potter books, a little bit of magic and robots, what's not love.
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This is an amazing new middle grade novel! I really enjoyed it.

This story is set in a futuristic Toronto. It was a pleasant surprise that it was set in the city where I live. In this future, people have “bakus” which do everything that our phones do and more. The bakus come in different levels, depending on how skilled the person is and how much money they can afford to spend on one. The students who are the best of their class get sent to a special school where they can then get a job at the company that makes the bakus when they graduate.

There were a couple of mysteries in this story surrounding the disappearance of some people. Monica Chan, who created the baku, disappeared. Lacey’s father also abruptly left his job and disappeared, and no one knows what happened to him.

This story was fast paced and unpredictable. I was hooked on it right away. I’m so curious to find out what happens in the next book!

Thank you Sourcebooks Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Loved this! Great initial concept of the “Baku” but the battles made it even more interesting. It would have been a definite favorite of mine growing up. I’ll be booktalking this one for sure once it comes out. Just wish the sequel was ready!
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A fun read! I didn't know what to expect when I started this one, but I liked the cover, and the blurb sounded fun. I really enjoyed it, though, and am glad I got the chance to read it! I enjoyed the characters, and the story was well written!
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Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Oh boy, I wish I had dnf'd (not finished) this one.

Okay, first off the premise for this book intrigued me, which is why I chose it. Kind of like Pokemon mixed with a little bit of Hogwarts (school setting plus Lacey and Carter reminded me of Harry and Draco). 

The writing style is awful for me plus the structure of the book isn't done too well either. The jump between Lacey meeting Jinx and her going to the school was jarring. 

It also reads like a children's/middle grade book (like aged 11 characters) but I found out it's YA? The characters are written all wrong for me if it is actually is YA and it would be much better classed as middle grade.

I wanted to like this but found myself so disinterested by the end.
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Jinxed by Amy McCulloch is a middle grade series starter that is currently scheduled for release on January 7 2020. 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”—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 Lacey 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 for the future?

Jinxed is ba well written start to a new series. Lacey is a smart and determined middle school girl, who has her faults and makes mistakes but tries to to the right and best thing. The world and character building is well done, feeding readers the information they need at a good pace, neither overwhelming them with too much information at once or making them wonder if they missed something. I liked Lacey's character and the relationships she maintains or builds with those important to her- even if she makes some mistakes along the way. I liked the premise and the execution of it.  I thought that the technology in the story is well done, and not unrealistic when the story on how and why it was developed in considered. I would not be surprised if someone was already working on something of this nature. The implications of the technology is also well thought out and positioned in the story to be game changers.The characters are all complex, and even the ones we only see in passing feel complex and multi layered- leaving them plenty of room to play major roles in the upcoming books. My only complaint with the story is that it does end with a cliffhanger. The majority of the story is wrapped up and crisis managed, but there is a big new problem to deal with. I cannot wait for the next book so I can read all about what happens next. 

Jinxed is a very well written middle grade novel with great series potential. I am eager to see where Lacey and the other characters go from here.
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Recibí una copia de este libro de Netgalley para reseñar.

Creo que fue la portada lo que primero llamó mi atención, me gusta esta estética y el gato me convenció de leer la sinopsis. Últimamente me ha gustado leer middle grade así no le pensé dos veces para pedir Jinxed. Dentro de sus páginas encontré una historia atrapante  que se siente como una de esas películas donde un niño encuentra un compañero especial muy diferente a los demás donde se desarrolla una fuerte relación entre ambos y hacen todo por estar juntos.

Lacey siempre ha querido entrar a la secundaria Profectus porque sabe que ese es un camino seguro para entrar al trabajo que desea: ser un companioneer de Bakus. Estos seres mecánicos se han convertido en parte intrínseca de la vida de las personas. Son compañeros que funcionan mejor que un celular inteligente. Fueron creados por la ídolo de Lacey y quiere trabajar en esa empresa creada por ella. Encontrar a Jinx fue toda una suerte y pronto se crea ese vínculo entre la humana y su gato cibernético.

La narración y la historia son sencillas y y lo mejor es la relación entre Jinx y Lacey. Creo que haber hecho que compañero fuer aun gato le da un toque travieso a la historia y al ser mis animales favoritos ayudó a que disfrutara de mi lectura. 

No estaba segura de si iba a ser una serie pero al llegar al final supe que sí lo será. No puedo esperar a leer el segundo volumen.
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Lucy Chu is a smart girl with her while future ahead of her. Only issue is that dad is gone and they didn’t have enough money for her to attend the school she wants without a scholarship. Fortunately, she finds a way into the fancy engineering school. But is everything what it seems?

I did enjoy this world, although not sure Lucy and friends are quite written like middle school kids. Definitely they are written a little older, but it works anyway. There is definitely an audience for this even though it ends on a complete cliffhanger.
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