Tommy Nightmare: (Jenny Pox #2)

Tommy Nightmare  - J.L. Bryan A super follow-up to Jenny Pox! It is going to be really hard to discuss this book without spoilers for the first book or this one. So be warned...a few spoilers make sneak in. The story picks up shortly after the events of the first book and includes a story thread of government intervention to explain and cover up what happened in the first book. And of course, there is one determined epidemiologist who wants to get to the bottom of it.The beginning of Tommy Nightmare felt a little slower than Jenny Pox, but starts out in a similar way--looking at his past. We see what Tommy's childhood was like living with an emotionally and physically abusive foster family. An unfortunate event involving his power, and an unexpected opportunity, as a child propels him to escape his horrible living environment. As a child, Tommy starts out as decent kid in a bad situation who seems fearful of his power. As we get to know him as an older, street-smart teen, he is in prison and doesn't hesitate to use his power to get what he wants. When he sees Ashleigh on TV, he recognizes her as someone significant to him and is compelled to find her. And he a way. Yes, folks...she's ba-aaack! And she is just as devious as before. This time she seems more interested in revenge than a political agenda. You’ll have to read the book though to find out just how she makes her way back into this story.This is a series book that doesn't use a new pair of main characters and a different story line like many series do. It is more of a continuation of the first book so we have all the main characters from the first book as prominent characters in this book as well, plus a couple of new introductions. In fact, even though Tommy is the title character and we see him a lot in the beginning, he seems to fade into the background a bit while Jenny, Seth, and yes, even Ashleigh, eventually seem to take over the story as the book progresses. Tommy's power is to instill fear with his touch. He is supposed to have the opposite power to Ashleigh so I had expected his power to be the ability to instill hate. I guess opposite powers aren't always direct opposites. And in fact, we learn briefly that there are different types of power pairs including complementary and cross powers. I would like to have learned more about these types of powers but there wasn’t much elaboration on it. It’s going on the “stuff I hope is explained in the next book” list. When Tommy learns what happened to Ashleigh, it puts Jenny and Seth in his crosshairs. Not only do Jenny and Seth have to worry about the government investigation, but now there is someone else "like them" out there and he seems to have a grudge against them.Esmeralda and Alexander are two additional supernaturals in this story (not sure what they are even supposed to be called). Esmeralda can listen to the dead while Alexander can animate the dead. Esmeralda is supposed to be Alexander's opposite, but again, it doesn't seem like an opposite power to me. This pair of powers seems more complementary than opposite. I guess I don't have a handle on this power thing yet. I love the way JL has intertwined all the characters and their powers in past and current lives. He keeps peeling away the layers to reveal more and more of how these characters and their powers relate to each other. We get to peek into Jenny's past lives; showing us some of the past lives of the others as well, and we get a better sense of what they are. If you felt the ending of the first book was unexpected and needed more explanation, this book should help to give you a little more insight. However, it is a slow reveal throughout the story and I don't feel like we have really discovered all there is to know about them. The character I want to know more about is Alexander. I find him to be very intriguing and I am eager to find out more about him.JL has given us another great story that sucks you right in. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it didn't absorb me quite as much as the first book, but it is still a great follow-up to Jenny Pox. I think the writing is even a little tighter. There wasn’t as much extra description, especially with Ashleigh’s character, which was a minor nitpick for me in the first book. It does end with a significant cliffhanger that leaves several story threads hanging and there is also an unexpected twist that has left me with tons of questions that hopefully will be addressed in the next book, which is expected to come out Fall of 2011. **drums fingers on table** Um, is it Fall yet? ;)This book is so entwined with events and characters from the first book that I would highly recommend starting with the first book, Jenny Pox. And fortunately, JL has made that so very easy to do by offering the Jenny Pox ebook for only $0.99 on Amazon and B&N! A deal of most awesomeness :D I don’t know when the sale ends so don’t wait too long to grab it! I am having a hard time rating this book and keep flip-flopping between 4 and 5 stars. Damn my decision not to do half stars! Okay, here we go...4 stars. I was sucked in but no slurping noises this time ;) Rating: 4 - I Really (Really) Liked It (Really!)Note: Just for readers' reference -- like the first book there is a bit of sexual content. Though I think it was a little less than the first book, this is just a heads up for those who are concerned about this in a YA/Teen book.