In The Forbidden Game trilogy we meet Jenny Thornton, a high school junior who buys a game which ends up getting her friends and her dragged into another world, the shadow world, where Julian, the shadow man, waits, in love and determined to have her.
Two of Jenny’s most important traits are her sense of responsibility and loyalty. She takes her job as host for her boyfriend Tom’s birthday party seriously, saying that “You can’t just get seven people in a room, throw Doritos at them, and expect them to have a good time.”
Jenny values friendship. In fact the only reason that she hasn’t gotten around to figuring out all of the plans for the party is that first her friend Summer had a dog that needed to be put to sleep, and Dee had a martial arts competition, and Audrey had a fight with Michael. Jenny, of course, had to help them out.
Jenny seems to enjoy helping people. She volunteers every Friday at a swim class for disabled kids. And it’s not just people. Who can forget meeting Cosette, the cat that Jenny took in but which is still wild?
Because Jenny wants to help people, has such a sense of loyalty and responsibility, she’s calm in a crisis, her immediate urge to help her friends when her friends and her end up in the paper house. Jenny may want to give up at times but she always pushes through, preserveres, determined to overcome the obstacles thrown at her.
The main fault I find in Jenny’s character starts when the trilogy begins. Jenny is not the most independent person in the world. In fact, she’s quite the opposite. She’s known Tom since the second grade and it seems that she’s let him decide her life for just as long. She wears long skirts because they’re the kind that Tom likes, and always has her hair up, because Tom likes it that way. The gold dress she wears to the prom was never worn before because “Tom wouldn’t let her wear it.” When Julian comes into Jenny’s life she begins to learn that she can’t always lean on Tom. By the end of the second book she’s referring to Tom as an equal. Continuing the path to independence, the change is complete when the trilogy rolls to a stop at the end of The Kill.
The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith
Reflections on LJ Smith