Fernanda and Annelise are so close they are practically sisters: a double image, inseparable. So how does Fernanda end up bound on the floor of a deserted cabin, held hostage by one of her teachers and estranged from Annelise?
... rife with gothic body horror and the darkness of the jungle and within ourselves ... This is not just a tale of young female friendship gone too far, it’s a warning about the dangers of allowing desires to grow uncontrolled and unquestioned, of ceding one’s self to another’s dark impulses ... there are real forces at work in the novel as well—it’s not all just horror stories and scary games, abandoned buildings and encroaching forest ... Although critics reference Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson, Ojeda is a strikingly singular voice, combining basic teen angst with stark madness and the power of teen girls to push back in a world that tries to make them powerless.
... reveals the razor-thin line between fear and desire, and the horror of becoming a woman ... depicts the process of becoming a woman as the ultimate horror story ... With terrifying ease, Ojeda illustrates how womanhood is characterized by dualities: fearful and feared, desired and desiring. The line between them is so thin there is hardly a difference. Women’s potential for duality makes us powerful, but it is also the reason that we have to live in fear.
Despite the familiar undergirding of its privileged, manipulative school girls, Jawbone distinguishes itself through fevered brilliance. Clara’s struggles stand in vulnerable, vengeful contrast to the girl’s behavior. Like the strange bloom of a corpse flower, the novel Jawbone evokes life, death, and a vortex of twisted beauty.