Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Title: Bad Girl's Don't Die
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: April 21, 2009
Rating: 5/5

Cover Impressions:
The colors here are beautifully muted and soft.  The scrollwork adds a delicate detail and reflects the lace curtain.  The image of the little girl hiding in lace is just creepy enough to set the tone, without over-doing the "freak out" factor. 

The Gist:
Alexis lives in the quintessential Halloween Haunted House.  She has always liked it, until her sister starts acting strangely.  Suddenly the house appears much more sinister and Alexis must enlist the help of those she least expected in order to save her sister and banish the evil that surrounds her.

This is my second time reading Bad Girls Don't Die.  Even so, I could only read it in bed if my husband was there.  Katie Alender does an excellent job of creating that delicious sense of suspense that only truly great scary stories can achieve.  She is also incredibly skilled at writing scenes that begin with the easily explained and end with the truly terrifying.

The story falls on the shoulders of Alexis who is, at best, a deeply flawed character.  She is usually callous and sometimes mean.  She often goes out of her way to spread rumors about those who have hurt her in the past.  This is not the character you root for from the beginning.  This is the character that you realize has a lot of growing up to do and hope that she does.  I have encountered these types of character before, but I am very pleased that in Alexis' case, all of her growing up does not occur within the first book.  She continues this development and I hope by the third book in the series will have become a character I can be proud of.

Alender also does quite a good job of painting realistic relationships, between Alexis and her "arch enemy", her crush and her sister.  The cheerleader is not all villain, there is no insta-love and the sisters do not bond over boys and shopping.  Instead, we see these relationships grow and develop (albeit under extreme circumstances) and Alexis begins to see the value in each, especially the love for her family.

There are far too few truly creepy YA books out there.  We tend to gorge ourselves on this genre in younger years, with Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark, but we seem to lose it as we get older.  Thank you Katie Alender for bringing me back to those childhood moments of sneaking a flashlight into my room and reading beneath the covers. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both, though leaning a little more toward the females
Sex: A kiss
Violence: Attempted poisoning, death by gas, fire
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse: None

Noteable Quotables:

"Preps are like cheerleaders, only with less jumping"

"A Kasey-size shadow as way back in the darkest corner of the room, near the long-abandoned tool bench, making clanking noises as it dug through piles of discarded junk.  Werewolf, my brain said.  Zombie!"


Anonymous said...

This sounds really good! I've never heard of it, but I'm always in search of a thrilling YA novel that has a little bit of suspense.

Katie Alender said...

Thank you so much for this review. I'm secretly (not-so-secretly? Lol!) thrilled that you mention Alexis's development over the whole series! Book 1 was initially a standalone so breaking up the happy ending and letting Alexis continue to grow was really interesting for me as a writer... Love knowing people picked up on that!

Zabet said...

@nerdybookreviews - I love this series, you should definitely give it a shot!

@Katie Alender Thank you so much for commenting and for writing this fantastic series. I am totally fan-girling here because you found your way to my blog! I can't wait to see what else you have in the works!

Post a Comment