Despite the seemingly cliche concept; haunted house, demonic doll, possessed child hell-bent on a murderous rampagem, Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender is a really good book.
I think what worked best for the author is to start the book with the young girl, Kasey, already possessed by the demon haunting their house. All the events take place in less than a week, creating a sense of urgency with the book, and also making it impossible to find a page to put the book down (I seriously read as I brushed my teeth, I could not part with this book for more than 1 minute). The characters are, well, normal teenagers. Kasey’s older sister Alexis is an outcast at school. She’s not a cheerleader, but she’s not a part of the local band of misfits she’s dubbed The Doom Squad. Katie is her own person, who is not afraid to stand up to the cheerleaders and to protest something she doesn’t support. Her parents are drifting apart, as her mother puts in extra hours at work to gain a promotion, and her father is always at a friend’s house to watch sports. This leaves Kasey and Alexis to their own anti-social devices, although Kasey is content with just building her doll collection.
I did think that Alexis was a wonderful narrator, not to insightful but clever enough to be able to figure out what was going on and what to do. The story slowly grows larger and more complicated but each new piece of information or character introduction plays a relevant part in figuring out Kasey’s mystery. I would definately recommend this book to teens who are interested in horror stories. As usual, this book is geared towards girls, as they are the main characters. Why are females always the vengeful ghosts? (well, minus Hamlet). I wonder if its just the books I’m reading, or if nearly all teen books are geared towards girls? I need to start reading more boy-audience books.
Just a personal note, I was quite miffed at the school librarian in Bad Girls Don’t Die. I don’t think she handled the situation well, and I can’t believe the school encouraged certain books to be withheld from the library stacks.Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender Hyperion Books, 2009 ISBN 1423108764 346 pages