Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy thirteen-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.
When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.
Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the student council VP. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?
Bad Girls Don't Die is a great spooky suburban tale to stay up and read late at night. With quirky characters, just the right amount of thrill, and a dash of teeny romance, it makes for the perfect light, fall read. Do dolls creep you out? Well read on, my friend, read on.
Alexis was a pretty typical suburban teenager. Her view of the world is short-sighted, but this does not make for a shallow character. She's a small-time anarchist, the girl with the picket signs and spray paint, who does photography on the side.
Kasey, the doll collector of the story, was a bit of a weak character. For most of the novel, her personality is more of a vehicle for the ghost, than an actual character. She really gets overshadowed in the novel, but it makes room for a nice spooky tale. Also, despite missing out on Kasey's true personality, the reader does get to see the love between Kasey and Alexis in Alexis' thoughts and scenes towards the end of the novel.
Carter Blume, in all his blue-eyed charm, was a delicious romantic addition to a spooky tale. His fondness for architecture, dark past, and interest in Alexis lend his character depth. He's the character you're hoping will pop up in every scene and spout lovey-dovey brilliance, as he often does.
Megan was probably my favorite character. She was really spunky, and not your average depthless literary cheerleader. The ghostly story of her mother's death, and how it connects to Kasey's turmoil, makes for great reading and really thickens the plot of the novel.
The plot of this novel moves along nicely, between romantic scenes with Carter, creepy scenes with Kasey, and the quickening drip of details from a horrific past, you won't want to put this book down. The only part of the plot I found even the least bit hard to swallow was the very end, but I'm a sucker for a less-than-happy ending. It was a bit too straightforward and cheery for me.
Overall, this was definitely a fun ghost story, and I'd recommend it for late night reading when schoolwork has attacked your brain. This is a great debut novel from Katie Alender, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
Character Development: 7/10
P.S. Read my interview with Katie Alender here.
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