Review: Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

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 twelve-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 class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

Title: Bad Girls Don’t Die (Bad Girls Don’t Die #1)
Author: Katie Alender
Publication date: April 21, 2009

Last year I read The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender and I was going to say that I didn’t care much for it but now I see that I gave it four stars. Rereading my review, I do remember liking it, but I liked Bad Girls Don’t Die much better. (Which makes it kind of strange that I’m giving it four stars too, but whatever. Ratings are subjective anyway.)

Alexis isn’t the usual YA main character. She’s an outcast at school (which is typical ya), she’s also the kind of kid your parents warned you about. She sometimes hangs out with the Doom Squad, who are basically goths, but she doesn’t really like them. She gets in trouble a lot, spending every Saturday in detention. However, she’s basically a good girl version of a bad girl. She doesn’t do anything really bad like stealing or dealing drugs. She dyes her hair pink and slaps “Gas Guzzler” bumper stickers on every SUV in the school parking lot, that kind of thing. She embraces her outcast status but the popular kids know who she is and interact with her on a regular basis, especially as the book goes on.

She also catches the eye of one of the guys in the group. He’s new to the school and pretty much doesn’t care that he’s not supposed to like Alexis. I liked him at least as much as I liked Alexis, but unfortunately I didn’t feel any real chemistry between them. Oh well. Their romance isn’t the main part of the story anyway.

The meat of the story relates to the creepy house Alexis lives in with her family. Not only is her house creepy, but her sister Kasey collects all these creepy dolls too. Alexis and Kasey suffer from Absent Parent Syndrome; their parents are out all the time. Her mom is working crazy hours for a promotion and her dad, well I don’t remember where he was the first part of the book, but he spends the last half of it in the hospital. I guess that’s a good way to get rid of him and make it more believable that Alexis is the only one who notices that something is going on in their house. Even so, there are early hints that something is wrong with Kasey. The official story is that Kasey’s best friend Mimi broke her arm when she fell while running, but Mimi claims that Kasey broke her arm.

As strange things start happening, Alexis has to keep an eye on her sister and try to figure out what’s happening and how to stop it. I didn’t find the book all that scary, but I’m pretty hard to scare and I did still enjoy it. I was really into what was happening to Kasey and why, and I liked that she had to dig into the past to figure out what was going on. The best thing is, Bad Girls Don’t Die is the first book in a trilogy. I’m excited to read the rest!

4 stars