Bad Girls Don’t Die
(Bad Girls Don’t Die #1)
by Katie Alender
I hate it when I get blamed for something I didn’t do. That’s what really drives up the tension in this ghostly thriller. Little Kasey starts doing hateful things and blaming her big sister Alexis. Not just the usual “Where did this dent come from?” type of finger-pointing, but someone cut the brake lines on their father’s car, landing him in the hospital.
“I mean, she’s going to find something tonight,” Kasey said.
I didn’t answer.
“Something that will make you look very bad…”
“What are you trying to say?”
“You don’t want to get arrested, do you?” Kasey asked, her lips working hard to keep from smiling.
Alexis Warren is one of those kids that always seems to find herself in trouble and spends as much time in the nurse’s office as in class. She hangs out with a clique she refers to as the Doom Squad, but starts to grow more distant from them as she develops a crush on a preppy boy named Carter Blume.
Her sister Kasey becomes increasingly obsessed with a genealogy project about local folks who grew up in their small town of Surrey. That’s not too unusual in itself, right? In fact, it takes Alexis’ nemesis, a cheerleader, to point out the fact that the reason Kasey has been such a jerk lately is that she’s possessed. Megan is sure she’s seen this before, though. Megan grew up without her Mom… but before she died, things had gotten scary for her family once. And guess whose house they used to live in?
As Alexis learns more about the history of the town and its inhabitants and why her sister is so interested in their genealogy, she dreams about a tragedy. She sees a girl climb up a tree, (the tree outside her house, her bedroom in fact,) to escape bullies. The kids throw rocks and the girl falls to her death.
But it’s not necessarily the child who is influencing the living from beyond. Years ago there was a fire. Megan’s house, where Alexis now lives, was set aflame by her mother and Megan was discovered wandering the streets. Megan’s mother was consumed with rage– Does it linger in the house?
Why didn’t the police get involved with Mr. Warren’s car accident when the brake lines had clearly been cut? Kasey admits that instead of blaming Alexis, she influenced the police chief with her new supernatural abilities. Abilities that also include flinging Alexis across the room like a rag doll.
“Ever since I was a little girl, whenever I was around people –fortune tellers, psychics– they’re all afraid of me.”
“I just walk by their tents, and they come out and start yelling at me… They tell me Sarah is here, and Sarah is angry, and Sarah hates you! And they’re so scared; they just want me to go away. They get so upset.”
Relationship conflicts abound in a cloud of painful emotion; Alexis’ friends don’t care for the cheerleaders too much and question why she is spending so much time with Megan. Pepper Laird from the popular set wants Carter for herself, and explains to Alexis with a tough dose of reality just why Carter would be better off without her.
Then, in a moment of clarity, Kasey confides in Alexis that by midnight the following night, the anniversary of the tragedy, she has to choose whether she will be with her new “friend”… forever.
The story rides just enough tension to pull us through until all the clues come together. Alexis realizes that the object anchoring the evil spirit to her house, to Kasey, is a doll from her visions. But where is it? Will she find it before Kasey’s body is forfeit to the hateful spirit forever?
The book’s notably atmospheric cover art of a solitary barefoot girl hiding in an old American home adds a nice twist to the typical gothic romance cover. The next books in the frightening romantic trilogy are From Bad to Cursed, and As Dead as it Gets, both continuations of Alexis’ encounters with the spirit world. Readers who enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood would love this series.