Bad Girls Don’t Die

cover image for Bad Girls Don't DieAlender, Katie. (2009) Bad Girls Don’t Die. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.

Plot Summary:

To say that Alexis and her sister don’t get along would be an understatement.  It doesn’t help that Kasey, always a bit odd, has been acting even weirder lately.  Kasey’s moodiness and obsession with her doll collection are the kinds of thing Alexis can blame on little sisters being little sisters.  But now Kasey can’t seem to remember the weird things that she did, and she’s using words that sounds like they should be coming from someone much older.  And did her eyes just change color?  As much Alexis tries to ignore it, there seems to be something very weird going on.

Critical Evaluation:

I’m not a huge fan of horror novels, so keep that in mind when I say that this story was very well written and kept me on the edge of my seat from the start.It’s hard to write a horror novel for younger adults in which readers actually believe anyone’s little sister is in danger, yet there were times when I wasn’t terribly sure that anyone other than Alexis would make it through.  Alender also does a nice job of having enough roller derby and not too much boyfriend; Carter’s there when you need him, but doesn’t stick around when you don’t – letting the focus be on Kasey and Alexis.

Reader’s Annotation:

Most little sisters do weird things form time to time, but when Kaseys’ eyes change color and her touch burns Alexis’ skin,  Alexis knows something more than just everyday weirdness is going on.


Fantasy and Horror

Booktalking Ideas:

Both the house and Kasey’s actions are downright creepy, I would very much talk about them and ask teens what they would do, where they would turn to if something like this began happening.

Reading Level/Target Age:

5th grade/13-17

Possible Controversy:

There is a reason why Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark consistently tops ALA’s list of most frequently challenged books.  Kids and teens love horror, but it makes many parents uncomfortable.  On top of the violence there is also the use of motifs that many religious groups find offensive or corrupting, such as curses, ghosts, and other supernatural elements.

Reasons For Choosing This Title:

I’ve got to admit, the cover drew me in.  I knew I needed to read some horror (I’ve read plenty of fantasy) and the cover for this book popped out and caught my eye as I was browsing the bookstore shelves.


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