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Friday, October 07, 2011

Premise? Intriguing. Execution? Not So Much.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for From Bad to Cursed, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Bad Girls Don't Die. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Katie Alender's first book, Bad Girls Don't Die, creeped me out. I didn't expect it to give me nightmares, but it did. Old-fashioned ghost stories don't appear that often in the vampire/werewolf/angel/demon/fairy/shape shifter-saturated world of YA fiction, so this one made me happy. News about a sequel made me even happier. Another sneaky, subtle scare fest? Yes, please!

So, did it work? Did it leave me trembling in my bed with the covers pulled over my head? Wait and see, my friends, wait and see ...

From Bad to Cursed begins about a year after Kasey Warren's possession by an evil ghost tears her family's lives to shreds. Now, with Kasey safely ensconced in an institution, the Warrens are eager to put the whole haunted house thing behind them. They've moved into Silver Sage Acres, a modern subdivision without enough personality to attract evil spirits. It feels safe, normal. Even 16-year-old Lexi Warren is breathing easy, looking forward to a new school year with the perfect boyfriend, the perfect best friend, even not-so-perfect, but better-than-average parents. Then she gets a shock: Kasey's back. Although the 14-year-old seems haunt-free, Lexi's wary. And disappointed. What if her perfect year turns out to be anything but?

Most kids go out of their way to avoid Kasey, so Lexi's thrilled when her sister starts making friends. She even becomes a founding member of the Sunshine Club, membership in which seems to be making her prettier, more outgoing, even popular. Lexi feels a tinge of jealousy as she watches Kasey and her dorky friends go from awkward to A-list in no time at all. Then she discovers Kasey's dirty little secret: the Sunshine girls have pledged their allegiance to a malovelent spirit named Aralt. Determined to protect her family from another paranormal assault, Lexi vows to take down the Sunshine Club, breaking Aralt's connection to the girls forever. But infiltrating the club won't be as simple as Lexi thinks it will be, especially not when she gets a taste of what Aralt can do for his faithful followers. Maybe a little deal with the devil's not such a bad thing after all ...

As much as I like the premise behind From Bad to Cursed, the execution didn't impress me. The story got too predictable, the characters felt stale, and whatever originality existed in the idea of the book didn't make it into the actual plot. I still booked through the novel in less than a day, so it was entertaining enough to keep my interest, just not enough to make me scream and shout and beg the author for another sequel. Not that I won't read the next book, because I totally will, but you get the point - this one was just okay for me.

(Readalikes: Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for intense situations

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of From Bad to Cursed from the generous folks at Disney/Hyperion. Thanks!


  1. I present Bloggin' 'bout Books with the Versatile Blogger Award. Details are on my blog. Thanks for keeping the art of being a bookworm alive!

    Linda @ Have you Read...

  2. Ghost stories never cease to scare me out of my ever loving mind. I have a hard time for scary and yet...still want to read it. I suppose that makes me a masochist. I know what you mean about only having so-so feelings about this book but will still read the next. Hopefully the third book will be better. In YA, I've found second books in a series to be not so good as I'd always hoped.


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