Saturday, October 17, 2009

YA Weekend: R.I.P. Challenge Books

October is a fun month to read creepy books. Halloween and Autumn just put me in the mood for mysteries and thrillers.

I've had my eye on Bad Girls Don't Die by Kate Alender since I first noticed it in the blogging world last spring. From the reviews I read, it sounded so deliciously creepy.

High school student Alexis goes along with her life in typical teenage fashion, trying to fit in with the "Doom Squad" and but not quite feeling like they are really her crowd. She's not entirely sure where she fits in. She also has a fairly dysfunctional family with a workaholic mother, a dad who doesn't really seem to be involved much, and a younger sister Kasey who borders on quite weird. Kasey seems overly obsessed with her doll collection, even at age thirteen. Kasey has been ostracized by her friends and Alexis starts to see things are getting a little out of control. But Alexis can't quite figure out what Kasey's deal is. Bad Girls Don't Die evokes a few memories of The Exorcist. ;-) Actually, I'd be curious to know if the author got a bit stuck in the middle of the book. I felt the first half had one feel or tone to the story and then all of sudden with help from an unlikely friend Alexis figures out what's going on and the second half of the book has a much different feel to it. I actually liked the first half of the book better. The sort of mystery of it all. And the second half felt like I was reading a movie script...predictable and contrived. But overall, I enjoyed this quick YA read and would recommend it to anyone looking for something creepy to read. I would have LOVED this book as a teenager. Sidenote: I ended up reading the second half of this one night, in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. THAT made it even more CREEPY! Shockingly I was able to go back to sleep when I was through and didn't have freaky dreams.

Though I have the novel Coraline on my bookshelf and was hoping to knock it off my TBR list and get one of my bookshelf books read. It's been sitting there for over a year now. I actually decided to read the graphic novel version instead. I've been in the mood for a graphic novel lately and this just seemed to fit the bill. About half way through, I was thinking to myself that I probably wouldn't read the novel after reading the graphic novel, because I felt like I would simply visualize the comic people in my mind instead of whatever I would have conjured up myself from Gaiman's descriptive writing. However, by the end of the graphic novel, I do believe I would like to read the novel as well. This story was just as creepy as Bad Girls Don't Die. I'm actually surprised that a graphic novel creeped me out just as much as novel. I think it was the Other Mother. Man, she was just awful! I highly recommend either version of this story for a fun Halloween read and I'm sure the movie that came out last year is just as good.

Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn is a middle-grade mystery that I have seen reviewed several places around the book blog world. The reviews only mildly peaked my interest. It wasn't until passing it on the library bookshelf that I decided I wanted to give it a try. And even though I've already read my four books for the R.I.P. IV Challenge, I figure why stop just because I hit FOUR. I also have a copy of Hahn's The Doll in the Garden sitting on my bookshelf. If that is as good as this one, I think I might have to delve into that one soon.

In Closed For the Season, Logan and his family move into an old rundown house in a new town and quickly learn that it is referred to as "the murder house". The previous owner, Mrs. Donaldson was murdered because she discovered someone embezzling money from The Magic Forest, the local amusement park. Logan meets a brainy and precocious boy next door named Arthur. The two pal around and decide to try and solve Mrs. Donaldson's murder running into the rough and tumble of the town as well as the hoyt-y toyt-y (hmm....spelling on that one?). The boys soon learn they don't know who they can trust, but they persevere and try to solve the mystery.

This book is a very fun middle-grade mystery. It actually reminded me a bit of a Nancy Drew book (or I suppose Hardy Boys--though I never read any of those. The Hardy Boys were mentioned in passing by one of the characters in this book.). Just an old-fashioned kids-stumble-upon-a-mystery-and-try-to-solve-it book. I really enjoyed this one and I think the middle-school version of me would have loved it!

These would be books #3, 4 and 5 that would work for the R.I.P. IV Reading Challenge! Yay! I completed a challenge! And this was a great one! I plan on doing it again next year, assuming Carl plans on hosting it again. :-)

Source disclosure: I borrowed all of these books from the library.

1 comment:

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