publisher: Disney Hyperion
release date: June 14th, 2011
hardcover, 448 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
sequel to: Bad Girls Don't Die (2009)
source: ARC from publisher for review
Warning! The description and review may contain slight spoilers for book one in this series!
description: Alexis is the last girl you'd expect to sell her soul for beauty and popularity. After all, she already has everything she needs--an adorable boyfriend, the perfect best friend, and a family that finally seems to be healing after her sister Kasey's unfortunate possession by an evil spirit.
But then Kasey tells Alexis about the mysterious new club she has joined, and the oath she has taken to someone named Aralt. Worried that Kasey's gotten in over her head again, Alexis and her best friend Megan decide to investigate by joining the Sunshine Club, too. At first, their connection with Aralt seems harmless. Alexis tries a new -- normal-- look, and finds herself reveling in her elegance and success.
Still, despite the Sunshine Club's outward perfection, the group is crumbling from within, and soon Alexis finds herself battling her own personal demons. She can hardly even remember why she joined in the first place. Surely it wasn't to destroy Aralt...why would she hurt someone who has given her so much, and asked for so little in return?
Review: I read Bad Girls Don't Die before my blogging days, but I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly creepy, the characters were strong, eccentric, and stepped away from many of the usual stereotypes we see so much of today. It hit on two things that absolutely freak me out---hauntings involving children and creepy possessed dolls (when i was growing up, my mom collected antique porcelain dolls---my imagination got away from me a few times late at night!). I had no idea this would be a series, as Bad Girls Don't Die had a definite ending, but when I heard about From Bad to Cursed, you can bet I was pretty excited to get my hands on it!
In this second installment, Kasey has come home from the mental hospital after almost killing the entire family and destroying their former home under the command of a spirit-possessed doll. Alexis is glad to have her home, but wary of Kasey's condition and how she'll fit in to her school life. She's torn between letting her fend for herself and keeping an eye on her to make sure nothing like what happened in their past ever happens again. Meanwhile she's trying to get on with her own life, balance boyfriend, school, and a high-stakes photography competition. Then Kasey starts hanging with a group who've dubbed themselves the Sunshine Club. At first it seems innocent enough, just a group of girls who have given themselves extreme makeovers inside and out. But Alexis soon discovers there is something way more sinister guiding them...and then she gets sucked into it herself.
There are some great twists and turns here, great intense story-telling, and lots of surprises. I definitely didn't feel this one was as scary as the first book---but definitely just as compelling. With a club full of 22 girls, sometimes there were a few too many names flying around to keep track of---there was one that became such an important part in the story in the second half, but I couldn't for the life of me, remember where she came from! I loved the ideas that are presented throughout this story---the question of what success and getting everything you want is worth. The question of doing for yourself and not putting too much blind faith in things working out fine on their own. Alexis and Kasey are both complicated characters this time around, and it's interesting and unique to hear a story told from the point of view of someone who is under a spell for a good part of the book.
A great second book---will there be more? I don't know, but I'll definitely be reading it if there is! Although, there would have to be a pretty good explanation as to why these two sisters keep landing themselves in paranormal trouble!
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