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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Bad Girls Don't Die: As Dead as it Gets

As Dead As It Gets - Katie Alender This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: So much cover love. Even before reading the book I was a big fan of the creep factor behind each of the Bad Girls Don't Die covers. After reading, I am happy to note that every detail included in this cover, from the dress to the flowers, is reflective of the story. The color scheme features the prettiest lavender and makes me want to blow it up and frame it.The Gist: Alexis and ghosts go way back. She has successfully thwarted both a possessed doll and a demon seeking poise, perfection and death. These encounters have left her with the ability to see ghosts through the lens of a camera and stripped her of her best friend, her boyfriend and now the one thing that was keeping her sane; her photography.Review: I have been waiting for this finale for a very long time. I had high hopes of growth for Alexis and some truly scary moments for myself. I was not disappointed on either point.The fact that Alexis only sees ghosts (other than Lydia) in pictures and on film is a really neat twist. Especially being faced with them in magazines and textbooks. It makes me think about how often we look at photographs and video in our everyday lives. For Alexis, this twist seems to take away the one constant in her life – her photography. At this point, she has lost Megan, Carter and now her one refuge. It makes for a bleak start to the novel but I think Alexis needed to be broken down and stripped of her safety blankets so that she could grow into a better person. This plot twist also creates some truly terrifying moments. Imagine shooting pictures in the dark that show a gruesome specter standing right in front of you, but not being able to actually see the creature with your own eyes. It adds an extra element of terror to the novel's ghostly encounters. This time around, the ghosts are incredibly intense and terrifically terrifying. This is not one to read while home alone. Or perhaps it is the perfect book for that.Alexis continues to struggle with her character flaws but growth is on the horizon, I promise! I know some readers are annoyed by characters who take too long to start behaving in a manner that we see fitting, but I believe Alender has portrayed an accurate representation of the effort and emotion that goes into seeing one's flaws and attempting to fix them. That said, I was very happy when Alexis finally begins to trust other people and, eventually, herself. And then there is Lydia. Despite her trying to kill all the member of the Sunshine club in From Bad to Cursed, I always liked Lydia. I was very happy to see her return and even more happy to see her role advance from background lurker to strong supporting character. Lydia has a way with snarky remarks and reminds me that even the prickliest of teenagers can be hiding a real strength of character beneath.Katie Alender manages to create a plot with an exciting blend of low build and high action. Chilling moments are interspersed with emotional breakdowns and relationship building. The intricacies of the story are slowly revealed and begin to knit together to create an ending that incredibly satisfying for those of us who have read and loved this series and these characters (even Alexis). I am sad to see it end, but happy that it did so on a high note. I cannot wait to see will flow from Mrs. Alender's pen next. Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 13 and upGender: Female, though not strictly.Sex: KissingViolence: Death by falling, Attempted murder/suicideInappropriate Language: NoneSubstance Abuse: Some underage drinkingNotable Quotables: “A cute accountant, piped up the voice in the back of my head. Shut up, voice.”“After school one Monday, I decided I deserved a break. A little fun in my life, for once. So I set aside the whole afternoon to organize the kitchen junk drawer.”