“Bad Hair Day”
Author: Carrie Harris
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Summary (taken from GoodReads): Senior year is positively hair-raising.
Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.
Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.
It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.
Cover impressions: I had the first book in the series, “Bad Taste in Boys” on my radar thanks to its gleefully kitsch 50s sci-fi B-movie synopsis yet never got around to reading it, mainly because I could never find it in UK and I’m too cheap to pay for shipping. I began reading the 2nd in the series with the typical hesitations of a reader coming into a series without the full story, but luckily it was easy enough to pick up in this short, if tiresome read. Once again, this is a paranormal YA that promises big and doesn’t deliver.
I really should have written this review straight after finishing the book, but university work got in the way, because it was entirely forgettable and I’m having trouble remembering simple elements such as character names. This isn’t a good sign. Unfortunately, “Bad Hair Day” is generic in every sense of the word. The heroine is the geek who doesn’t know she’s pretty, the handsome but bland love interest, the shoe-horned in romantic conflict, the quirky but mostly absent parents and sibling, the casual disparaging comments towards girls who present a threat – they’re all here. At times it feels like join-the-dots storytelling, especially since the pacing for this short book is completely erratic, veering between fumbled exposition and drawn out and entirely unnecessary romance subplot and shorts bursts of action that do nothing to liven up what should be a short, silly read. Despite the attempts at humour – and I did snigger once or twice – the book never fully decides whether it wants to be a camp take on kitschy horror and sci-fi or a conventional paranormal tale. I’m personally quite disappointed that it didn’t take the latter route since the genre desperately needs less po-faced seriousness.
The book reads younger than YA, with the immaturity of the supposed genius teenage heroine seeming more suited to a middle-grade character. There is potential present in the spin on the zombie and werewolf mythos, grounding it in science rather than legend, but it falls flat due to painful exposition and a lack of focus. There’s nothing in this book to outright hate, it’s just too bland and inoffensive for that.
My ARC was received from NetGalley.com. "Bad Hair Day" will be released in USA on 13th November 2012.