Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

Oooh, a teen review! This is probably the last of my handful of teen reviews for the year. I rarely review teen titles, so you know this one has to be extra, extra good right?

Well, not really. It's more that it appeals to my somewhat odd sense of humor. I generally don't read "good" books. I do collection development for the teens through a combination of Junior Library Guild, bestseller lists, review journals, teen requests, and suggestions from other librarians who are more teen-centric than I am. Teens at our library are pretty much ignored unless they're making too much noise. I do skim through everything I buy though, which is how I found this title.

So, Tyler is a pretty average sophomore. He's not a genius, but he studies hard, has a girlfriend (Kelley) and is still a little surprised that she picked him, and has a sort of best friend, Adam. He's pretty mad that his nasty history teacher, Mr. Click, gave him on F on his history test. It wasn't his fault that one of the biggest, toughest guys in school cheated off his paper!

Tyler is thinking of telling the principal, but Adam (who might just be a little psycho) has a better idea: Voodoo! Tyler thinks the whole idea is crazy, but one little accident later, there are body parts flying, then dead bodies, thugs, police, insane religious cults, and he's missing a significant number of toes. Several wild car chases and a lot of blood later, the story is over and the reader is sick with laughter (or just sick, depending on your tolerance level for gore). The violence isn't actually that graphic, descriptively speaking, except for maybe the part with the ear.

This story reminded me really strongly of the Deadpool comics (of which I am a big fan). Authorial interjections (both from Jeff Strand and Tyler himself, who tells the story), snarky jokes written into the text, like a book review cheat guide chapter and a missing chapter replaced by a letter from the fictional editor, lots of witty dialogue, insanity that's somehow logical, and gore pepper the text.

The characters themselves are hilarious starting with the narrator, clueless good guy Tyler "I advocate peaceful solutions to conflict whenever possible, and there are very few circumstances under which it's okay to bash somebody's head against the wall. I feel that this was one of them."

Psycho neurotic Adam, "He gave us a smile that was a combination of Oh yeah, dude, I'm totally evil and I want my mommy."

Snarky smart Kelley, "You know Tyler, I'm putting up with a lot for a relationship that was never going to last past high school."

There are a couple points where the additional material is a bit too much - the editorial letter was kind of annoying and the final FAQ could have been left out - but overall this was a funny, funny read and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Verdict: As the author says, "[you have to] think that people losing body parts is funny, because that's basically the whole book." Teens who like funny, bloody, and weird will go for this. It never crosses the line into gross or graphic and there is lots of snark. So, basically, anyone who likes Deadpool but less graphic.

ISBN: 1402266804; Published June 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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