BAD HAIR DAY: The Geek’s Back

BAD HAIR DAY by Carrie Harris (I really love the cover, it’s so eye-catching!)

Genre: YA Mystery
Series: Kate Grable #2 (sequel to BAD TASTE IN BOYS)
AuthorCarrie Harris

Recommended? Not really. It’s a quick read and funny, so if you’re into those things then…

I didn’t like this book as much as the first in the Kate Grable series (first one: BAD TASTE IN BOYS). It just didn’t have the same “must keep reading” pace the first one did. Worse yet, there weren’t really any zombies, so that’s a bummer. I do so love zombies.

This time it was werewolf-ish things, which I’m not fond of… werewolves are probably my least favorite mythological creatures. Kate was, again, doing dumb things. The first time around her reluctance to tell others about the drama she found made sense somehow, there were enough explanations, but this time… it was just silly. Why wouldn’t she tell people her mentor got arrested? Why did she have to do everything by herself when she had a cop on hand that would believe her instantly? Harris introduced us to this very nice, very helpful cop at the start.

And Aaron (Kate’s boyfriend/love interest)… I really was never sold on him. He’s too perfect. In the first book he wasn’t given much time, and they weren’t dating yet, so I didn’t mind. This time around, he was again pretty much spot-on perfect and their relationship was just… meh. I didn’t feel the passion and I didn’t really invest myself in the relationship. If it failed, I wouldn’t have cared. I like guys with flaws, there’s no such thing as a perfect person, even if it is just a book.

There was a girl in the book that “threatened” the relationship because she was all over Aaron and she was truly pointless. That was too much unneeded drama added, which didn’t do anything for the story. Plus in the end, her character made no sense. She did two complete 180s in the story in the span of, like, five pages. First she went, really, really, really crazy (beyond normal teen girl fighting-over-a-guy crazy), when there was no hint to her being that insane before–seriously, she tried to run Kate over with a car. That’s bat shit crazy and mega extreme. Then in a snap, she was all sane again and… interested in Kate’s little geek brother? What? HUH? Why? Her character made no sense and wasn’t needed.

Who the bad guy is was obvious from the start, and again his reason for being crazy made little sense. I just didn’t feel it. Yet again, Kate solves the problem by accident. I won’t say how, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but seriously…? She lucked into the solution for the zombie problem (her medicine) and then lucked into her solution a second time? If she’s such a brainy girl, why can’t she just figure it out herself? I didn’t buy it. It was too convenient. It’s not like the story is very long, Harris could have added more–like, at least Kate figuring it out without pure chance–to make it more than just 200 pages.

Then there was another unneeded mild annoyance. I am by no means a Twilight fan. I couldn’t care less for that series (or the movies) but Harris really hits on it a lot. It was mentioned at least three times (snark about sparkling vampires, being team Edward, etc) and it just seemed unneeded. I remember it happening in the first book at least once. I’m unsure why Harris feels the need to throw it in there.

Looking over my review, I realize I didn’t point out anything postive. Harris is a good writer, she has a witty voice and obviously a clever person herself to come up with such medical centered plots. The pace was again very good (it was the concept and lack of character developments that ultimately hindered it) and she does pack in a lot of story in just over 200 pages, which is extremely impressive. I’m still a fan of hers, even if this book wasn’t as good as the first one. I enjoyed reading it and I don’t regret it, there were just things that were lacking.

If there is another book in this series, I’m not sure I’ll pick it up. If Harris writes a new, unrelated book I know I will read it. She’s a good writer, this book just wasn’t my type.

Bad Taste In Boys: Geek v. Zombies

bad taste in boys

Cover found at Library Thing

Genre: YA Thriller
Author: Carrie Harris
Recommended? Yes. Zombies + Strong Heroine Geek + Fast Pace = Awesome.

BAD TASTE IN BOYS has been out for a while. For whatever reason, I never picked it up. I don’t know why, I always thought the cover was interesting. I guess it was the title that turned me off. Eventually I actually read the synopsis for it and realized it wasn’t a contemporary romance YA (which, I thought it was for some reason) but it was really about zombies! Awesome, right? I think I’ve mentioned before my weird little obsession with zombies. I just can’t get enough of them. This is the plot from Goodreads:

Someone’s been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick the book up is how small it is. Including the acknowledgment, dedication, and other necessary pages, it’s around just 220 pages. The story itself is only 202 pages. That intrigued me right away, could an author really put together a compelling story with real characters in such a little word count? Harris apparently could.

Granted, Kate really is the only developed character. All her friends and Aaron (her love interest) are only in the story for short periods of time, since Kate does most of the action/heroing moments by herself. Jonah, her little brother, gets a good chunk of time and he is amusing. Personally, I don’t mind not getting to know the others that well. Kate is more than enough to carry the story. She’s engaging, so clever, funny, and a total geek — which I loved.

The pace in the book is pretty fast. The soon-to-be-zombie-problem is hinted at almost right away and comes into play by the second chapter. The roller coaster ride continues strong throughout the book and once it’s resolved the book doesn’t dillydally around, it gives a nice ending and stops.

There were some dumb moments. Kate keeps a closed mouth about a lot of the weird things that are going on when she could just tell someone (like her dad or the police) and maybe some of the drama could have been avoided but… where would the fun be in that? Harris gives good enough reasons for her not to go telling everything about the problems right away, and there are zombies so you have to pull away from reality a little to enjoy the book. Another thing that bothered me a sometimes was how stereotypical some of the teens were… like the dumb jocks and perfect homecoming queen friend. I know stereotypes tend to be true, hence why they are always around, but still, they’re bothersome. And Aaron doesn’t seem to have a flaw, aside from bad taste in a best friend. I really enjoy it when the love interest isn’t perfect but, like I said, though he was mentioned often he was really only in the book six or seven times. Kate, thankfully, isn’t the stereotypical geek and has a few flaws.

BAD HAIR DAY is out now and the second in the series. Like any strong series, the first book could totally stand alone. It closes with all the important things wrapped up, but it does give the reader a desire to see what happens to Kate next.If you like zombies, or you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable YA read, I’d recommend picking up a copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS.