- Reading level: Ages 12 and up
- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (June 14, 2011)
Alexis is the last girl you'd expect to sell her soul. She already has everything she needs--an adorable boyfriend, the perfect best friend, and a little sister who’s finally recovering after being possessed by an evil spirit, then institutionalized.
Alexis is thrilled when her sister joins a club; new friends are just what Kasey needs. It’s strange, though, to see how fast the girls in The Sunshine Club go from dorky and antisocial to gorgeous and popular. Soon Alexis learns that the girls have pledged an oath to a seemingly benevolent spirit named Aralt. Worried that Kasey's in over her head again, Alexis and her best friend Megan decide to investigate by joining the club themselves. At first, their connection with Aralt seems harmless. Alexis trades in her pink hair and punky clothes for a mainstream look, and quickly finds herself reveling in her newfound elegance and success.
Instead of fighting off the supernatural, Alexis can hardly 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?
This book was so creepy good! I have to say, though I love the first book, Bad Girls Don't Die, I think this books take it to a whole new level. At one point, it scared me so badly that I slept with the lights on. (I am not joking. I am the worlds biggest wimp.) In this book, you think you know what to expect, since the blurb isn't exactly secretive. But let me tell you, this book will have you pounding your head against the wall. It's like a 500 piece puzzle, and most of the pieces are the same shade of yellow. At first I was a bit wary of that, thinking that maybe it would get way to confusing, but at the end it all clicks.
Another thing that I think improved in this book was the characters. You get to see more of how Alexis thinks, and you get to see her at her weakest point. At one point, it becomes her sister, Kasey, who is the strong one. The book involves so many characters that all play vital parts, and every one of them have levels upon levels of character and spirit layered o them. It's a rare thing to find a book with so many realistic characters. In the previous book, the story mainly centered around Alexis. In Cursed, you actually see tremendous growth in her character, as well as Kasey. But before you see that growth, you watch as Alexis declines into a pitiful state that has you wanting to whack her on the head and ask her if she was dropped on the head as a baby. She does something really stupid that I won't spoil that triggers this decline, but she does do it for noble reasons. You just find yourself thinking, couldn't she have been smarter about this?
I also really like that, while there is romance involved, this book is not completely centered around that romance. While I do love my fictional boys, I think that a plot should not simply revolve around that love. Unless it is, of course, supposed to. If there is a main plot, like good vs. evil, and then there is a romance, the good vs. evil should come first, with the romance not wholly consuming that plot, but adding to it. If you understood any of that, you are smarter than I am. In this book, Carter, Alexis's boyfriend, does play a large and important role but he does not totally eclipse the real story. That added huge points to this book for me.
This book has an amazing emotional range and effect. Alexis has crazy mood swings and ups and downs like any normal person. She becomes insecure when she tries to be perfect. I think that is an amazing message, one that everyone should take note of- perfection doesn't exist. Either be happy with your imperfections, or be forever unhappy. I think it shows how fragile we all are, and really shows how important it is to be yourself and accept that you aren't perfect.
Finally, my favorite thing about the book was the Sunshine club. The Sunshine club is a group of girls trying to make themselves perfect for a demon known as Aralt- only they don't see him as a demon. To them, Aralt is perfect, loving, kind, and giving. They think that they would be horrible, disgusting being without Aralt. The Sunshine Club starts off seemingly innocently, but as more and more girls join, the darker their situation seems. They stalk around school like a pack of lions, and if you offend one person in the group, you get all of them coming at you. With some serious vengeance. The most chilling thing to me was their mantra, Stay Sunny. It may sound well-wishing, but the way it's used in this book, it's more of a threat than anything. Because the Sunshine Club is perfect. And if you disturb that imperfection, well, watch your back.
Overall, an amazing book. I laughed out loud several times and cowered in fear several more times. I recommend reading it in broad daylight unless you are a more daring person than I.