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Book Review: A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

“When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should NEVER actually believe him when he says, ‘Trust me, this is gonna be awesome.'” – Back cover blurb

A Bad Day for Voodoo is a gloriously absurd book full of laugh out loud moments that are split your sides funny.  I read it in one night and I kept reading parts of it out loud to The Mr. because something this funny simply must be shared.  I am going to date myself here, but this is Adventures in Babysitting meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but with voodoo dolls, zombies and the Chosen One who will protect us all from Hobgoblins. Wait, what?

It all begins when Mr. Click gives Tyler an F on a test.  Adam comes up with the ultimate plan for revenge: a voodoo doll.  Tyler is sure that voodoo dolls don’t really work, so no one is more surprised then him when he sticks a pin in the doll’s leg and Mr. Click’s leg goes flying off right in the front of class.  Adam, afraid that Tyler will go to the police (because the police will totally believe in the whole voodoo doll thing), then gets a voodoo doll made of Tyler – because nothing says BFFs like a little voodoo doll threatening:

“So you sat there, digging through the bathroom garbage in search of my toenails, and still thought this whole thing was a good idea.?”
Adam shrugged.
“Our friendship is over.”
“I figured.” – Jeff Strand, Bad Day for Voodoo pages 48 and 49

The only reasonable thing to do is to take the doll back to the voodoo maker and ask them to unvoodoo it.  If only it were that easy.  On their way Adam, Tyler and Kelley (Kelley is Tyler’s girlfriend, brought into the whole situation because they need at least one person with a brain involved), are car jacked, they catch a cab to try and pursue the carjackers and well, things just get crazier and crazier as the night goes on.  As I mentioned, there are zombies.  Well, a zombie.

A Bad Day for Voodoo takes place over the course of a night.  It is jam packed with (mis)adventure, hilarity and enough snark to make even the Grinchiest of hearts crack a smile.  It is definitely a tour de force, at one point the publisher breaks in and announces that a chapter has been lost.  At other times Tyler breaks character and tells us that he is not an unreliable narrator because it really did happen this way.  This book isn’t full of substance and themes, it is simply a joyful, wild ride through an absurd adventure that leaves you an imminently satisfied reader.  Unless you have a Grinch sized heard, but remember – this book would even make him crack a smile.

Super highly recommended.  My warning to you, don’t drink Coke when you read it.  There will be spewing.  At least don’t read it while holding your cell or sitting my your laptop.  Technology doesn’t take well to spewage.  One final note: this is a fun read for guys and reluctant readers.

A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand.  Published by Sourcebooks Fire. ISBN 978-104022-6680-5.

Some other funny reads with a unique voice:
Unspoken by Sara Rees Brennan
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

From the FAQ:
Q: Is any material in this book inappropriate to teenagers or those who wish to become teenagers someday?

A: Oh yeah. All of it.  Teenagers, don’t let any responsible adults catch you reading this, because they will absolutely freak. They’ll flap their arms around and shout, “This is going to destroy society! ids copy everything they read in books! All is lost, all is lost!”

(Note to librarians: I’m only kidding. It’s not that bad.  I mean it’s gorier than Winnie the Pooh, and the word ‘crap’ is used fifteen times, but none of the major curse words are represented, and nobody gets nekkid.)

(Note to teenagers: Or DO they . .  . ?)