YA Wednesday: A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand
A Bad Day For Voodoo
Summary From Goodreads:
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.”
Of course, you probably wouldn’t believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone’s leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I’ve seen it. It can happen.
And when there’s suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that’s just gonna be a really bad day…
A Bad Day For Voodoo was really, really weird. It is all about the humor as opposed to Strand’s usual 50/50 split of horror and the hilarious. Unfortunately I think that this worked against him. I understand that this is a YA which is also unusual for Strand, but I never felt any fear or trepidation at all and I missed that. The book constantly makes fun of itself, the content and characters within and even the reader on occasion. If there were some serious bits mixed in maybe this would have worked but it felt over the top and the slapstick humor got old after a while.
The characters were empty shells for me. I didn’t connect with any of them and they didn’t feel like they had any substance. I’m not sure what Tyler (the MC) was supposed to be. A hero? Not really. Courageous? Not intentionally. A “model friend” type? Ya, I guess that fits the most. Adam, the best friend, was just a moron. His role was the funny guy with the outrageous plans and ideas, he succeeded in the latter part but his humor felt forced and mostly I just wanted him to get whacked over the head. If I had a favorite character it would be Kelley (the girlfriend) who was the closest to meaningful as the book gets. She was tough, had a good head on her shoulders and didn’t panic in the face of (ridiculous) danger or adversity. I liked her but I have no clue why she associates with the other two.
Part of my problem with A Bad Day For Voodoo is its constant breaking from the story to say something from the “author” to the reader. You know that fourth wall in comedy or acting where the person on stage acknowledges the viewing audience (especially if it is being filmed for tv or a movie)? Well if there is one in the literary world this book shatters it. Throughout the story the audience is being addressed, questioned and even given suggestions. While some minor use of this tactic would probably be effective it felt like I was never able to connect to the story because Strand kept taking me out of it. Immersing myself in a book’s story is often the best part of reading it, forgetting reality and diving into an alternate universe, A Bad Day For Voodoo refuses to allow that and it was irritating.
The plot was all over the place and just plain disjointed. There was no flow and random events occurred that were seemingly only for comedic effect but that added no depth, substance or truly anything of value to the story. Maybe the underlying message if there is one (I doubt it) just went over my head but I’m guessing if there was one it was buried so deep under the crazy antics that it didn’t want to be found or recognized. Voodoo, craziness ensues, random gang, more insanity, hey look the undead! Oh and now a psychotic family of cannibals… right.
Until I started writing this review I didn’t realize how much I didn’t enjoy A Bad Day For Voodoo. There were a few moments where I actually laughed but for a book relying so heavily on comedy it fell way short. The plot was a mess, the characters were (with the possible exception of Kelley) unsubstantial and the author refused to let the reader stay inside the story even if they wanted to. I can’t say I recommend this one even for fans of Strand. Thanks as always for reading!