Post Mortem: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

I first learned of Katie Alender by fluke. I was in Paris on my yearly backpacking trip, holed up with a cold in a Hausmannized apartment in Montmartre, a few blocks away from the infamous Moulin Rouge. I’d chosen an AirBnB rental without much of a view, but the apartment had a hammock in my room, a comfy bed, and two sets of double-door balconies that, at the time, I thought were cute. Equipped with cheap French wine, a baguette, hard cheeses, and several delicious French pastries, I gave up on trying to be a tourist after my first bateau mouche trip down the Seine and attempted to heal myself by taking some time off and reading.

Stationed in the hammock, a cup of wine in one hand, and my iPad in the other with multiple tissues shoved into my pockets, I loaded the iBooks store and landed on a book called Bad Girls Don’t Die.

Bad Girls deals with the possession of the protagonist’s little sister. I’ll be straight about this: for a book that sits between middle grade and young adult, as an adult (and granted I may have been addled by my cold at the time) it was actually scary. It was published by Disney. Clearly, I thought to myself as I finished it and moved onto its sequel (while still lying in my Paris hammock), I wasn’t made of the strong stuff I thought I was. I polished off From Bad to Cursed in short order, and concluded the series with As Dead as it Gets just as quickly.

I loved Alender’s portrayal of the protagonist, Alexis. She’s described as being a little anti-conformist; she marches to the beat of her own drummer. Add to that a haunted doll, a creepy possessed little sister, and parents who are clueless, and I was hooked.

When The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall was announced a few months ago, I put in my pre-order and waited for it to arrive.

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This post originally appeared at The Midnight Society on December 12, 2015.

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