Bad Kitty -- Michele Jaffe
Jasmine (Jas) Callihan is on a family vacation in Las Vegas. Everything and everyone should be relaxed, fine and dandy. Except this is Jas Callihan we're talking about -- she's the girl referred to as "Calamity Callihan" by her cousin Alyson. Within two chapters, she has been publicly mauled by a three-legged cat, leaves a wedding in shambles (with the bride AND the five-tiered cake in the swimming pool) and has been locked up by hotel security.
Yes, yes. I know. Two years! This book has been out for two years! How did I miss reading it until now? Now, I already think that the chick-lit-mystery sub genre flat-out rules. But Bad Kitty especially rules, due to:
1. Jas's descriptive talents:
From the book:
"I take the animal now," the shadow told me, only he said "de" instead of "the" in that kind of accent Arnold Schwarzenegger has made so popular. And really, if you'd been trying to cast a comic book villain named the Fabio-inator (which, okay, why would you be, but still) you could not have done better. He was about eighteen feet tall and had long dark hair and a fake tan and a square jaw and biceps that bulged out in forty-three different directions. Which were visible because all he was wearing were small, tight, black swimming trunks. And a gun.
2. The second- and third-tier characters:
Including Sherri!, Jas's stepmother who really does spell her name with an exclamation point, the aforementioned horrible cousin Alyson, who speaks in bizarre yet hilarious slang and Jas's best friend Polly, who is the owner of what is very seriously the coolest vehicle ever imagined. EVER. EVVVER. Kitt, the Batmobile, possibly even the Tardis -- nothing on the Pink Pearl. Not only are her friends super-quirky and super-cool, but whenever Jas says something that they feel the need to expand on (or object to), they hijack the story via the footnotes.
3. Jas again:
I mentioned her descriptive talents, but that isn't her voice's only strength -- the verbal sparring with her friends is loads of fun as well. It's witty and made me laugh out loud -- a lot. She doesn't mean to be a smartass -- she doesn't think she's a smartass -- but if you were dealing with her, you'd definitely think she was a smartass. She's also totally fascinated with forensics, which is something her father, well, let's just say that 'discourages' would be a huge understatement. And she's got a penchant for really cool cowboy boots.
The mystery itself... meh. I wasn't very concerned with it -- Bad Kitty was really more about the ride than the destination. I loved Jas & Co. and their squabbling in the footnotes, found it hilarious* -- but also a bit distracting. When I moved back up to the regular text, I usually had to re-read a bit to get back into the groove of the story. So some people definitely might not take to the format -- but others will get a huge kick out of it.
Highly, highly recommended to those who love Lulu Dark (and/or the Ally Carter books and other chick-lit mystery books). Because of the fun format, it might be a good way to get diary (see: Meg Cabot and Louise Rennison) readers and Lauren Myracle (TTYL) fans to branch into the mystery genre, and the chick-lit angle will makes it a good choice for (duh) chick-lit fans. I am so very jazzed that there's a second one coming out this year.
*The chapter where someone keeps putting hearts next to the Fabioinator's name made me howl, as did the Kermit underpants debacle.