A group of social-climbing high-school girls makes a deal with a demon in this sassy, easily digestible horror story.
After saving her little sister Kasey from demonic possession in Bad Girls Don't Die (2009), pink-haired, confident Alexis hopes her time battling fiends is over. When Kasey starts high school, however, she falls in with the Sunshine Club, a group of girls who turn out to be involved with the demon Aralt, and Alexis, hoping to protect her sister, joins the club herself. Although it takes some time for Alexis to realize she has become possessed, her condition is no secret from readers. The author effectively blends Alexis' take-charge, nonconformist personality with Aralt's aggressively sunny, obsessively image-conscious influence. Life becomes easier with Aralt's help: Alexis heals quickly from injuries, manipulates her suspicious boyfriend and attracts the attention of well-placed adults, some of them also Aralt's devotees. The tension comes from watching Alexis' demon-fighting resolve weaken and uncovering clues about the true cost of Aralt's seeming benevolence. A few nasty fat jokes undercut the novel's ostensible stance against looks-related bullying, and using a girl who walks with a cane to represent the most desperate of losers is tasteless and unnecessary.
Otherwise, a smooth and not-too-scary page-turner, with room in its conclusion for a third installment. (Supernatural thriller. 12 & up)