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A Bad Day for Voodoo

A Bad Day for Voodoo

4.1 6
by Jeff Strand

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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


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 ...

"Jeff Strand is hilariously funny and truly deranged." —Christopher Golden, author of When Rose Wakes

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Humor and horror collide in Strand's (Fangboy) YA debut. After an unusual chain of circumstances culminates with a magically-supercharged voodoo doll being made of high school sophomore Tyler Churchill, Tyler, his girlfriend, and his borderline sociopathic best friend embark on a dramatic journey across town to deactivate the doll before it maims or kills him. Naturally, everything goes wrong, as the doll passes from the hands of carjackers to a Rottweiler, a larcenous taxi driver, and more. Tyler and friends must outwit numerous dangers as the night grows increasingly bloody and bizarre, bringing with it zombies, cannibals, voodoo priestesses, and the cops. A snarky and self-aware tone, casual descriptions of mayhem, and narrative tricks (during an "Intermission" readers are encouraged to "Take a break and read The Hunger Games again") contribute to the lunatic atmosphere of this free-wheeling dark comedy that starts off running and doesn't stop until all plausibility is exhausted. Sam Raimi fans should eat it up. Ages 12-up. Agent: Stephanie Kip Rostan, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
""Characters, settings, dialogue, all work well. Highly recommended." Blogger Michael Collings, Collings Notes " - Collings Notes
VOYA - Joanna Lima
When his history teacher wrongly accuses him of cheating on a test, ordinary high school sophomore Tyler Churchill decides on an extraordinary form of revenge: voodoo. At the urging of his best friend, Adam, who mysteriously procures the necessary supplies, Tyler jabs a pin into the leg of a Mr. Click voodoo doll, causing the teacher's leg to be severed completely. Then, after having been rushed to the hospital, Mr. Click dies of a broken neck, and when Tyler checks his school bag, he indeed finds that the doll's head has been bent backward. Panicked, Tyler enlists the insight of his honors student girlfriend, Kelley, while Adam obtains another voodoo doll, this time of Tyler. Aghast at Adam's absurd logic, Tyler demands that his friend undo the eerie magic but this proves to be no simple task when the trio is carjacked on their way to Esmeralda's House of Jewelry, where Adam claims to have gotten the dolls. The ensuing adventure includes a Red-Bull-guzzling taxi driver, a chop shop run by local thugs, a Rottweiler, and a cannibalistic family with a minivan. This bizarre romp does not expect to be taken seriously, and the narrator's self-deprecating, conversational tone mostly contributes to the hilarity. At times, however, the technique falls flat and becomes self-conscious. This reviewer could not help but see similarities between this book and John Green's Paper Towns (Putnam, 2008/Voya August 2008), the latter being far superior for its balance of the outrageous and the relatable. Overall, for a reader intentionally seeking a wacky horror/comedy, this book delivers. Reviewer: Joanna Lima
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—"Life and my classroom share a common trait: no second chances," says Tyler Churchill's 10th-grade history teacher, after he accuses the teen of cheating on a test. A few days later, Tyler receives a voodoo doll of the mean teacher from his friend Adam. Though initially Tyler insists that he doesn't believe in voodoo, when (at Adam's urging) he curiously pokes the doll's leg in class, Mr. Click's leg severs from his body and flies across the room, spurting blood. After the man dies from a broken neck (the doll's neck gets bent while Adam and Tyler are fighting), Tyler believes he's a murderer. Adam, a little deranged and afraid that Tyler will report him to the police for his part in the crime, orders a voodoo doll of Tyler and the twisted violence and real hilarity kick off. Adam, Tyler, and Tyler's girlfriend encounter challenge after challenge as they try to return the doll of Tyler to the shop. Their adventures include a ride with a crazy cab driver and an epic undertaking to retrieve the stolen doll from gangsters. A FAQ section playfully sets the stage for Tyler's first-person narration. Though the teen's frequent digressions somewhat distract from the action, fans of Strand's other novels of outrageous circumstance—Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) (Mundania Press, 2003) and Wolf Hunt (Amazon, 2011)-will not be disappointed. A delightfully ludicrous read.—Jamie-Lee Schombs, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
When Tyler's jerky sophomore-history teacher falsely accuses him of cheating, his somewhat psycho best friend Adam pays to have a voodoo doll made of their teacher. Despite Tyler's initial disbelief that the doll could be real, the two try it out the following day. Tyler sticks the doll's leg with a pin, and his teacher's leg flies off, spurting blood everywhere. The paramedics take him away. The two boys proceed to freak out--Adam much more so than Tyler, because then he has a voodoo doll made in Tyler's image to blackmail him from spilling their story to the cops. All of this happens in the first 45 pages, and what ensues is a ridiculously stupid chase to rescue the doll from car-stealing thugs, a Rottweiler and a host of other bizarre and mildly humorous characters before Tyler meets an untimely demise. Strand's best selling point is his ability to create authentic teen voices and craft wacky plot twists that baffle and surprise readers. The novel's assets stop there, however. The characterizations are shaky. The plotting is haphazard and dissonant, and the author occasionally inserts his own commentary into the novel at various points, advising readers to "take a break and read the Hunger Games again." Readers might do well to take his advice. (Thriller. 12 & up)

Product Details

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File size:
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Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"So what if we let the air out of his tires, and then we rig the car so it crushes his arms when he goes to check? He can't give you another F if he doesn't have arms."

"Seems extreme," I said.

"Well...maybe his arms don't actually have to come off. We could just make it so they don't work anymore."

Here's the thing about Adam: I knew he was only kidding, but a small part of me suspected that he really would help me rig Mr. Click's car to crush his arms if I asked. Does it make me look bad to admit that my best friend might be a tiny bit psychotic? I hope not.

"I don't want to do anything destructive," I said. "And nothing that could get me suspended. I'll be in enough trouble for the F."

For most of my life, I'd had pretty good luck with my teachers. There were only three of them that I didn't like. Mrs. Teeser, in third grade, was a yeller. She yelled about everything. "Finish your assignment!" "Line up for recess!" "Stop gluing your fingernails together!" My friends and I suspected that she had some sort of medical condition where her head gradually inflated throughout the day, and yelling was the only way to release the pressure. If she didn't yell, her head would pop. We cut her some slack for that.

In seventh grade biology, Mr. Greg was unbelievably strict. He didn't much appreciate jokes that his last name was really a first name, which is understandable, but he treated every moment of every class as if we were discovering a cure for cancer that we could totally screw up and lose forever if we lost concentration for a split millisecond. I have to admit that once the school year ended, I stopped disliking him quite so much, but he certainly wasn't one of my favorites.

Most of my other teachers were pretty cool, and I'd go so far as to say that Mrs. Rowell in fifth grade was a genuine life-changing inspiration.

But not Mr. Click.

Mr. Click, who taught my sophomore-year world history class, was just plain mean. Not in an ultra-strict "I want you to achieve excellence!" way like Mr. Greg, but in a "Kids suck!" way. I don't think he liked any of us. He didn't even like my girlfriend, Kelley, who got straight A's, always sat up front, and asked intelligent questions, all without being a smarmy, teacher's pet creep.

Maybe if I taught high school history for thirty years, I'd become mean and bitter too. He was a small man, short and thin, with a bushy black mustache and a large haircut-with-a-hole-in-it bald spot. He wore glasses but probably needed a new prescription, because he was always squinting.

Some teachers, when they give you a bad grade, seem like they're mad at you. Sometimes they're disappointed. Sometimes they're a little disgusted. Mr. Click always seemed delighted to hand out a bad grade, and he'd call kids out right in front of everybody. He wouldn't announce, "Hey, Kelley, here's your A-plus!" to the class, but he'd sure say, "Another D, Seth. That doesn't surprise me."

(I'm not Seth. I was just using him as an example.)

I'm Tyler Churchill. My report card was usually pretty good-A's and B's, but they didn't come easy. Except for art, which was a natural talent, I had to study for every test until my butt literally fell off.

(Kelley hated, hated, hated it when people used the word "literally" wrong, so I'll clarify: My butt did not actually detach itself from the rest of my body from the intensity of my studying.)

I wasn't mad at Mr. Click simply because he was pure evil. I was mad because we had a vicious test, the second of five tests that were each worth 10 percent of our grade, and I studied until my eyes figuratively dropped out of my head. And I don't mean that I was a total slacker until the night before and then did a desperate all-night, coffee-fueled cram session. I mean that I studied for that thing for a week. I mean that Kelley said, "Wanna hang out?" and I said no. And when she asked if I wanted to study together, I still said no because I knew we'd just end up making out.

Do you understand how hard I studied for this test?

I took the test that Friday and nailed it. We walked out of class, and everybody was complaining about how hard it was, especially Adam, but I knew every answer. One hundred percent, baby! Okay, maybe not 100 percent, but at least a 95. I had an awesome weekend.

Monday afternoon, on a cool February morning in Florida, I got my test back. F.

You're probably thinking, "You sure must be dumb to study so hard for a test and still get the answers wrong! Hard to believe you wrote a whole book!"

Nope. He hadn't even marked any of the questions. Just "0/100" and the F at the top.

Kelley turned around in her desk, which was right in front of mine. "What'd you get?"

I folded the test in half. "Ninety-two."

I spent the whole class feeling more than a little sick to my stomach. Our next classes were in the same direction, so normally, Kelley, Adam, and I would walk together, but when the bell rang, I told them to go on ahead. I went up to Mr. Click's desk. "Why'd I get an F?"

He squinted at me. "Cheating."

"Cheating?" What was he talking about? Except for the occasional game of Monopoly, I'd never cheated in my life!

"Your answers were exactly the same as Donnie's, word for word. Do you have another explanation?"

"Yeah, he copied off me!"

"It takes two to cheat. He also received a zero."

"But I didn't let him cheat! It's not my fault if he copied my answers! I can't help that!"


"This isn't fair."

"Let it be a lesson in personal responsibility."

He really said that. I know, I know, you're outraged on my behalf, right? I bet you're thinking, "You should've punched that guy in the face!" You can't really punch teachers, though. I mean, you can, I suppose, but you really shouldn't. I sure wouldn't.

"I'll retake the test," I said, even though I knew that at least 70 percent of what I'd studied had leaked out of my brain over the weekend. "That'll prove it."

Mr. Click shook his head. "Life and my classroom share a common trait: no second chances."

I stormed out of the room, furious enough to strangle a cute small animal, though the feeling would pass long before I encountered a cute small animal. This was beyond unfair. This was go-to-the-principal unfair. This was "call the local TV station (on a slow news day)" unfair!

I spent all of eighth period economics fuming. And believe me, I can fume.

When school let out, I headed straight to Donnie's locker. Now, I'm not a big guy. I look a bit taller than I really am because of my awesome posture, but my growth spurt was not yet all I hoped it would be, and most other sophomores had a couple of inches on me. Still, I wasn't some scrawny little weakling-I ran track and did well on the swim team-and I did not live in fear of getting beat up or shoved into lockers.

Donnie, on the other hand, was a big guy.

He was not the biggest guy in school. That was a senior named Hank whose flattop haircut emphasized the fact that his head really was kind of flat. But Donnie made the top five, easy, and though I knew we weren't living in a cartoon universe, I did sort of think that he could punch me so hard that my nose would fly off and stick to the wall.

Still, as you'll recall, I'd passed up the chance to make out with my girlfriend to study for this thing.

"Hey," I said, walking up to Donnie's locker.

"Hey," he said.

"I got a zero on that test."

He nodded. "Me too."

"It's because you copied off me."

"I didn't copy off you."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I didn't."

"You wrote down all the same answers."

"That's weird."

"So you copied."


"You need to tell Mr. Click."

"Maybe you copied off me."

"I sit in front of you!"

"That's weird."

Then he gave me a look, one that said You go bye-bye now or Donnie hurt you.

I left.

I guess I should've been way angrier with Donnie, but Mr. Click had been unpleasant and evil all year, whereas Donnie was like a big, dumb puppy that pees on your video games but doesn't really mean any harm.

Adam and I walked home while I ranted against my unfair treatment, which is when he said that stuff about squishing Mr. Click's arms with his car. "You definitely need to get revenge," he said.

"Maybe I'll talk to Principal Zelig. There's no way he'll let him get away with this."

"Nah, get revenge first. Egg his windows. TP his house. Leave a dead skunk in his desk drawer. Spread superglue on his chair. Spit in his coffee. Photoshop a picture and post it online. Have twenty or thirty pizzas delivered to his house. Get some laxatives and-"

"Where would I get a dead skunk?"

"I don't know. There's got to be one lying around somewhere."

"I'm just going to talk to Zelig."

"That's weak."


"Okay, do me a favor. Don't talk to anybody until tomorrow morning. I think I've got an idea. If you're not cool with it, fine, you can tattle to the principal, but I think you'll like it."

"What is it?"

"You'll find out...tomorrow."

"It's not ready yet," Adam told me as we walked to school the next morning. "But Wednesday for sure."

"Can I borrow eighty bucks?" Adam asked on Wednesday morning.

"In what universe do I have an extra eighty bucks?"

"Do you have anything you could sell? A watch or something?"

"Not if you don't tell me what you need it for."

Adam considered that, for a long moment. "Never mind. Friday for sure."

On Friday morning, Adam handed me a wooden box about the size of the Spider-Man lunch box I used to have when I was a little kid. There were weird, curvy symbols on the lid.

"What's this?" I asked.

"Open it."

I opened the lid. Inside was a small doll.

"What's this?" I asked again.

Adam grinned. "It's your very own Mr. Click voodoo doll."

Meet the Author

JEFF STRAND lives in Tampa, Florida, and doesn't believe in voodoo. But he still thinks you should carry a doll around, go up to people you don't like, and chuckle while you jab it with pins, just to make them squirm. Poke around his gleefully macabre website at www.JeffStrand.com.
JEFF STRAND lives in Tampa, Florida, and doesn't believe in voodoo. But he still thinks you should carry a doll around, go up to people you don't like, and chuckle while you jab it with pins, just to make them squirm. Poke around his gleefully macabre website at www.JeffStrand.com.

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Bad Day for Voodoo 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Tyler really got the wrong end of the stick--a zero score for cheating when it wasn't him! No, really, it wasn't! Mr. Click has got to be the worst teacher ever (in Tyler's mind) so when Tyler's friend, Adam, comes up with a voodoo doll, they both chortle at the thought of sticking it to the teacher. All bets are off, though, when a pin stuck in the doll's leg causes Mr. Click's leg to explore in class. Blood and guts cover the classroom. Next comes a voodoo doll of Tyler which gets stolen, sending our protagonist on a hilarious romp with zombies in tow. Laugh-out-loud humor and lots of action ensure this will be a winner amongst middle schoolers. Or those who are teens at heart.
Some_Reading_Required More than 1 year ago
Who knew flying bodyparts, gushing blood and cannibals could be so fun? A Bad Day for Voodoo was a total LOL-fest. Although there is a darker and edgier tone to the book, Strand sugar coats it with hilarious and downright pee-your-pants scenes, that have you rapidly flipping the pages. From beginning to end I was completely enraptured. Tyler is an all-american kid. He studies hard for school, has a cute girlfriend and spends time with his crazy yet lovable best friend, Adam. When a teacher known for “hating” kids gives Tyler a F for suspected yet completely unproven cheating, Adam takes it upon himself to help Tyler out. One day Adam comes school with a voodoo doll containing some “essence” of Mr. Click. Tyler, being the most skeptical one of the duo quickly dismisses the idea that something like that could ever work. Nonetheless, he goes along with a plan to pin-poke the Mr. Click doll during history class. The moment Tyler pokes the doll, Mr. Click shouts out in pain followed by… And then his leg shot off from his body in a spray of blood and bone as if it has been fired from a cannon. The leg slid across the tile floor, leaving a thick red trail, and stopped only when it struck the wall. Needless to say – major chaos ensues. This is one of those it starts out bad and forever continues to get worse story-lines. Awesome and entirely enjoyable for readers and unfortunate for Tyler. This book rocked for so many reasons. One: It had a very intriguing and interesting premise. Who doesn’t wish they had a voodoo doll of a certain loathed teacher? Two: It was extremely funny. Although there’s a lot of sinister characters and horrific encounters, the author manages to play it off in a humorous way each and every time. Three: Never a dull moment. This book was extremely fast-paced and completely entertaining. Four: Memorable characters. I loved EVERY single character. Each one was bursting with personality and their own quirks. They also all played very well off of each other. For instance, you have Tyler the seeing is believing, logical one. Then you have Adam who’s completely out there. Their friendship is odd yet, in a way, completely perfect. Although they have their ups and downs, in the end they come out strong (like true friends do). So if you’re looking for a fast read filled with macabre yet laced with humor, A Bad Day for Voodoo is definitely the book for you. It’s a wacky yet completely awesome ride that you’ll want to take.
Book_Bite_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I think A Bad Day for Voodoo was ok. I'm not used to just relaxing and laughing at everything so it was definitely a big change in reading for me. I did like the story, though. It was very light-hearted and I loved that it was completely appropriate for teens. No joke went too far. The characters and villans that Jeff created were very unique and created very well. I wouldn't have changed the characters in any way. I was definitely not converted into a huge comedy novel fan, but now I know what to expect from one if I choose to read another one. I recommend this to those who love comedy or want a nice light change of pace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the caliber of "Casket for Sale " but tickled me and my sons (10 and 12). I love Strand's stuff and wish he could write them as fast as i read them!