Bad Kitty

Bad Kitty

4.4 74
by Michele Jaffe

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Meet Jasmine forensic supersleuth and unwitting victim of a naughty feline.

All Jasmine really wants is to enjoy her family vacation in Las Vegas. And avoid her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson's best fiend, Veronique. And show her suspicious dad that she can be a Model Daughter. And maybe meet the hot guy she's been eyeing from across the pool. It that too much

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Meet Jasmine forensic supersleuth and unwitting victim of a naughty feline.

All Jasmine really wants is to enjoy her family vacation in Las Vegas. And avoid her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson's best fiend, Veronique. And show her suspicious dad that she can be a Model Daughter. And maybe meet the hot guy she's been eyeing from across the pool. It that too much to ask?

Apparently, yes. One moment she's an innocent bylounger, the next the central figure in a Las Vegas-sized mystery. Fortunately, Jasmine is both a forensics enthusiast and possessed of some very, well, special friends. Polly, Tom, and Roxy crash the vacation, BeDazzle Jasmine's wardrobe, and find themselves key players in the most outrageous adventure in a town known for outrageous adventures.

All because of a very bad kitty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Quirky characters breathe energy into Jaffe's (Bad Girl, for adults) silly, if sometimes confusing, mystery novel. Wannabe detective Jasmine, who narrates, is on a family vacation at Las Vegas's Venetian Hotel. When a runaway cat attacks her, she finds herself in the middle of a real-life mystery involving a famous model/actress, her fugitive husband and a very handsome young man with a British accent. Jas seems to attract catastrophe (after the cat attack, she runs into a wedding, causing the cake-and the bride-to wind up in the pool). Other characters, including her fashion-savvy best friend, who drives a van called the Pink Pearl, and an unlikable cousin, who considers flavored lip gloss dessert, come along for the ride, offering assistance and often also ending up in trouble (Jasmine and her best friends also all offer a funny running banter in tinted sections at the bottom of many of the pages). As readers race along with Jas to unravel the mystery, following its many twists, they may find some plotting hard to follow. Also, the inevitable final confrontation seems more cinematic than authentic. Even so, it's hard not to like a book with a bow-wearing bodyguard nicknamed the Fabinator and a main character who grew up playing Barbie Crime Scene. Readers will likely find themselves quickly clawing their way through this fun novel. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Amanda MacGregor
Seventeen-year-old Jasmine (or Jas, as her friends call her) believes that everyone has a superpower, no matter how seemingly trivial it is. Her power happens to be that cats are attracted to her. While that might seem harmless, it's actually what sets off this wild detective story. Everywhere Jas goes, trouble seems to follow her, and her family vacation in Las Vegas is no exception. Here, she meets Fiona Bristol, a television star, her son Fred, and their cat, Mad Joe. Fiona's husband is accused of murder and on the run from the law—and possibly out to harm his family. Before she knows it, Jas is wrapped up in the Bristols's drama. It's a good thing her life's ambition is to be a police detective and that her real superpower is her keen observational skills. Her three best friends also like to play detective and show up in Vegas to both help Jas and protect her. As the teens uncover clues, the mystery only deepens. Soon, it's hard to guess who is actually out to get whom. Jas barrels headfirst into perilous situations, but her quick thinking and fast-talking always saves her. The plot is completely implausible, but readers will get swept up in the action and just go with it. Jas is a sassy, headstrong character with a lot of laugh-out-loud lines. The book would be better off without the many side conversations that take place and show up as footnotes, which are both distracting and hard to follow. Overall, readers will enjoy this fast-paced and quirky caper, even if it is sometimes confusing.
Jas wants to be a detective in this part CSI, part chick-lit book from an adult market author. She is supposed to be taking a relaxing vacation with her family in Las Vegas when strange things start happening. She helps save a boy's cat, and suddenly people with guns are telling her what to do. A gorgeous guy seems to be flirting with her at times and at other times trying to kill her. Her posse of friends Polly, Roxy, and Tom come to help with their fashion advice and crazy pink van. Soon Jas is trying to figure out who is really in danger and who is really a bad guy before something happens to her. Most pages are cut in half with an IM conversation going on at the same time as the plot on the upper half of the page, making it difficult to follow even for multi-tasking teens who are used to it. This effect slows down the action considerably. Lots of elements are funny, such as Jas's homemade fingerprint finders and other CSI tools. Jaffe, who has a PhD in comparative literature, certainly knows how to craft language. She inserts nonstop funny descriptions and lines, but the result is more style than substance. Mysteries for teens are badly needed, but the tone here is more Scooby Doo than Willo Davis Roberts, limiting its appeal. It is nevertheless recommended for larger public libraries. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, HarperCollins, 288p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
—Amy Alessio
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Jasmine Callihan, her father, and stepmother are vacationing in Las Vegas at the posh Venetian Hotel. All the 17-year-old really wants to do is sunbathe by the pool, write in her journal, and attempt to be a "Model Hallmark Card" daughter, all the while avoiding her "perfect" cousin Alyson and her "Evil Hench Twin," Veronique. Her plans go awry, however, when a small boy and his cat make Jas a central character in a murder investigation. Soon Jas's best friends come from LA to join her adventure and all attempt to solve the murder of Len Phillips, business manager of world-famous photographer Red Early. Teens will enjoy Jas and her friends' hilarious dialogue and will be entertained by Jaffe's inclusion of footnotes to the plot twists on each page. While the story is somewhat convoluted and often defies credulity, the book does offer some fascinating characters and plenty of amusement for fans of this genre.-Kathryn Childs, Morris Mid/High School, OK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jasmine Callihan, an irrepressible, accident-prone, 17-year-old aspiring police detective, is a trouble magnet. And trouble, in this frothy mystery thriller, is what she gets when she travels to Las Vegas for a family vacation. Inventive, witty and laugh-out-loud-funny in spots, Jas must cope with her troublesome family while trying to help an endangered eight-year-old boy and his famous mother, Fiona, a "yogi-slash-actress-slash-model-slash-scandal-haver." Fiona has been keeping a low profile since her husband's business manager was found stabbed to death, presumably by her husband, who disappeared after being accused of the crime. The plot heats to a boil when the mother and son pair vanish, and Jas's hunky but mysterious love interest is found unconscious in their room. Although readers may become weary of the constant life lessons, argumentative footnotes and the protagonist's voice, which sometimes grates yet is paradoxically the book's greatest asset, the story manages to hang onto its fizz until the enjoyably twisty ending. (Fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Bad Kitty Series , #1
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File size:
896 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bad Kitty

By Michele Jaffe

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Michele Jaffe
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060781092

Chapter One

I believe everyone has a superpower. My friend Polly can name the designer, season, and price of any garment on any person (knockoffs too) with flawless accuracy. Roxy can eat more food faster than anyone I've ever seen, has a perfect sense of direction, and over one spring break she built a working TV out of an old toaster. And her twin brother Tom can imitate anyone's voice and pick any kind of lock.

Still, I've never been able to figure out what my superpower is. Dr. Payne, my dentist, says my teeth generate plaque faster than anyone he's ever seen. And I have an incredible ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, without fail. But I'm not sure either of those count. I guess the only thing I've got going for me is that cats like me.

But if that is a superpower, you can have it, because it's the reason I got into this whole mess.

It had started out as such a nice day too.

I was relaxing on my chaise lounge at the Venetian Hotel pool in Las Vegas after a grueling fifteen minutes of water aerobics with my stepmother, Sherri! (Actually, she just recently stopped writing her name with the exclamation point after it. Now she just puts a heart over the i.)

Sherri! and I had just finished our "exercise," which mostly consisted of me flailing my arms around like I was telling some hovering space aliens, "Over here, come this way," and Sherri! naming the different brands of breast implants on display around us in the pool. Sherri!'s breasts are real, but since almost all her friends from the ABA where she works as a hand-breast-thigh body double, are "enhanced," she's become kind of an expert. (ABA stands for All-Body Agency, supplying body doubles to Hollywood since 1984, not the American Bar Association, which is what my aunt Liz thinks.)

That's not her superpower, though. Sherri!'s superpower is that it's impossible to hate her. I know, you're thinking that is not a superpower, but in the case of Sherri!, believe me, it is. Because it's not just men who don't hate her. Everyone doesn't hate Sherri! Even I can't hate her, which, if you know anything about stepmothers, is really very wrong. We are supposed to hate each other; it's in the natural order of things. And that does not take into account the special circumstances of me vs. Sherri! Which are:


Boobs: C-cup, real, perky

Eyes: sky blue

Skin: peach sorbet

Face: could totally launch a thousand ships.

Even rockets.

Figure: she's a body double for Hollywood stars.

Need I say more?

Height: perfect (5'6"; 5'9" in heels)

If her hair were a character in a horror movie, it would be:

the pretty girl who always looks tidy yet sexy even when running for her life from the scary unpredictable murderer

Dream: to invent a line of comfortable, safe, and attractive seat belts for small dogs

Age: 25

Me (Jas):

Boobs: nonexistent (like my superpower)

Eyes: grass green (from my Irish father)

Skin: chocolate milkshake (from my Jamaican mother.

Along with my dimples.)

Face: could launch, maybe, a science experiment

Figure: stick bug

Height: King Kong

If my hair were a character in a horror movie it would be:

the scary unpredictable murderer who sometimes looks perfectly normal and then other times reveals an inner demonic self.

Dream: to have a boyfriend I can look up to. Literally. While wearing my cowboy

boots. Oh, also to fight crime and make the world a safer place.

Age: 17

Yes, that is right, my stepmother was eight when I was born. Don't even ask how old my father was when she was born; it's upsetting. And yet, despite that, I cannot hate her.

Since she and my dad got married a year ago, Sherri! has been nothing but excellent. She doesn't take my dad's side in our arguments, and she uses logic on me to get me to do what she wants. Like, "If you use the car without permission, you'd better remember to fill the gas tank. You have money for gas, right? If you don't, you might not want to go." I mean, that's helpful. Plus, she has never tried to give me menstruation tips, or tell me how lucky I am because my exotic coloring opens up a whole palette of eye shadow colors most women can't go near, or point out that some boys like to date women a foot taller than them, or advise me about guys at all.

Not that her advice would work anyway, since her experiences as a seventeen-year-old and mine have nothing in common except that we are both the same species. And I'm not even sure that's true. I mean, Sherri! could well be some new, improved form of Homo sapiens designed to end hatred and bring voluptuous beauty to the world. The way the really cute guy sitting at the pool's Snack Hut looked in our direction as she perfectly "Right arm, jab! Left arm, jab!"ed her way through water aerobics made this very clear.

My plan for the afternoon was to lie around far, far from Sherri! and Dad and their cooing, trying to come up with something to write in my summer Meaningful Reflection Journal for school. It seemed like a good time to start, since school was beginning in two weeks and so far my journal was empty. So I decided I would just write down whatever I wanted. Like this haiku:

Cute guy at Snack Hut
Why won't you remove your shirt?
It's so hot (you too)

The point of the Meaningful Reflection Journal, according to Dr. Lansdowne, the college counselor at the Westborough School for Girls, which I attend, is to encourage us to compile thoughts and reflections and take stock of all the little life lessons we learn each day. (Translated, that meant that it would force us to practice SAT vocabulary words while helping us come up with something that sounded deep in our college essays.) Young people, Dr. Lansdowne said, experience so much and process so little; the journals would change that. He can get away with saying things like that without choking on his tongue because he looks like Hugh Grant did when he was young, complete with British accent.


Excerpted from Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe Copyright © 2006 by Michele Jaffe. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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