From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Damned (2011) introduced us to 13-year-old Madison Spencer, newly arrived in Hell after her death; as she tried to figure out what exactly happened to her, she took us on an exciting and often very funny tour of Hell. Now, in the sequel, Madison is back on Earth, stranded there on Halloween, facing the prospect of spending an entire year as (shudder) a ghost among the living. Although not quite as entertaining as Damned primarily because it lacks the first book's hellish travelogue the novel nicely continues Madison's story, filling in a lot of the blanks in her life (we find out, for example, the real reason why she's been damned) and exposing an ancient satanic plot that believe it or not has poor little Madison at its center. As with the first book, this one lives or dies on the appeal of its teenage narrator. On the face of it, Spencer isn't the most likable of girls: she's self-centered, in-your-face, and almost too aggressively clever for her own good but so was Holden Caulfield. She's a compelling character, and she drives a novel that will resonate from the get-go with Palahniuk's many fans. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Palahniuk's 12 novels have sold more than five million copies in the U.S. His latest will profit from both traditional print publicity and an extensive social-media campaign.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
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In his less-than-triumphant return to a satiric hell, Palahniuk offers a new installment in the story of Madison Spencer, the snide, overweight, 13-year-old heroine of Damned-who happens to be dead. When a Halloween revenge prank on some of Madison's living tormenters goes wrong, Satan consigns the erudite and opinionated teen to roam the Earth, invisibly haunting the places and people she once knew. During her wanderings she tries to sort out her relationship with her celebrity parents, who since her death have fallen prey to sinister influences and begun a cult of vulgar self-expression. Madison's homecoming further leads her to revisit some pivotal pre-death experiences, from an eventful trip to upstate New York that ended in tragedy and damnation to her strained relationship with her oblivious parents. But Madison is special: she is stuck in purgatory for a reason, which may be nothing less than the salvation of the entire world. At the heart of the rollicking story is a girl's relationship with her parents, but Palahniuk embroiders the tale with myriad poop jokes and gratuitous vulgarity with scant comedic value. Meanwhile, his usually acute apothegms sound strained through Madison's artificial voice. While Palahniuk's fans will surely be pleased, the books reads like a YA novel from hell whose threadbare premise only sporadically entertains. Agent: Edward Hibbert, Donadio & Olson. (Oct. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Our heroine returns! Madison Spencer, daughter of misguided movie stars, pudgy outcast, and resident of Hell, finds herself stranded on Earth for one year as punishment for missing her curfew on Halloween. Keeping the reader updated through blog posts from the afterlife, Madison runs into her Nana Minnie's ghost, which stirs her to reveal personal and painful moments from her childhood. As Maddie works through the time she spent with her grandparents in decidedly down-home upstate New York, she realizes her life might have been molded by something sinister from the beginning. All the while, her parents, taking her tongue-in-cheek advice from an accidental phone connection, have begun their own religion. As the world follows her movie star parents, Maddie becomes responsible for sending people to Hell en masse, accidentally upsetting the balance between God and Satan. VERDICT Palahniuk's follow-up to the best-selling Damned does not disappoint. Our eccentric, sharp-witted tween narrator walks the line between hilarity and sorrow throughout. Highly recommended for the author's many fans.-Brooke Bolton, North Manchester P.L., IN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.