I recently had the pleasure of reading JD Kaplan’s The Scary Girls. The Tucson Festival of Books was where I was picked up a copy of not only The Scary Girls, but also JD’s wife’s book Unmasked (more about this one later).
The Scary Girls is a Sci-Fi modern fantasy that centers around Trick, a guitar player that was just dumped by his girlfriend. Heartbroken, Trick auditions for and joins another band of beautiful, otherworldly women that he affectionately calls the scary girls (viola! Title). It becomes quickly apparent that the scary girls are not quite human. There are small hints that Trick may not be fully human either, but exactly what he is isn’t readily apparent.
The themes of this book seem to be family, acceptance, and a bit of self-discovery.
I love how Celtic mythology plays a role in this story. It’s a mythos that isn’t too widely known or regarded and the use of it makes me happy (except for the description of the Morrigan). Also the vivid descriptions and the overall concept are stunning.
I do feel that this story could have benefited by being written in third person instead of first, however. The reason for this is while there are amazing opportunities to do a self-discovery story line in first person, in this particular tale, there are too many other elements that get in the way. Also, there’s a lot of internal monologue that gets repetitive at times. This results in a more tell, don’t show vibe from the story telling perspective. If it were in third person, I feel this would be cut down quite a bit. Having the main character explain everything and react to everything around him doesn’t quite lend itself to the conclusion of the book; it betrays too much emotion and feeling.
There were some bits that the pace dropped off and left me a little bored. Alternatively, there were also some parts that I was confused as to what purpose they served. It seems that the scenes in the dreamside are more in reference to another book by JD (Waking Dreams: the Torment of Colin Pierce) than really having anything to do with Trick’s tale.
The ending was not what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised at it. That being said, I do think that elements of it could have been executed a little more precisely and hinted at earlier on in the book. Red Herrings abound, but there is a lack of foreshadowing that would really balance it out.
All in all, The Scary Girls has a compelling story line. The characters are diverse and there’s great potential with their dynamics together. I think the characters themselves could be fleshed out a little more and taken to a deeper level, but overall, they drive the plot forward effectively.
If you are interested in experiencing The Scary Girls for yourself, you can find it at www.thedreamside.com.