I Have a Bad Feeling About This, by Jeff Strand:
Review and Guest Article
New Young Adult Book from Sourcebooks
My 10-year-old daughter and I just love this book. I’ve thought Jeff funny for years now, but when I heard about this book I knew that it would be a really cool read for someone her age. She’s not the daughter that’s the princess, she is more of the tomboy, so she likes Diary of a Wimpy Kid types of books, though her reading level has increased beyond that. She enjoys books that are about survival in history, or in the elements, enjoys Survivor on TV, and also likes really funny joke books and reading materials about kids in all kinds of crazy situations. I was spot on when we read this book and it totally fit the bill in regards to her personal reading list. She says to tell Jeff, “that he is some crazy funny writer and to write her more.” She really liked that it had archery, she said.
Personally, I thought myself that Strand did a good job with the action scenes, the dialogue, and with maintaining what the actors were thinking in their own heads. He had a good handle on how teens might act in this situation. You know, NORMAL teens, not over the top Disney channel type of teens (well maybe when Shia LeBouf made Even Stevens famous), but normal teens put into unlikely scenarios. I like Jeff’s banter and I think most teens will as well. It’s clean comedy with great humor. He also had great character development and a fun way of capturing all the coming of age angst that teenagers feel. Sent off to camp to be made stronger and more confident, these characters eventually take on more than any adult might handle.
I really liked the Survival Tips that were given at the end of each chapter and found them hilarious. I think that many adults could probably read this book just for a laugh at its twisted nonsense and it would probably make a pretty good movie. I suppose we can also note that if you look past the humor, it has a message too of how kids are sometimes misjudged and how certain circumstances can really show their inner foundation.
Rip-roaring funny and a delight for any teen reader, this book will be breezed through with its non-stop action and hilarious content. Any kid is going to eat it up like the candy hidden under their bed and scream for more.
And that concludes the review and my sitting on pins and needles waiting to see what funny thing Strand will say or do next. Oh, one final note, if you’re an adult that was an 80s child like me, you’ll probably like this too.
Now enjoy Strand’s insane humor in this unique guest article…..
“Characters Taking On A Life of Their Own”
Guest Article by Jeff Strand
There is nothing more magical for an author than when your characters take on a life of their own, almost as if they’re writing the story instead of you!
Or so I hear. My characters do exactly what I tell them.
MY CHARACTER: Look at me! I have my own free will!
ME: The hell you do. As punishment for your insubordination, I’m adding a psycho killer with a chainsaw to this scene.
MY CHARACTER: No! No! Noooooooooo–[rest of sentence unintelligible].
I’m the boss of my books. In my new novel, I Have A Bad Feeling About This, sixteen-year-old Henry Lambert gets sent to survival camp by his parents. But it wasn’t really his parents. It was all me, typing words on my laptop which, read in the proper sequence, shared the dialogue and descriptions involved with the act of parents sending their teenaged son to camp.
Why would I let my characters take the credit for all of my hard work? Henry didn’t do squat to help me write this book. It would’ve been nice if he had. I’d have enjoyed a scenario like:
ME: Gosh, I feel like going to the sunny beach today! I’ll pack my beach chair and my towel and some sunscreen and a dozen hot dogs and…[sadly], no, wait, I have a book to write. Aw, man.
HENRY: Hey, I’m your main character! Why don’t I tell you how I would behave in this situation?
ME: Really? You’d do that for me?
ME: That would be great! Wow. I’m going to stop for ice cream on the way home, too!
But that wouldn’t happen. The true conversation would be:
ME: Hey, Henry, what would you say if you ate a poisoned berry?
MY WIFE: Who are you talking to?
ME: Uh, nobody.
MY WIFE: Did you call somebody Henry? Isn’t Henry the name of the main character in the book you’re writing? Are you talking to your fictional character???
ME: No, no! There’s this one guy named Henry who I thought was here but I guess he left to go get some–
MY WIFE: Liar! Your mind has been overcome by a cloud of madness! Off to the asylum with you!
MEN IN WHITE COATS: Hi. We were waiting outside your house, just in case. Come with us, please. Don’t make us use the…actually, we were really looking forward to using the tranquilizer dart, so we’re going to go ahead with that even though you’re not putting up a struggle.
TRANQUILIZER DART: Thwack!
Truthfully, when I hear an author say, “My characters tell me what they’re going to do!” I think, “Well, then, you’re a damned plagiarist!”
I wrote I Have A Bad Feeling About This. Every word. My editor made me change some words, but I wrote the new words, too! No way do my characters get the fame and money. That would be crazy!
by Sourcebooks Fire
Wilderness Survival Tip #1
Drinking your own sweat will not save your life. Somebody might have told you that, but they were trying to find out if you’d really do it.
Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors–but that doesn’t make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn’t agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp.
Strongwoods isn’t exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the “camp director” is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry’s sure he saw a sign written in blood…
Wilderness Survival Tip #2
In case of an avalanche, don’t despair. You’re doomed, but that’s a wicked cool death.
Wilderness Survival Tip #3
If you’re relying on this book for actual survival tips, you’re dead already.
Jeff Strand, Biography~
JEFF STRAND is a three-time nominee for the Bram Stoker Award and will emcee the 2014 awards. Both of his YA books, A Bad Day for VooDoo and I Have a Bad Feeling About This, are both Junior Library Guild Picks.
Jeff lives in Tampa, Florida, and would last approximately three seconds in a true survival situation. But he’s okay with that, because he mostly just types stuff in a safe bear-free environment.
Check Jeff out at: