Bad Girls Club
by Judy Gregerson

Published: 2007-07-24
Hardcover : 288 pages
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Destiny doesn't tell her friends what goes on at home. Neither does her little sister. In fact, her little sister doesn't talk at all anymore.

Destiny has a secret. She’s been told not to tell anyone what happened to her, her little sister, and her mother at Crater Lake. Or that her ...

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Destiny doesn't tell her friends what goes on at home. Neither does her little sister. In fact, her little sister doesn't talk at all anymore.

Destiny has a secret. She’s been told not to tell anyone what happened to her, her little sister, and her mother at Crater Lake. Or that her mother is mentally ill and hits her little sister.

But the secret is killing her and every day she remembers the bad thing she did at Crater Lake. Her boyfriend, Joshua, and best friend, Chloe, don’t understand. When she pulls away from them, and refuses to leave the house, they don’t realize that she’s trying to fix the mistake she made. They only know that she’s slipping away.

But trying to hold her family together doesn’t work. Destiny feels a darkness in the house and when Mom gets out of the psychiatric hospital, it takes over. First it attacks her little sister, and then it comes for her.

Destiny has to choose whether to expose the lies and the darkness or tell the truth about what happened at Crater Lake.

Can the truth really set her free? Or will she remain what her mother has always called her--a bad girl?

Editorial Review

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I lean over the table so my father will know I’m talking to him. “If I start work right after school gets out, I can probably buy a car by the end of the summer, Daddy. Isn’t that a good thing?” I clench my teeth, hoping it wasn’t the wrong thing to say, but once the words leave my mouth, I know it was. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From Judy:

1. Destiny says she’d like to fly away with her sister. But she never leaves. Why do you think she stays? What would happen if she left? If she took her little sister? Discuss loyalty to family and how it can be both a positive and negative thing.

2. Mom has labeled both her daughters as “bad girls”. It’s normal for a mother to tell a child that something they did is bad, but why did she work so hard to make them feel that they were bad and what did she gain by their thinking that? How did she use it against them to get what she wanted?

3. Destiny has a tremendous amount of shame because of what her mother did and how she reacted to her at Crater Lake. Her life changed when she told her mother that she’d help her. Discuss how that shaped her relationship with everyone in her life.

4. Who does the crow represent to Destiny? Why does she hate him at first and then look for him as the story goes on? Why does he show up at the end of the story and why is he so close to her?

5. Dad pays Destiny to help him with her mother. How do you think it makes Destiny feel to receive money for being her mother’s caretaker? How do you think it affected her self-esteem?

6. Why does Destiny believe that evil is a real being that has overtaken her house?

7. Cassidy never talks much and then she stops talking at all. Compare how she handles family problems with how Destiny handles them.

8. Why does Destiny abandon herself and try to save everyone else? At the end of the story she tells her Grandmother that it’s never important to anyone what happens to her. How does that shape her choices?

9. Some say that the weak bring down the strong. Discuss how weakness is often strength and how it can be used to manipulate people.

10. Compare Mom’s love of fire with Destiny’s hatred of darkness. What does the fire represent to Mom and what does the darkness represent to Destiny? How are they alike and different?

11. Discuss why Chloe stands by Destiny when she deserts her. Why doesn’t she tell someone what is going on so they can intervene? Was this good or bad?

12. Destiny is afraid to get too close to her boyfriend, Joshua. What is she afraid of exposing about herself and what does she think will happen if she does?

13. What process does Destiny go through before she realizes that she cannot save her mother? What does she think will happen if she lets go and what consequences will that have on her life?

14. At the end of the story, Destiny chooses to take care of herself. She also faces and understands the games her mother played to control her. Why didn’t she see this earlier in the story and what would have been different if she had?

15. How would Destiny and Cassidy’s relationship been different if their mother wasn’t mentally ill.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A note from Judy for BookMovement members:

Some years ago, I met a man whose mother had locked him and his little brother in the house, set it on fire, and left them to die. Talk about crazy!

I thought about his story, and two years later BAD GIRLS CLUB was born. It’s the story of two sisters, their crazy mother, and their ineffective father. After a horrifying incident on a cliff overlooking Crater Lake, Destiny is responsible for her little sister and her mentally ill mother who has been in a mental hospital four times. After years of believing a lie—that she’s a bad girl—she has to save herself and her little sister and face the truth about her family. She has to do it before it’s too late. And she has to do it before her mother kills again.

I love stories about families on the edge of danger and the survivors who escape them. There’s something fascinating about the human spirit and the fact that it can overcome, even when faced with great odds.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Great read about mental illness and how it rips one family apart."by Jennifer D. (see profile) 12/16/07

Great and interesting book about a family ripped apart by mental illness and child abuse as a result of the mental illness. Judy Gregerson spent 7 years writing this book and it shows. How she had the... (read more)

  "Dysfunction at its scariest!"by J. Kaye O. (see profile) 01/15/08

Like any teen, Destiny just wants a normal life. She’d love to get a summer job, hang out with her best friend, Chloe, and her boyfriend, but she can’t. Instead her life is spent caring ... (read more)

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