Monday, May 10, 2010

Body Bags, by Christopher Golden

Body Bags, by Christopher Golden. New York: Pocket Books, 1999. ISBN-10: 0671034928; ISBN-13: 978-0671034924. 272 p.

Plot Summary
As Jenna Blake begins her first year of college, she worries about her future. She'd like to be a doctor, but she can't stand the sight of blood. Her father points her toward a job with the local medical examiner. When a congressional aide suddenly goes insane and commits a murderous rampage, the autopsy shows that his brain was diseased--and filled with insect larvae. Jenna is thrown into a world of rare disease, congressional politics, and mystery as she helps solve the puzzle of what--and who--has been killing those around her.

Critical Evaluation
Golden is excellent at conveying the excitement of the first year of college. While Jenna's time as a pathology assistant is fascinating, it's nice to see her work life balanced with classes and a social life. At times, Jenna's character seems too perfect--she never misses her classes, still spends a lot of time with her professor father, and has no roommate trouble--but her curiosity and kindness still make her an appealing character.

Reader’s Annotation
During her first year of college, Jenna Blake gets a job as a pathology assistant to the local medical examiner. When two victims are killed by a disease spread by insects laying eggs in their brains, Jenna uses her smarts to help solve the case.

Author Information
Christopher Golden published his first book in 1992--a non-fiction pop culture book called Cut! Horror Writers on Horror Film, which won the Bram Stoker Award--and has been a full time writer ever since. At the time of his first book sale, he was 25 years old and writing for Billboard magazine in New York, but moved back to Massachusetts with his wife once he started working as a writer. In an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith, he shared that he loves writing YA books because "kids and teens are so much smarter and wiser than they're often given credit for, and writing for that audience is a way for me to both communicate with younger people and to let them know that I don't feel that way, that they have my respect."

Golden has written in a number of different genres, including mystery, horror, thrillers, and fantasy, and has also published non-fiction pop-culture books, video games, comic books, an online animated series, and a movie script. Along with his YA books, he's also known for writing novelizations of popular works, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the novelization of Peter Jackson's King Kong. He writes more about his love of pop culture in an interview at Wondrous Reads.

Golden can be found on the web at


Curriculum Ties
Career exploration: pathology/medicine

Booktalking Ideas
-Excitement of the first year of college
-How Jenna  feels after her first autopsy--grossed out, but also intrigued by the idea that she can help people by examining their bodies for evidence.
Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 9-12

Challenge Issues
Gore, minimal violence.

I included this book because I enjoyed the first Body of Evidence book I read, and thought it would be interesting to read another.


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