Young Adult, Mystery, Vampires
Hardcover $17.99 (352 pages, HARPERTEEN)
Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!
Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.
Weird, funny, and a little flawed... (3 stars)
When Mel's best friend, Cathy, starts falling in love with the new vampire at school it's up to her to nip that romance in the bud. Vampires might be an everyday—or night—part of life, they stick to their part of New Whitby and the humans stick to theirs. Cathy shouldn't be roaming around at night looking for her crush and Mel's got enough on her plate already. The school's principal, their friend Anna's mom, has been acting weird ever since her husband left them for a vamp. For Anna's sake Mel's going to get to the bottom of the weirdness. But getting tangled up in the romantic affairs of friends, avoiding one of her own, and a little bit of 'B and E' just seem to be par for the course when you're TEAM HUMAN.
Truth be told I didn't want to like this book and in the end found the one issue I really had over-shadowed all of what I did like. As funny and odd and somewhat parody-ish as it is it has one glaringly tough obstacle to overcome. I really didn't like Mel, as I dislike all protagonists who think they know better than their friends/parents/etc. In a weird way she's essentially racist which bothered me. She's also rude to everyone and almost a bully to Francis (the vampire). I honestly wondered why she had any friends at all when she was so snarky all the time.
The saving grace of the book was the mystery element and humor. If you like quirky set-ups and first person narratives it's told in an amusing way. Without going into spoilers I feel like I can't say too much regarding the plot. Astute readers will likely guess the outcome long before it happens. The secondary characters are enjoyable and odd. I couldn't help but adore Kit and relate a lot to both Cathy and Anna. I was exceptionally pleased that (and I do feel this both should and shouldn't be noted) Mel is ABC and not the usual caucasian heroine common in this genre. I want more racial diversity in my fiction (all genres) and kudos to Larbalestier, Brennan, and HarperTeen for making it happen!
Overall, it's a funny, weird tale, that's just the sort of read to enjoy on an afternoon poolside or huddled in the library behind a fortress of books. ;) Flawed to be truthful but not without some likability.
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Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.