Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
On my TBR list?: No
Genre: supernatural fiction, middle school
Book 1 of an ongoing series
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary, from Goodreads:
Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer.
Eight Grade Bites came home with me from the library because C2 asked for it. Apparently, it is popular at the middle school; her twin C1 called it "witty and exciting". I wasn't going to read it myself until I ran across an article that attempted to put the fear of God into parents about the evil that lurks behind the covers of YA novels. It made me realize that I had fallen down a bit on my book screening duties, so I put on my Good Parent hat and read it.
Unfair though it may be, my brain immediately made comparisons to the Harry Potter series. This series deals with the supernatural and is set up where each book covers an entire school year, but I think that is where the comparison should end. Brewer isn't as verbose as Rowling, which can be seen as a good or bad thing. The books are shorter and easier for a reluctant reader like C2 to get through. The downside is that many of the characters surrounding Vlad aren't as fleshed-out as Ron, Hermione, and Draco in the Rowling series.
Brewer takes a little too long to set up the "big bad" for the series, but otherwise the book was enjoyable. I found the descriptions of how the main character works blood into his diet without biting anyone to particularly inventive. Also, I appreciated the fact that Brewer doesn't shy away from the fact that vampires do bite people and those people sometimes die. It is a testament to her skill that she does it in a way that isn't too gory for the average middle-school kid.
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