Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Author: Beth Fantaskey
Release Date:  February 1st, 2009
Publisher: Harcourt
Genre(s): YA Paranormal
Pages:  351
*1st book of a series*

~Spoiler Free~

Summary (Goodreads):
The undead can really screw up your senior year ... 

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

I liked this book... a lot.

I will admit: I read all four books of the Twilight series. (I was... book pressured? xD)  I thought they were... okay?? But this was back in middle school (dark times those were... jk jk LOL. I actually loved most of middle school xD),  but when I finally re-read them again my soph year (I don't know why I did that... I should have donated the books), I could finally see why they were considered so... horrifyingly terrible (but still, I would argue, a teensy bit less terrifying than most other vampire books out there).  

But *ahem* anyways. Moving on.

What I'm trying to get at here is that because of my experience with Twilight (and Vampire Academy and Hush Hush and other vampire books- I don't know why I read them in the first place (well actually, I do know- I was hoping to find a good vampire book...ha.ha.) and I think I'm mixing them up with fallen angel books??) I used to approach YA vampire books like I would my middle school's "popcorn chicken" (btw, while I think the soggy chicken was half real, the cheese and the corn was most definitely not): cautiously while holding back the gag.  But the title caught my interest, and as I began reading on, it was nothing like any other vampire book I'd read before.  The book totally caught me off guard, and it was surprisingly entertaining and very enjoyable.

Vampires in this novel are actually pretty normal beings- of course, they drink blood and are undead, yada, yada, but otherwise, they're mostly human with enhanced features.  No special powers or anything. I was surprisingly okay with that.  It was an interesting and new take on vampires, and I was ready to roll with non-sparkly vamps.  Of course, sparkle-less vamps alone doth not maketh a great story- but I didn't have to worry: this book also delivered with the characters and their dynamics.  Jessica and Lucius are HILARIOUS.  Jessica is an independent and spirited mathlete, while Lucius is the arrogant (but quirky ;)) vampire prince who always gets what he wants. Both of them have a snarky sense of humor, and neither of them are willing to back down.  Put them together, and the rest I'll leave up for you to find out in the book. ;)

What I will say though is that I loved the character development in this book.  They each go through major changes as the book goes on, with Jessica becoming more confident (quick tangent: I really liked how this book dealt with the issue of learning to love and embrace yourself), and Lucius becoming more human.  Those different sides were always a part of them, but being with each other brought them out, and I think those are the best relationships. :) I especially enjoyed Lucius' letters because we were able to see his change throughout the story, personally, and also hear his voice- untainted by Jessica's bias ;).

I did have a few iffies with this book, and most of those all dealt with the ending.  I thought the ending was a bit rushed, and that scene at the very, very end was a teensy bit overdramatic.  But those were really small iffies in the grand scheme of things, and while I did think it was a bit rushed, it was still a nice ending. ;)

Final thoughts? Great characters. Awesome development.  Nice plot (well, not so much a plot, but more of just a story of interactions).  My faith has been (semi-restored) in vampire books. xD

Thanks for reading!:)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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