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Yes, Its a Book About Vampires: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Yes, its a book about vampires. Teenage vampires.

Eighth Grade Bites is the first book in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series written by Heather Brewer. The book centers around Vlad’s eighth grade year; his last at Bathory Junior High.  Vlad, along with his aunt and best friend, has grown up knowing he is a vampire, but for the most part he lives a relatively normal teenage life.  He has a loyal best friend, a cute girl he crushes on, school to worry about, and bullies who harass him.  Vlad is also still mourning his parents who died in a house fire a few years earlier.

The mysterious death of a favorite teacher however, brings a strange substitute, Mr. Otis, to Bathory Junior High.  While trying to find the truth surrounding his teacher’s death, Vlad soon realizes that Mr. Otis has been paying a little too much attention to him and Vlad starts to wonder if Mr. Otis knows his secret.  His fears are confirmed when Mr. Otis returns an essay to Vlad with “I know your secret” scrawled across the paper.  At the same time, it is also becoming clear that there is a killer vampire on the loose and he is hunting Vlad.

I excitedly picked up this book over the summer because I liked the cover art.  Yes, sometimes its okay to judge a book by its cover! It really is an eye-catching cover; the simple black and white with the pop of color on Vlad’s sweater just screams “I’m hip! Read me!”  About halfway through Eighth Grade Bites I realized that the story was just as fun as the cover.  What I enjoy about this story is that it takes itself lightly.  Thank God, because teenage vampires who take themselves too seriously has been done already.  Eighth Grade Bites is pretty tongue-in-cheek, and Vlad himself likes to play off that wit by wearing shirts with slogans like “Vampires Suck”.

The cover and humor help make this book a good pick for reluctant readers, and it apparently was named an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.  Being a school librarian, I will say that I’ve had kids who usually aren’t interested in reading pick up this book, check it out, read it and enjoy it!  (Yay!) Although I have five copies of Eighth Grade Bites in our school library, there is always a waiting list and all the books in this series fly off our book fair racks!

If you’re tired of teen vampires, this may not be the book for you.  However, if you’re looking for an entertaining read you can’t go wrong with Vlad!

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Sorry but I Can’t Help It: “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater

Are you ready for some good old fashioned all-consuming teenage romance?  Yes!  Good!

I think Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is a lot like Twilight, as both revolve around teen romance with a supernatural twist, but I like Shiver better! Now don’t get me wrong, as pure entertainment Twilight was fun but for me that’s it. Its just that Shiver has so much more…mystery, intensity, and much stronger characters.  OK, so I know it’s not fair to compare one book to another but I can’t help it!

Shiver is the story of Grace, a high schooler in Mercy Falls, Minnesota, who feels an indescribable connection with the wolves who live in the woods behind her house. One wolf in particular; the one with yellow eyes. The one who protected her when she was attacked by the pack six years ago. The wolf, a boy named Sam who shape-shifts between human and wolf as the seasons change, is also inexplicably drawn to Grace.  A missing teenager and the subsequent wolf hunt lead Grace and Sam to each other and beings a hunt of their own as they try to figure out the mystery that surrounds Sam’s wolf pack.

First things first, this book is full of mushy teenage love and lust (quite a bit of teenage lust), but it didn’t make me want to puke. The characters have a reason to be so enthralled by each other because their time together may be painfully short. So, if teenage romance is not your thing, this is not the book for you.

One of my favorite things about Shiver is that it’s told from two different points of view, that of Grace and Sam. This allows the reader to see the characters’ personalities in more depth. Also, I love the fact that Grace is a strong character! She has her faults, but throughout much of the story she is the one taking care of her friends and she never plays the helpless damsel in distress role. I also thought the author’s take on the werewolf myth is fresh and interesting.  But to say more here would give things away! :)

Overall, I’d have to recommend Shiver to older young adult readers (maybe 16 and up) due to the lingering sexual electricity throughout the story.I really enjoyed this book and now I’m reading (or listening to) the sequel.

-Ctina

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A Pretty Good Read: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Imagine you have been told you were ugly every day of your life.

For fifteen year old Tally, that’s life; the life of an Ugly.  Forced to leave her parents, live in a dorm full of other Uglies, and forced to dream about life as a Pretty.

The Pretty life isn’t far from Tally’s grasp though, since she turns sixteen in a few months.  In Tally’s world your sixteenth birthday means extreme full-body cosmetic surgery that turns an Ugly into a Pretty.  As a Pretty, life consists of moving into New Pretty Town, having whatever you want and partying whenever you want. Tally can’t wait.

As Tally’s birthday draws closer, however, she meets a new friend and is confronted with intense decisions that may mean loosing her dream of becoming a Pretty.

Basically, Uglies is a must read for science fiction loving readers; its full of space age toys such as hover boards and interface rings mixed up with hot topics like the environment, politics and privacy.  But even if you’re not that into Sci-Fi or hot topics, you’ll still find Uglies an enticing, exciting, and quick read.  I’d recommend it for ages 13 and up simply because anyone younger might not grasp the concepts presenting in this book.

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Young Adult Fiction is Tasty!

Welcome to Book Tasty!

Hopefully you stopped here because you have a hunger for reading and talking about Young Adult Fiction like I do. Book Tasty is meant to be focused on Young Adult fiction and is kind of experimental so for now the plan is to post once a week.

Please check back soon!