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!