Thursday, January 27, 2011

vampire books galore

I think that I've been reading a bit too much paranormal YA fiction. As much as I love my Nook, I blame it (and the ease of getting such books as e-checkouts from the library) for my increased jadedness with the genre. I gave up on Fallen by Lauren Kate halfway through. I also wasn't impressed by Evernight by Claudia Gray (the first in a series; the protagonist was born of two vampire parents and is attending a school for young-looking vampires trying to keep up with the changing times, which has just admitted humans for the first time ever; it wasn't bad, but I have no desire to read the other books in the series). I was, however, impressed with a book my friend Nancy recommended to me.

Sweetblood by Pete Hautman

Sweetblood is a refreshingly different vampire novel. Teenage Lucy Szabo is causing her parents grief. She's failing a couple classes, dressing like a goth, and frequenting vampire forums online.

Having been diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at age six, Lucy has had a lot of time to think about her condition. She has a theory... about vampires. The vampires of the middle ages were people with untreated diabetes. After all, "madness, ravenous hunger, extreme sensitivity to sunlight and sound, bleeding receding gums (that make her teeth look longer), cold, clammy skin, and deathlike coma" (32) are all symptoms of untreated diabetes. And, well we all know how people like to embellish stories...

I really like Lucy. She's very much a typical teenager. She's angsty without being too angsty. She's also very cheeky. Here's one of my favorite passages from the novel:
I recognize Guy's voice right away.
"Where were you?" I say.
"Who is this?"
"This is the grounded vampire."
"Where were you? I went to the Bean, but you weren't there/"
"I thought you were grounded"
"So?" I'm not going to make this easy for him. If he really likes me, he'll have to learn to deal.
"Sorry--I didn't think you'd be there."
"Well, I was."
"You know what I'm doing right now?"
"Talking on the phone?"
"I'm looking at that bug you gave me."
"Yeah? Is it doing anything?"
"It's just sort of having out. Where'd you get it?"
"I have my sources. Hey, you want to go over to the Bean? They're open till two. They have live music at night."
"Can't," I say. "I'm grounded."
Guy doesn't say anything for a couple of seconds, then, in a tentative voice, he asks, "Does that mean that I should to to the Bean anyway, just in case you decide to go--even though you can't go because you're grounded? Or do you mean you really can't go? Which is it?" (75)
I also appreciated the fact that though Sweetblood is a self-confessed vampire novel, it doesn't feel the need to rely on the paranormal.

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