Monday, January 24, 2011
REVIEW: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Junior high really stinks 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 and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he realizes he has a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer who is closing in . . . fast!
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer is such fun. First book in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, we see our hero through eighth grade. And middle school isn't easy on anybody. It's such an awkward year and everyone's unsure of themselves, no one more so that Vlad Tod. He has reason to be, as a he's half-vampire.
Vlad is such a great character, he's a very different vampire than I've read before. Uncomfortable with himself and unsure of where he belongs. No moodiness or angstiness. Instead I could relate to his experiences a lot more, having been a teenager and gone through eighth grade myself. Plus I love his sense of humour.
Vlad is the target of bullies at school, his new teacher is stacking up the homework. Besides that, he's hopelessly in love with Meredith, but she seems to have a crush on his best friend, Henry instead. He lives with his 'aunt' Nelly after his parents died and Vlad struggles to remain normal despite the need to drink blood. I absolutely love the sweet relationship between Vlad and Nelly. I love that they aren't technically related but you can really tell how much each cares about the other. And his friendship with Henry. Very teenaged boy relationship, but I'm glad that Vlad has someone outside of family who knows his secret and is accepting of it.
I love how OK with being a half-vampire Vlad is. He is what he is and that's it. Until he goes searching for information on his family for a class project and uncovers more about his father and his role in the vampire world than he'd ever known before. And suddenly his vampireness seems to be putting him in danger.
I think this is an excellent beginning to a great series. I think there's so much room to grow and move forward from here. The characters are interesting and loveable, especially Vlad and Nelly. And I can't wait to find out what happens next for Vlad in the rest of the series.
Huge thanks to Penguin sending this book for me to review!