Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: Vampire Crush, by A.M. Robinson

Title: Vampire Crush
Author: A.M. Robinson
Format: Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: Dec. 28, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance



I picked up this book at a huge, beautiful Barnes & Noble several miles from my house, one rather boring Sunday afternoon, not too long ago.  Having become addicted to YA fiction (thanks to The Twilight Saga and the Harry Potter series), I was in search of something in that genre, preferably a paranormal romance.  When I came across this book, I thought the title was a bit too 'cutesy' at first, but went ahead and bought the book anyway, on pure whim.  And...am I glad I did, because this novel is a total delight!  It reminds me of the works of two paranormal authors who write funny vampire fiction -- Kerrelyn Sparks and Lynsay Sands.  Robinson does for the young adult paranormal genre what Sparks and Sands have done for the adult version, and she does it very well, too. 

The book's narrator, Sophie McGee, wants nothing more than to be the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at Thomas Jefferson High School.  Unfortunately, she has to impress Mr. Amado, her journalism teacher, whose ideas for the paper are not quite as lofty as hers.  Furthermore, she has a rival -- Lindsay Allen, the dynamic Student Council president.

Both girls end up getting the same assignment as the school year begins -- to interview a group of new students who have all registered in the same grade.  Sophie's dreams of journalistic glory are dashed, but she must take on the assignment if she hopes to be considered for the editor-in-chief position.  She has to interview four of the students, Marisabel Jones, Violet Martin, Neville Smith, and Vlad Smithson.  (The last student's name is a very obvious hint...)

Completing her task turns out to be quite a project though, as the students prove to be strangely elusive.  Vlad is especially so.  Still, Sophie, persists, hoping against hope that she'll be able to get her article in to Mr. Amado before Lindsay does.

Sophie soon discovers that Vlad is the acknowledged leader of the new students, who tend to band together, and immediately strike Sophie as being rather odd, as well as untrustworthy.  She's therefore unpleasantly surprised by Vlad's sudden interest in her stepsister, Caroline.  So is Marisabel, who is supposedly Vlad's own stepsister.  

The possible future editor-in-chief can smell a rather large rat, but, since she's been told not to attempt any journalistic investigation, she refrains from doing so -- at first.  The plot will inevitably lead her in that direction, however.  

Sophie has a bit more success with Violet, who sticks out like a sore thumb, due to her peculiar fashion sense and quirky, air headed manner.  She and Sophie become friends right away, though, as Violet starts to pump Sophie for information on dealing with unrequited crushes.  Sophie gives her a copy of Seventeen magazine, which Violet eagerly pounces on.  From then on, Violet will depend on the advice she devours in teen magazines, taking it so seriously that the reader has frequent attacks of hilarity as the novel develops.  

And then, there's "a blast from the past".  James Hallowell, Sophie's childhood friend, who used to steal her sandwiches in fourth grade, and once buried one of her flip-flops in his backyard, returns.  Except that he's somehow different...

There are at least a couple of genuinely scary moments in this hilarious vampire tale, naturally, but the overall tone remains lighthearted.  Sophie finally finds out that the new kids are vampires, and Vlad is on a very weird quest, one that will benefit only one person -- himself.  Inexplicably, he has convinced the other vampires to help him.  He becomes more and more dictatorial as the story unfolds, until at last they turn against him.  By this time, he has already broken up with Caroline, inflicting a lot of heartache on her, and even causing a rift between her and Sophie, whom Caroline ends up blaming for the breakup.

How Vlad's incredibly ridiculous quest turns out, and how the renewed friendship between Sophie and James begins to transform into something deeper, is part of what makes this book so enjoyable.  The other parts include the characterization, which is very credible, and the sharp, witty dialogue, as well as Sophie's narrative style.  Sophie herself is a very engaging character -- smart, funny, and determined to get that newspaper staff position, but yet, with an independent streak that would, in spite of her teacher's assessment, make her a fine investigative journalist. 

I kept turning the pages, taking little breaks here and there, because I kept cracking up over the very funny comments, as well as Sophie's thoughts in regards to the unfolding events.

Here are some comical references to a certain famous vampire series:

"Marisabel just shrugs, rolling on her back to stare up at an open copy of Twilight.

'This is not right at all," she says.  'Edward is dreamy, though.  Maybe you could get some tips.'"  (She's speaking to Vlad, who is very arrogant and self-absorbed.)

"You, uh, sparkle?"  I try again.  "I mean, now that I think about it, I've seen you in the sun and there doesn't seem to be any glitter action."  (Sophie speaking to James.)

I will have to check the author's website to see if she's planning a sequel.   The book does seem to be a stand-alone novel, but you never know...  If a second one is forthcoming, I will most certainly buy it, because I need to know what happens with Sophie and James!  And I need to know it as soon as Ms. Robinson can get that book out into her eager public's hands!! 


MY RATING:

10 comments:

  1. I've heard a lot of people say this book is a really fun play on the vampire genre! It seems very tongue-in-cheek, which I love. Definitely need to move this one up on my list!

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  2. Hey, Casey!

    Oh, I heartily recommend this book! It's absolutely hilarious!! And the humor never gets so exaggerated that it becomes boring. I sure hope you get it soon, so you can start enjoying it!

    Thanks for the comment!! : )

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  3. Nice review, Maria! Might check this out once my to be read books are done.. ^^

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  4. Great review, Maria! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with the Best Books Blog Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review all these books for us authors and readers.

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

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  5. Hi, Krishna!!

    Thanks for the compliment!! You HAVE to read this book!! You'll really enjoy it!!

    Thanks for the visi, too!! : )

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  6. Hi, Deirdra!

    Thanks for the compliment on my review, as well as for the award!! I'm really honored!! I'm glad to see that all my hard work is appreciated!! YAY!!

    And you have a BEAUTIFUL blog yourself!!

    Have a GREAT weekend!!! : )

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  7. You're making me regret passing up buying this book when I saw it on Asda's shelf :(

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  8. Hi, Cherry!

    Yeah, you really SHOULD be regretting it! Go get this book so you can enjoy the laughing sessions! (If you read it in one session, then you'll get all your laughs in that once. Lol.)

    Thanks for the compliment!! : )

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  9. A fine and honest review!
    But one thing: if you had the last name Stephenson, why would name your son Vlad? But I'm nit-picking.
    There's a book called The Radleys (by Matt Haig), which is a story of a vampire family earnestly trying to blend into human society, to the extend that they use spf60 sunblock and have yet to tell their teenage children the truth about what they are. It's very funny too!
    -Mac Campbell
    http:iwritehorror.blogspot.com

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  10. Hi, Mac!

    Thanks for the compliment!

    I really enjoyed "Vampire Crush". It was a fun, lighthearted read. I sure hope the author has more like this one up her sleeve!

    I've heard of "The Radleys", and I've been meaning to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation! : )

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THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

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