September 23, 2010

Guest Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Dee from e-Volving Books has stopped by today to give a review of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side


The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction. (Summary from Good Reads)

Grade: B+
I usually enjoy YA books, and frequently read them - Pratchett's Nome series, The Maximum Ride series, Neil Gaiman's Days of the Week series, Cassandra Clare, are amongst my favorite authors and books. So I picked up “Jessica's Guide to Dating..” and it started off promisingly.

Plot: Jessica is the adopted daughter of the Packwoods, who were in Romania when her parents begged them to take their child to safety. When her betrothed shows up in her small, hick town, she discovers she is a Vampire princess, with only one drink needed to turn her into a full vampire.

Plus: Jessica's conversations with Lucius are really well written, totally believable and hilarious. Her parents in their vegan farmhouse entertaining a bloodsucking Vampire created some funny scenes over the dinner table. She starts wearing dresses, and Lucius learns how to iron his clothes; she learns to dance, he learns how to wear jeans and play American sports. Lucius' letters home are a highlight with their outside-in look at America.

Minus: Perhaps a little more action could have helped the entire middle section of the book. It seemed to stall entirely. The subplot of Lucius' revenge-romance with her best enemy, Faith, didn't really work when I discovered the extent of his duplicity.

Characters: The character of high-school student Jessica was realistic, and snarky. Her friends were interesting, and the sense of small-town america was spot on. The multiple love interest angle J. struggles with was fun too!

The biggest problem here? Well, the issue for me is that this is a classic case of a good author rushing into writing a sequel-style novella. Read on below!

The Wedding of Antanasia Jessica Packwood and Lucius Valeriu Vladescu

This is available for free download off the author's website. Personally, this novella is way too sweetly romantic for me -- it felt like being in a dream produced by a 15 year old with a wedding obsession. The title gives it all away – the entire novella revolves around the wedding of t.he hero and heroine from the previous book. There is no further character development, even though opportunities are introduced. A new brother of the groom, jealousy from the best friend, discovering her real Mom's journal could have occupied far more space and been developed more than they were. In the end, everything came back to the central piece of the book: the wedding, its preparations, wedding gowns and location.

Still, this novella sequel remains the perfect read for someone young and a true romantic!

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