Friday, January 21, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

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.(taken from


Ok. I really thought this book would either be a spoof or else just a cute, fun little read. It was a great read, but it wasn’t either one of those things! I really can’t believe how much I loved this book!

The first few chapters were a little tongue-in-cheek, probably because the reader is looking through the eyes of Jessica. Jessica is a rational sort of girl, one who doesn’t believe in vampires or the supernatural or the great mysteries of the world. So when the Romanian Lucius Vladescu shows up at her house, she thinks he’s a lunatic. Her parents know the story, but since she thinks they are slightly off-kilter as well, she dismisses the whole thing. For a while, at least!

It was wonderful to see how this book progressed from tongue-in-cheek, to teen romance and finally ended with political intrigue involving a centuries-long war between vampire families! And the crazy thing is that the plot really worked! I could not put this book down. I read it while cooking dinner, I read it while my toddler watched Thomas and then I read until it was finished. I had to see what was going to happen next!

I loved Lucius! One of the characters refers to him as Luscious Lucius, and that is right on target! He’s mysterious and slightly dangerous but he’s also chivalrous and attentive. The perfect mix for a dream guy, right? But seriously, Lucius really grew on me as a character. I know that he’s the one I’m supposed to like, but in the end, I found that I truly liked him as a person, erm, vampire, and that I was really rooting for him. I liked Jessica as well, and it was nice to watch her develop feelings for Lucius and also learn that the world may not always be a rational, scientific, mathematical place.

The letter that Lucius wrote to his vampire uncle back in Romania were one of my favorite parts of the book.  They were funny and entertaining, but they also started to give the reader a lot of insight into Lucius and his upbringing and how he was changing and growing.  I loved being able to get inside his head like that.

The ending of this book was great. Even though there is a sequel, which I plan to read as soon as it comes out, it was nice to have a book wrap up in a very satisfactory way. I want to know what happens next, but I’m happy with where the first book ended. Most books now leave you with such a cliffhanger that I’m almost afraid to start books that are in a series. It was refreshing to have a book wrap up nicely.

That’s not to say that I don’t want to read more about these characters! In fact, I immediately went to the author’s website at to see if there was another book. I also found a great surprise there! Not only is there another book coming out later this year, but she has an “in-between” book posted in its entirety on her website! I won’t tell you the title since I don’t want to spoil the first book for you, but when you finish this book, you can go read more on her website. I downloaded every chapter as a pdf file and loaded it onto my Nook!

I think this book is a great choice for high school girls. I don't think I would hand it to middle school girls and maybe not even some freshman girls because there is some sexual reference and a little bit of sexual tension tied into blood drinking. Nothing graphic, but it might not be something that a 12 year old girl's parents would want her reading.

This book is definitely an A! It was fun, mysterious and engaging and will be a quick and interesting read for teens and adults, especially vampire lovers.

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