Title: Eighth Grade Bites, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
Author: Heather Brewer
Genre: young adult
Release Date: 03/13/2008
My favorite line combo:
Henry wrinkled his nose. "Dude, what smells like cat pee?"
"You mean besides your breath?"
"Don't make me get the holy water, Vlad." (excerpt: page 24.)
Description: Vlad has to keep his vampire urges under control while dealing with the pressures of middle school.
Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates junior high. 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, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: He's being hunted by a vampire killer.
RECOMMENDED + 1
My Oasis Thoughts: Eighth Grade Bites is the first tale in a five-book series of Vladimir Tod, an eighth grader living in the horror of his last year of middle school all while hiding his true identity. It's a fun read, lighter than a lot of other vampire stories I've read.
From the opening scene, I was hooked. Heather Brewer does a great job of conveying the 'normalcy' Vlad craves. She places him in every day, normal settings any eighth grader would have to butt up against. He has the best friend, crushes on the cute girl in school, and has Aunt Nelly--the responsible guardian. Of course as the story progresses, he finds himself in a few unusual situations which is expected of any paranormal story.
Vlad is an articulate kid with a thirst for blood. Although his thirst is quenched through blood bags brought to him by his aunt, he does desire blood. Real human blood. He's not bound by some animal or vegetarian diet. This is a sweet coming-of-age story, despite Vlad's genetics being half human/ half vampire. Sweet...yup, I said that. I think Vlad is sweet. He grows stronger, smarter, and more courageous and in the end must face a few tough choices. He grows between the pages.
Although this book is considered young adult, I would recommend it to a selective middle grade audience. Those kids who are avid readers and relish in the paranormal. There is nothing vulgar or sexual about any scene or word. It's tastefully, and yes, sweetly done. Bravo, Ms. Brewer.
I look forward to reading the next installment: Ninth Grade Slays.