So, Sarah and Justine are very funny. And I have STRONG FEELINGS about vampire books. And the tagline for this book is "Friends don't let friends date vampires". I guess I was kind of expecting something like "The Hunger Pangs"? And what I got instead was this amazing, fully realized novel, with developed characters and a plot that I adored and enough laugh/cries to fill an entire evening.
The facts are these: Mel is an athletic, well-adjusted, reasonably clever girl whose best friend, the somewhat moony and romantic, very intelligent Cathy, falls for the only vampire at their high school (in this world, vampires are a Part of Society, but usually there is not tooooo much interaction). Francis, the vampire in question, absolutely sparkles with vampireness, except he can't laugh or cry or go out in the sun or eat, which is why Mel is not down with her best friend dating him. Also living in Francis's Shade is a human boy named Kit, who was left on the doorstep when he was an unwanted baby, and raised by vampires who treat him as an object of fascination/menace.
Kit, by the way, has the moment in the book that made me have to set the book down, roll around on the floor for a while, cry, and then tweet Sarah Rees Brennan to tell her what she'd made me do.
What really got me about this book was how MUCH of it there was. As I said, I was expecting a short, sardonic satire, not a full novel. And, just, SO MUCH NUANCE. I'm not even sure I can process it all. Everyone was just so REAL. It was amazing. You should totally read it. It's a perfect summer read, really. Or at least it is if you like amazing female characters and the boys who let them make their own decisions (and make decisions of their own). Mel, Cathy and Anna were all amazing in that regard, and the supporting cast (particularly Mel's sister and Camille, Kit's vampire-mother) were also fantastic.
Also, brilliant chapter titles. Just...I love chapter titles!
10/10 for making me laugh, cry, laugh/cry, think for one second about liking vampires, decide that vampires are not for me and then read the whole thing in about three hours. I love books like that!