Friday, February 19, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #1)
My first reaction to Eighth Grade Bites was "oh no, not another vampire series." Frankly, I'm tired of the glut of all vampire stories. I read the first Vladimir Tod story at the request of one of my students, a huge fan of the series.

Vlad is an eighth grader with a gigantic secret. He's a vampire. And to top that -- he was born a vampire, not made one. He lives with his adopted aunt (She's human), since his parents died in a strange fire several years before. Besides all the vampire related issues he deals with, he has to contend with regular eighth grade stuff too. He has problems with bullies at school. The girl he likes sees Vlad as a "friend." When one of his teachers at school goes missing and the substitute seems a little too interested in Vlad, Vlad begins to fear that his secret, and maybe even his life, is not safe.

The story is a strange combination of suspenseful horror and humor. The fear of the vampire hunter finding Vlad strangely turns into the silly visual of Vlad drinking/eating a blood slushie. I liked how "normal" Vlad seemed, if you totally dismissed the whole vampire thing. Students reading this will be able to identify with the human aspects of Vlad's life, while escaping reality with the more fantastical parts. This installment really just seems to provide a set-up for the ongoing plot. Characters are introduced, histories are told, relationships blossom.

For the most part, I liked Eighth Grade Bites. I wasn't at all surprised with any of the twists in the story, so that's probably why I became a little bored. But, I think it's a story that is highly appealing for middle school students. I give it a C.

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