January 2011, Razorbill
192 pages, Paperback
Vampires, high school, hidden identity, friendship, orphan, family secrets, occasional mild teen romance, infrequent violence, bit of intrigue.
Summary from Penguin
From the blurb alone, this book sounded pretty fab. There were a few cool parts when I started it. However, for a good part of the novel it rated just 'okay'. It wasn't so bad that I'd put it down, because I wanted to find out why it was so popular. For me the pacing was a little all over the place - there would be chapters with the killer which had me going 'eeep'. But then when it switched to Vlad, the story wasn't very dynamic. It was great to learn about how he fit in at school, how close he was with his friend who knows he's a vampire and the lengths his aunt goes through to keep up his appearance of being a normal boy.
Closer to the end the pace picks up a little, so there is action and drama in most of the chapters. There are some pretty neat revelations for and about Vlad. I'd have liked a little more hints for these earlier on, and possibly a bit more detail - sometimes it felt that it was quite abrupt and choppy (possibly not the best expression for a book...but it chopped and changed).
Please don't think that I disliked the book. For me it was a light read. I am now very eager to read the second because of what happens at the end. I see why it is so popular. I think I wish the drama near the end could have been sustained throughout the book. However, there are major creep factors with both the killer, and also Vlad's new substitute teacher, who is rather shifty and not someone you'd want to meet after dark. It was really neat how Vlad had blood capsules hidden in his school food, just so that he wouldn't starve throughout the day. He works hard on keeping his identity hidden. His friend Henry will stick by him even if he does get outed.
A light read if you enjoy vampires in high school with a little bit of adventure and a whole load of intrigue.
Be sure to check out more books in the series, and further information on Heather's website.