Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
2007; Dutton Children's Books


Summary

Junior high really stinks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. 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 and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a strange substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he realizes he has a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer who is closing in . . . fast! (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

A few years ago, I was sitting in church listening to a boring fascinating talk, when I noticed the kid in the pew in front of me was reading a book. He was holding it at an angle where I couldn't see the title. I spent the better part of five minutes craning my neck and ignoring what I'm sure was fabulous spiritual insight to figure out what book the kid was reading. I never did catch the title, but once I saw the words "Vlad" and "Vampire," I guessed it wasn't a religious book.

Fast forward a few years...I assume the kid was reading one of the Vladimir Tod books. I finally picked the first book up after having it on my TBR list for a long time. It did not disappoint.

Vladimir Tod is half-human, half-vampire. His parents died mysteriously a few years ago. Now he lives with his aunt who sneaks blood for him from the hospital blood bank. The only other person who knows that Vlad is a vampire is his best friend Henry. Being a vampire isn't that big a deal for Vlad. Drinking blood at meals is natural to him. He's just a kid with a dietary difference. He hangs out with his friend Henry drinking a blood bag when Henry has Capri Sun. His vampiric nature definitely creates some awkward situations, but for the most part his life is like any other eighth graders.

This starts to change when a favorite teacher disappears and is replaced by an odd man who shows too much interest in Vlad and his uniqueness.

I loved the friendship between Vlad and Henry in this book. In a literary genre overrun by romance, it is refreshing to read a book that focuses on two buddies. Vlad and Henry work together to figure out what's going on with the disappearances. Henry has the tendency to follow Vlad around like a puppy dog, but Vlad is basically unaware of the inequities in their relationship (actually he wonders why cool Henry even bothers with him). They have a great banter throughout the book - typical boy talk.

This book bills itself as a light, humorous read, which it was. I was surprised, however, that it got as dark and dangerous as it did. Nothing too scary, but the danger was more intense than I expected it to be. I like the contrast of a sarcastic narrator and banter among friends with life-threatening situations and even a few heartfelt, touching moments.

Eighth Grade Bites is a fun start to a series. Definitely something for middle grade and early high school boys. And everyone else.

Rating: 4 / 5

15 comments :

  1. Hey Alison,
    I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! ;)
    http://darkestsins.blogspot.com/2011/06/versatile-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Something about being an avid reader just makes me HAVE to know what people are reading - especially if I see a teen with a book. I've contorted myself in very strange ways trying to see the cover of a book.... (nosey....)

    I haven't read these books, but they are "well read" in my library.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I heard about this book, but had no idea what it was about. Sounds really good. Different. Thanks for dropping by today!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really loved this series! I was hooked on it from the very first book! Nice review!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved Vlad and Henry too, they were fabulous! It was so much fun to read about a pair of guy friends for a change:) I'm looking forward to continuing this series when I get a chance, I think they'll get more complex and intriguing as they go:) Fantastic review Alison!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great review. I loved how you change the talk from boring to fascinating. haha. I love the title for the book, I'm iffy on the cover. But the story sounds intriguing and I'm definitely putting on my list of books for my teens. Thanks for the great review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've heard a lot of good things about this series. I'm going to have to check it out one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've heard of this several times before but I never bothered to check it out even after my friend told me it was a good book. Thanks to your review I will actually add this to my TBR now I like a good blend of humour and action. Makes me think of Jackie Chan movies xP.

    Sandy
    My WoW

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Alison,

    I'm just popping by to let you know that I have nominated you for The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Congrats! Go to this link to see the details.

    http://amyjonesyaff.blogspot.com/2011/06/irresistibily-sweet-blog-award.html#comments

    ReplyDelete
  10. These books have been popular amongst the boy readers in my library too, but I haven't gotten around to it. I love a sarcastic narrator and a great friendship. I'll definitely have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've heard about this series, but I've never actually read a review. It kind of sounds fun like Bloodthirsty, you know? Fab review :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aw, sounds cute. Especially Vlad and Henry's relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A vampire book I might enjoy! I like the idea it's not a romance.

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOL! I can totally picture these two playing video games and drinking their favorite flavors of "Capri Sun".

    Awesome review, Alison. You definitely had me laughing with that opening. That sneaky kid... reading about vamps at church.

    I've had these books on my TBR for fall to long, too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Haha, I love your opening story! I like the way you describe their relationship. I really love books that explore friendship between two guys so I'll be sure to check this series out now. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila