By Beth Fantaskey
Pub. Date: February 2, 2009
The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.This book was a lot of fun and I was surprised how refreshing it was to read compared to other vampire books. Jessica was an interesting character to follow. She seemed a little childish at parts, but overall surprised me at the end. I liked the whole idea of being born a vampire and how there is more too it than just being bitten. The guide, "Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions" was a really fun touch to Fantaskey's book; however, my favorite part of the entire book was reading Lucius's letters to his uncle. The rest of the book focuses more on Jessica, but the letters give real insight into Lucius. The letters are funny and it is interesting to see how a foreign vampire reacts to American culture. The letters are about serious things, but Lucius can't help but throw in amusing pop culture references.
Even though I found the beginning of the book a bit slow, it picked up towards the middle of the book and the ending was great. I liked how the characters' were able to surprise me throughout the book. This book is essentially a vampire romance, but the book also has a wider appeal because of the focus of family and self-discovery. Jessica's adopted parents aren't exactly the type that would help your social standings, but their love for her is as strong as any parent's. Jessica's struggle to accept her true identity is something that many people struggle with everyday. Jessica even has issues in high school with bullies and being teased by the popular crowd.
"Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" is a fun book that will appeal to those who aren't normally fans of paranormal books. I can't wait to read Fantaskey's next book "Jeckel Loves Hyde". If she can create a unique storyline out of a vampire book, I can't wait to see what she can do with "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".