"Eighth Grade Bites"
Pub. Date: August 16, 2007
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Synopsis: 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!
I have to say that I was shocked how much I ended up loving this book. I have been staring at this book for years and always played with the idea of reading it, but it took me finding the book available on CD to finally give it a chance. I love Vlad's character; he is kind of a dork but brave at the same time. He just seemed very believable. He did some brave things, but was scared and cried when he got upset. It was nice to see a male character that could show real emotions. Another good touch was that he wasn't the typical gorgeous vampire that girls and women drool over. I like that Vlad was kind of a misfit; it made him more relatable.
Even though the story seems fairly typical- teenage vampire, or half vampire in Vlad's case, trying to find a way to blend in with the rest of the junior high student body. He deals with the same problems that many teens deal with, but he also has to worry about people discovering that he is part vampire. I like how cleaver Heather Brewer was with solving the problem of Vlad eating during school- she could have gone the whole Vlad not eating route, but that would definitely raise suspicions at any high school. If people gossip about what clothing people wear, then I think it would be hard for them to ignore the fact that a teenage boy NEVER ate! I also like how the story wasn't just about Vlad trying to fit in with other students, even though that was a sub plot, but it was also about the death of his family and trying to figure out who is trying to kill him. It added more drama to the story making it have more appeal for readers.
Brewer did a great job introducing the characters and setting up a plot that can continue on through the rest of the series. Even though some mysteries were solved, there are a lot more questions to be answered leaving me craving for more. I will definitely be continuing with this series. I recommend "Eighth Grade Bites" to anyone who enjoys vampire books, especially for people who don't want something that focuses on romance.