Thursday, June 4, 2009

the Chronicles of Vladimir Todd Book 1 by Heather Brewer

vlad1Eighth Grade Bites (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 1) by Heather Brewer 2007 182 Pages 4/5 While thirteen year old Vladimir Tod's friends drink their fruit juice boxes at school, he has his own bag of red drink....blood. Vladimir is what he thinks is the last of the vampires, the spawn of a human woman and his father, a vampire. He's the first vampire to ever be conceived this way. And he defies traditional views of vampires. He can go into the sun as long as he has his sunblock on. He doesn't drink blood from it's source, but rather from his caregiver, Nelly. Well, not exactly FROM Nelly, but she brings him "blood bags" home from her work at the blood bank. He attends school with all of the other teens, though he's less than popular and has to make sure to hide his fangs when he becomes angry. His best friend is Henry, the only person in the world aside from Nelly to know that he is a vampire after he bit him during play when he was 8 years old. Vlad's mother and father were killed mysteriously when he was younger and since then, Vlad has felt like an outsider. As much as Nelly and Henry try to make him feel normal and treat him as a human, he knows he is something else, a vampire. Things suddenly take a turn for the bizarre though when his english teacher goes missing and is later pronounced dead. Vlad starts to think that he may not be alone. Replacing his lost teacher is a bizarre man named Otis Otis. Mr. Otis is a fun teacher that everyone seems to like except for Vlad. Otis teaches the class of various mythological and folklore creatures. Witches, zombies, ghosts, werewolves...and vampires. And he always seems to have his eye on Vlad. When he tries to enter into Vlad's life more than a teacher is welcomed, Vlad grows worried. And he soon notices a mark on his teachers arm that is similar to the one that his father once wore, the same mark that is on a book of vampire secrets that his father left him. Combined with the discovery of his father's journals, he soon begins to think that he may not be as alone as he once thought he was. This first book in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod was SO MUCH FUN! I really loved it. It's not great literary writing by any means, but it's a truly fun, fast paced, and relevant story. Brewer makes a lot of fun puns throughout the novel. Of course there is Vlad's name...there's also a kid named Edgar Poe who goes by Eddie. There's a town nearby called Stokerton. A villian named D'ablo. You get the picture. But the novel isn't all fun and games. Sure there are the moments that make you snicker, but the majority of the story is a well thought out tale of a kid trying to find himself while in a very strange world. Think of it as a YA coming of age novel with a twist thrown in. Brewer "gets" teens and I think this bodes well for her books. This is a book that I would feel comfortable giving any kid that said "I hate reading." (such horrible words). Want to know what I did as soon as I finished Eighth Grade Bites? Ordered Ninth Grade Slays ;) Can't wait to continue with this series! And the third book comes out this month! And one more thing...these books have the best covers! I want Vlad's hoodie!

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