Author: Julie Kenner
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (APril 3, 2007)
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This story is told from the point of view of Elizabeth. She's a junior in high school and has a whole lot going on. Including the fact that now she is a vampire. She goes to try out to be a cheerleader at her school, instead wakes up under the bleachers. She wasn't too sure what had happened until she realizes that suddenly a vampire. Now she has to deal with the fact that she didn't sign up for this! She didn't even want to be a cheerleader. She has to stop the vampires taking over before it's too late. But she can't do it alone. She gets some help from some people that she normally wouldn't be friends with, and realizes that they aren't too bad.
It's hard for me to review this book and tell what happend without giving away too much. It's also one that I read during the read a thon, and honestly didn't stick with me too well. It was a cute book, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I would recomend it for anyone who likes vampire books, but doesn't want to spend a lot of time reading. It was a very quick book, and didn't drag.
An excerpt is below the break.
If he weren't already dead, I swear I would kill Stephen Wills. I mean, the undead jerkwad completely ruined my sixteenth birthday. It's one thing not to get the car my dad promised me, but to be turned into a vampire? I'm sorry, but that's taking bad karma to a whole new level.
But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. My name is Elizabeth Frasier and I'm sixteen years old (dead?). I'm a junior at Waterloo High in Austin, Texas. Or, at least, I was a junior until I woke up dead in a field behind the school. I'm pretty sure that the Austin Independent School District's budget doesn't cover the education of the undead.
Austin, you might be interested to know, has the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in the world. I've known that fact for years. More recently, I've learned that Austin has a pretty hefty population of teenage vampires. Coincidence? I think not.
The thing is, I don't believe in coincidences. I believe in cause and effect, set-up and payoff. I've spent almost sixteen years' worth of weekends parked in front of a movie screen, and I know that it's always the stupid coincidences that have the audience groaning and throwing popcorn. But make the stupid coincidence part of a bigger plan, and we're right there on the edge of our seats.
It's like that in life, too. Something might look like a coincidence, but it's probably part of some overall scheme. Just because you don't see the big picture doesn't mean it's not there. And if you don't watch out, you might end up getting burned.
So you see, I should have realized. I should have known. But this is Stephen Wills we're talking about. Hunky, gorgeous, dreamy Stephen Wills. And all I can do is plead temporary insanity.
It started, like so many things in high school, during lunch...
"Are you going to eat your banana?" Jenny was staring mournfully into the purple Container Store lunch sack that her mom had packed for her that morning.
We were in our usual seats at a small table tucked in the corner of the cafeteria, near the window that overlooked the faculty parking lot. The table sat six. Two chairs had been dragged away for a cluster of boys who had their Gameboys wired together and were getting down and dirty with some game or other.
The other two chairs were empty. I expected they'd stay that way. It's not that Jenny and I weren't popular. (Well, we weren't, but that's not the point.) It's just that we were average. And we'd been snagging this table for ourselves for the last two years. I edit the school newspaper, and Jenny's our weekly columnist, so we usually had articles and pictures spread all over the place.
Jenny also writes The Waterloo Watch, an anonymous blog that's hugely popular. But I'm the only one who knows about that. And since Jenny can't reveal herself as the brains behind The Watch, she's gotten no coolness mileage out of the blog at all.
Which is too bad, really. Because at the moment, the whole school's all hyped up with this Voice of Waterloo contest to pick a guy or a girl who'll be the on-campus reporter for a news segment one of the local television stations is starting.
The Waterloo Watch has been running a poll, but I hardly needed to see it to guess who was in the running. Either Stephen Wills or Tamara McKnight. Why? Because only one month ago they were elected homecoming king and queen. And, honestly, the student body just isn't that imaginative.
Even so, Jenny swears that we have a shot, too. Her theory is that because we control who's in the news, that makes us cooler than the kids in the popular cliques.
"We have the power," she's always saying. "And that makes us sooooo much cooler than Stephen Wills and Tamara McKnight and their whole crowd."
It's sort of like the whole tree falling in a forest thing: If you're popular but nobody knows, are you really popular at all?
I'm thinking the answer is no.
I passed Jenny the banana, then shoved my uneaten tuna sandwich back into the sack and crumpled it up. I so wasn't up for food right now.
"So why are you eating my lunch?" I asked, nodding toward her lunch sack. "Nothing good in there?"
"Peanut butter." She made a face. "My mother's sole purpose in life is to torture me. She knows this stuff is loaded with calories. I'll be the size of a blimp if I eat this."
Since Jenny was about as big around as Lindsay Lohan after a fit of bulimia, I wasn't terrible worried about impending blimpiness.
"Trade?" she asked, starting to peel the banana.
I shook my head. "Can't eat. Nervous." I'd missed first and second periods in order to audition for one of the drill team's replacement slots, and I was counting down the minutes until the faculty advisor posted the names of all the girls who were getting a callback.
"I still can't believe you actually auditioned," Jenny said, since I'm not exactly the drill team type even though I've taken dance and gymnastics since I was three years old. "My mom wanted me to, and I told her I wouldn't even consider participating in such a sexist, anti-feminist ritual." Jenny's all about sniffing out and eradicating sexism.
I shrugged. "Yeah, well, you know." Just so the record's straight, the drill team hasn't ever been a huge ambition of mine, but right now I'm all about rounding out my transcript. I've got the academic thing down with my grades and three years of AP science and math classes. And I've got the leadership thing down with the school paper. All of which sounds really good if you're chatting with your grandparents, but I knew my application needed more. I needed something on there that proved I didn't have to be the one in charge. Colleges like to see that you're a team player. That's very, very important. All the how-to books say so.
Even my mom (who's a pain about most things) is totally behind my crusade to up my college appeal. My mom's a trial attorney, and her motto is that you can never be too careful or too prepared. Which was why she made me take my SATs early, and then apply to a ton of in-state schools, just so I'd have something lined up if the Shangri-La of higher education turned me down.
Now I've got conditional acceptance letters and one early admission invitation from four schools in Texas. But those are just my back-up plan. My Shangra-La is the Tisch School at NYU (with UCLA and USC running close behind). True, I hadn't informed my parents of the whole Tisch Is Nirvana plan, but that was just a minor oversight. Because no matter how much my parents might be gunning for me to be a doctor or a lawyer, I just didn't see that happening. Instead, I was going to make great movies. I saw myself as the next Stephen Spielberg, but without the scraggly beard and baseball cap. Or the next Coen Brothers, only without the sibling. Or Sophia Coppola. Only with, you know, a plot.
Whatever. The point is, I want to get accepted to Tisch, and that meant I was doing everything—everything—to make sure my application was so stellar that there was no way they could turn me down. (Technically, I think they can now turn me down for being dead. Which sucks. And which is why Stephen Wills was going to pay big time. But while I was waiting for drill team callbacks that day, I was still blissfully alive and unaware of my impending vampiness.)
I needed a perfect college application, and that meant extra-curriculars, and that meant drill team.
Which is why I was totally stressing about whether I'd made the team.
"I hate this," I told Jenny. And I did, too. I always know how I did on tests and stuff. But right then, I had no clue what was going to happen, and it was making my stomach jump around in a really unpleasant way.
"So, are you too nervous to eat anything at all?" Jenny asked, and this time when I looked up she was holding a chocolate cupcake with a single candle. "Happy birthday!"
"Oh, man!" Honestly, I thought I was going to cry. "No one else remembered."
"No one?" Her tone was bland, but I knew she understood. My parents divorced six months ago. You'd think I would have suddenly been their priority, but it hadn't worked out that way. Instead, they just shifted me between Mom's house and Dad's apartment, and tried to pretend like everything was normal. Let me clue you in here: everything was far from normal. Very far.
"Whatever," I said, running my finger over the icing and then sucking it off.
"Maybe they're just waiting until tonight. Your dad said he was getting you a car, right?"
"He hinted heavily." A few months ago, my dad got me a part-time job in the lab of a nearby hospital where he has privileges, and last weekend he came into the lab and dropped some pretty heavy hints. But this was my dad we're talking about—a man who can remember the diagnosis of a patient from fifteen years ago, but can't remember to buy milk—so I knew better than to get my hopes up.
"Hmm," Jenny said.
"Hmm," I agreed. Then I took another fingerful of chocolate.
Jenny looked around the lunchroom, as if expecting my dad to drive a Mini Cooper into the room at any second. "Beth!" she hissed, whipping back so fast her ponytail smacked her in the face. "Ladybell just got here!" Ladybell is the drill team coach and—yes—that's really her name.
My stomach quit doing flips and started doing jazz hands, fluttering so much that I thought I'd barf up the tiny bit of frosting I'd just ingested. This was it, I thought. Fail, and my application's screwed.
Even worse, it would be the first time I'd failed at anything at school.
And honestly, I wasn't really sure I could deal with that.