Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

by Beth Fantaskey

Plot Synopsis: Nerdy 17-year-old high school senior Jessica Packwood pretty much hates all things ridiculous. She hides the fact that her biological parents (she is adopted) died because they were studying vampires. (It should be noted that her adoptive parents are crazy hippies, which I actually quite enjoyed.) One day, a Romanian dude (Lucius Vladescu) shows up, and tells her she is in fact a vampire princess, he is a vampire prince, and that after her 18th birthday they are to be wed in order to prevent a vampire war in their native country. Oh noes!


Vampire Lore: 3
The vampires were from Romania, which you rarely see these days, so I liked that. He drank blood, so that tradition stayed. However, I found it odd that in this world, vampire females don’t get their fangs until bitten by a male vampire. And that fangs pretty much act as erections for dudes. (Seriously. Whenever they get aroused, their fangs come out to play.) Also, Fantaskey completely throws the fact that vampires can’t be in the sunlight right out the window, by having Lucius say that it’s just a myth. Though I guess throwing out attributes of vampires cemented in the 19th century is totally acceptable if you have a master’s degree in journalism.

Love/Sex/Romance: 3
This book had a lot of almost-sex and making out, but no intercourse. I did like that in this world, vampire sex isn’t a big deal, and that blood sharing is more intimate. Less emphasis on sex in teen novels is good by me.

Fights: 1
Lucius’s vampire uncle beats him. Human style. With fists. I read about fist fights in any book.

Entertainment Value: 2
The momentum of the story was doing well, but I became really uninterested after Jessica came to terms with the fact that she was, in fact, a vampire. I finished it on the night I started it only because my boyfriend was playing Fallout 3 and I was bored.

Characters: 3
Nothing special; pretty cliche.

Writing: 2
It wasn’t anything I didn’t expect from a teen vampire romance, until the last few chapters. About 50 or so pages from the end, her best friend thinks she’s weird and she humiliates her sort-of boyfriend, so they don’t talk to her anymore. She doesn’t participate in graduation, but after hearing some news about Lucius (he’s back in Romania by this point) she gets on a plane with her vampire uncle within hours and goes off to her kingdom. Some drama happens, she gets bitten…and that’s it. What happened to the friends, they never reconciled? And her parents are not mentioned ONCE in that entire block of time. Way to give your loved ones a heart attack.

Overall, if you actually enjoy teen vampire novels, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you have three or four hours with nothing to do and you DON’T enjoy teen vampire novels, go play Fallout 3. Dogmeat is waiting for you!


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