My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Even though a 30-year old male is not the target audience for this satire of the vampire/paranormal romance novels that seem to be spontaneously appearing on the shelves of bookstores everywhere, I found I did enjoy this novel for what it was – a light, humorous take on the subject matter that is sure to be engaging for teens and genre-fans who can take a little good-natured ribbing.
Eighteen year-old Algonquin “Alley/Ali/Gonk” Rhodes is the self-proclaimed Ice Queen of the “Vicious Circle” – a clique of close-knit friends who not only run the school newspaper (blog), but somehow are allowed to turn the escapades of their classmates into gossip-rag fodder for mass publication. One of their favorite topics of ridicule is the excessive efforts teenage girls at the school make to try to nab a vampire boyfriend; in Alley’s school, dating the undead appears to be the epitome of cool.
Alley acts above all of that, clinging to her reputation and her independence like a badge. But when reviewing a band at a local venue for her paper’s music column, she falls head-over-heels in love with Doug, who, she belatedly realizes, is not really a really-cute goth boy, but rather a zombie hipster who shares her eclectic taste in music.
Selzer’s world is intriguing – vampires, werewolves, and zombies do exist, and they live (mostly) peacefully alongside humanity. Of course, there was that whole issue with Mega Mart raising and enslaving zombies for a cheap workforce, but now that the lawsuit has been settled and all those zombies are free to live their lives coexist, people have pretty much accepted the “post-humans”, and aside from all the vapid teenage girls wanting to date (and eventually become) “post-humans”, things are pretty normal.
I had a little bit of trouble believing in the character of Alley – here’s a bright young teenager with the scathing wit of a college junior who appears to be able to psychoanalyze her own motives in staying single, yet it takes her a couple of dates (and 60-something pages) to discover that Doug is a zombie. She explains this incongruity near the end of the novel, but by then I’d already written it off as something just to get past and treat the novel as a fluffy, witty (but not sparkly) book that will surely be snapped up by teenagers anxious for a novel take on both teenage romances and the paranormal. This isn’t a book I’ll be hanging on to myself, but if you know someone 13-18 in your life, they’ll probably enjoy giving it a read.
Note: I received this book as part of a contest giveaway.