Review: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Source: Library
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Series: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #1
Edition: Hardback, 182 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 3/5

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 admit that I never had any true intention to actually start this series. The cover art is nice but I guess something about the “eight-grade” start out didn’t appeal to me. Anyway I’m sort of glad I did get this though. It’s not an amazing book by any means but it is short, fun, and pretty humorous at times. It’s not a book to be taken seriously and it does take you on a pretty fun ride with the main character, Vlad. There are references through out the book to vampire lore and media which at times caused me to chuckle, for example Bathory is the last name of an infamous “real” vampire (Countess Elizabeth Bathory, she murdered young girls and bathed in their blood) even the main character’s name is a reference to Vlad Tepes, the real Dracula. It’s obvious that the author knows her vampire lore and I really appreciated that because so many authors tend to create new lore or change the old.

Vlad is a rather normal guy who likes to stick to the sidelines, but he has a problem…he’s a vampire. I liked the fact that he isn’t the sought after guy in school and he doesn’t try to make waves. He’s a normal guy who makes mistakes and just so happens to drink blood from juice boxes.

However there are a few things that I didn’t like. At times the book goes comma crazy and  it becomes kind of distracting. Also this books is incredibly short for the storyline it produced, so at times it felt extremely rushed. It’s a real risk trying to get the reading involved with the characters and plot in only 180 pages. I feel like there could have been more to this, maybe in the details or something but the end is rushed (or at least it felt that way to me) and it didn’t affect me in the way if would have if I had gotten to ‘know’ Vlad, Nelly, or Otis a bit more. Overall it’s a decent and quick read. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series or not, but I am curious to see if it pulls together more in the next book.

3 star

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2 Responses to Review: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

  1. Amy S. says:

    I just read this book last weekend. I’m a high school librarian and we had the whole collection but the first book in the series (eighth grade bites) was missing so we had just re-ordered and received a new copy. I love brand new shiny books so took it home right away and read it. I loved the short easy read of it. It was interesting. I agree that it is probably more appealing to a younger crowd (junior high age) but at my high school we have so many kids who don’t like to read anything. So the shorter book length works as an advantage to get some of the reluctant readers to check it out. I like that the main character is male also. It seems like so many of the paranormal YA books have female main characters. Anyway, while not my favorite book, I still enjoyed it enough that I will eventually read the next in the series, just to see where the storyline goes.

    • I completely understand, it’s a great book for those out there who don’t normally read. It must be great to work as a librarian, it’s one of those occupations that always seem so perfect to me.

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