Brewer's first children's book, first of the planned Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, is like a Laurell K. Hamilton toned way down for the elementary school set. Vlad is miserable. His mother and vampire father died years ago in a suspicious fire, and he lives in a small town with his maternal aunt, a nurse who regularly raids the blood bank for him ("Could you get me O positive this time? That's my favorite," he nonchalantly asks her as he spoons "a big, sweet glob of half-frozen blood" into his mouth). His best friend, Henry, is the only other person who knows why Vlad is so meticulous about applying sunblock and why he brings lunch to school. But when Vlad's English teacher goes missing (readers know he's been murdered), the substitute teacher, Mr. Otis, seems uncannily wise to Vlad, leaving Vlad to worry that he may be exposed. The mystery and suspense angles never get scarier than, say, a Goosebumps installment, and the tone stays mostly light, with plenty of descriptions of Vlad's diet that are to gag for. Brewer catches the wretchedness of adolescence: the hero's crush on a classmate is dead-on in its understatement and inaction, and his friendship with Henry encompasses lots of banter and insults. The uninitiated will appreciate the ample stock of vampire lore, while the more knowledgeable will sink their teeth into the puns. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series #1)by Heather Brewer
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… See more details below
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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!
Vladimir Tod's is a vampire-or at least sort of; he's not quite sure. His father was a vampire, but his mother was human, and they died three years ago in a mysterious accident. Now Vlad has only his friend Henry and his "Aunt" Nelly, his mother's best friend who is raising him, to confide in. He has a hunger for blood, although he's been trained since babyhood to be "normal" and not to act on it. He gets by because Nelly, who's a nurse, brings home bags of blood from the hospital where she works, and he hides one or two in his backpack for when he gets hungry. But Vlad realizes that his father had a history he didn't know about when his English teacher vanishes mysteriously, to be replaced by a tall, thin substitute teacher in a purple top hat who seems to know a little too much about him. This story comes with all the usual eighth-grade angst, and none of the characters is particularly gripping. While some vampire fans will enjoy it, others will find the way that Brewer plays fast and loose with the standard vampire lore hard to swallow. Eighth Grade Bites reads like the novelization of an unexceptional made-for-TV movie.
Walter MinkelCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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