Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story

Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story

3.5 29
by Adam Rex

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Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it's just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her&

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Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it's just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it's not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings. . . .

Searing, hilarious, and always unexpected, Fat Vampire is a satirical tour de force from one of the most original writers of fiction today.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Quattlebaum
…Adam Rex deftly spoofs the popular vampire genre while delivering a novel that's surprising, funny and poignant.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
As vampires go, 15-year-old Doug Lee is an abysmal failure. Forever frozen as an overweight teenager, he's stumbling through his unlife. He can't seem to master his powers, can't score a quick nibble off a cute girl, and risks bursting into flames every time he goes to school. Worse, his escapades attract the attention of other vampires, and a sensationalistic cable show dedicated to proving that he exists (before staking him). Things take a turn for the better when he gains a mentor, learns there may be a way to reverse his vampiric nature, and falls for a cute Indian exchange student. But in typical Doug fashion, the more optimistic he gets and the more he embraces his new powers, the more it all stands to fall apart. Filled with a self-aware cleverness, Rex's (The True Meaning of Smekday) deconstruction of the vampire mythos draws some thought-provoking parallels between vampirism and elements of contemporary society, particularly the consumptive power of technology and the Internet. But like its subject matter, it seems to lack heart, and the ambiguous ending may leave readers cold. Ages 14-up. (July)
VOYA - Alissa Lauzon
Attacked by a vampire, Doug is permanently stuck as a dorky, fat fifteen year old. Thankfully, his best friend, Jay, has been supportive and willing to help (including causing a distraction so Doug can rob a blood bank at Comic-Con International to regain his strength). Doug desperately desires a relationship with a girl, preferably one who would not mind sharing her blood on a regular basis. He quickly becomes infatuated with Sejal, an exchange student from India who is looking to recover from "the Google." His attempts to win her over, however, remain unsuccessful, and Doug faces bigger problems in the form of a television show called Vampire Hunter, which is hunting him, as well as a less-than-welcoming reception by the senior vampire elite. Rex has crafted a completely original vampire story devoid of both romance and horror. It is difficult to feel sympathy for Doug because he is intensely unlikable; his completely self-centered attitude along with his continual jokes at Jay's expense and homophobic comments make him come off as a jerk and a bully. Rex has nailed the awkwardness and dialogue (complete with new variants of the f-word) of a typical teenage boy, but he relies on the dialogue too much to move the story forward. The point of view is awkward and leaves certain storylines unexplored or underdeveloped. Fat Vampire will unlikely have the mass mainstream appeal of other vampire books; however, it will find appreciation among sophisticated readers who will enjoy exploring the nuances of the story. Reviewer: Alissa Lauzon
VOYA - Mary Boutet
Not only was this book funny and full of references that will make any fangirl squeel, it's beautifully written and profound enough to make Joss Whedon proud. After all of the vampire books jumping on the Twilight bandwagon, I loved Rex's use of vampirism as a metaphor for Doug's failure to mature with the rest of his friends—vampirism became an inhibiting curse that kept Doug from seeing past his homophobia and obsession with social status, making his increased attractiveness seem less important. Rex introduced a number of protagonists, each offering a perspective that added to the story. The choose-your-own-ending option was something I've never seen before, and it worked perfectly. I recommend this book to anyone. Reviewer: Mary Boutet, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
Doug Lee is a fat, fifteen year-old geek who has lousy luck: he has been turned into a vampire and is destined to live for eternity in the body of a chubby, comic book-loving, blood-sucking dork. Sejal is an Indian foreign exchange student who suffers from "The Google," an addiction to the Internet that is so strong she travels to the US and to a family with bad Internet connnectivity to cut herself off from her need to videoblog. Doug falls hard for Sejal, but she senses in Doug the same deep unhappiness she feels in herself. Doug has to contend with his feelings for Sejal, his quest to prove himself to her, and how to master being a vampire, which is a lot harder than he thought it would be. Meanwhile, a vapid reality show called "Vampire Hunter" is on Doug's trail, and Doug has to avoid being killed by the show's crazy host who is bent on killing him on-camera to bump the show's ratings. He also has to deal with being an odd vampire out in the local vampire coven. In this funny and touching novel, Adam Rex combines a spot-on depiction of the shallowness and sensitivity of teens with an exciting and fast-paced vampire adventure that gives nods to Neil Gaiman, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and several comic book anti-heroes. This is a vampire book for readers who would not normally read vampire books, but like a funny coming-of-age story featuring a hero who is not very heroic. It is recommended for high school readers due to mature content and language. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Unlike most vampires who are drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, and irresistible, Doug is the exact opposite. Overweight, unpopular, and dorky, he seals his fate by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and as a result was attacked by a starving, newly made vampire. Now he must spend the rest of his immortal life as an unattractive 15-year-old, feeding off cows to satisfy his need for blood. With the support of some local vampire guardians and his friend Jay, the teen must now learn how to "live" life as a vampire. If events aren't complicated enough, he falls for the "new girl" at school, and has the star of the TV show Vampire Hunters hot on his trail, trying to expose him to the world. Rex's story falls flat. The back-and-forth narration between Doug and Sejal is confusing and slows down the plot. There are some promising moments, funny scenes, and intriguing themes that unfortunately just don't pan out.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

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HarperCollins Publishers
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14 - 17 Years

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Fat Vampire
A Never Coming of Age Story

Chapter One

My Dork Embrace

DOUG SAID, "Hi," and the girl turned. The perfect girl with red hair and a nearly empty cup of yellow beer turned and looked at him. He tried to relax his eyes, take all of her in at once—the blue belly shirt, the bottomless cleavage—without appearing to ogle. He didn't know her or practically anyone else at the party. She didn't know him. She wouldn't have any reason not to talk to him.

She found a reason. Look—it was all there on her face. She'd seen through his disguise—the hair gel, the too-tight shirt from Apparel Conspiracy. He was a completely surprising form of life, something that should not be at a party, shouldn't be addressing her. A gorilla maybe, frantically signing Koko want kitten. Koko want kitten.

"What?" she said. Not superinviting.

"Hey. I'm Doug."

She seemed hesitant to give her name, like she might get it back with gunk on it. But then, "Carrie. My friend's coming right back."

"That's . . . cool. So what school do you go to?" he asked. Not that he knew any schools in San Diego.

"Garfield," said the girl, but as she did so she arched her neck to look over his shoulder. Her long, soft, beautiful neck. Koko want kitten.

"It's . . . kind of crowded in here," said Doug. "Don't you think? You want to go outside? Get some fresh air?"

"I'm waiting for my friend," said the girl. And then her whole posture relaxed, and a sudden brightness in her eyes told Doug that she'd just seen this friend, the friend was close, like the friend had just pressed the button on her key chain that made the headlights flash and the locks pop.

"Just for a second," said Doug. "Really quick. I want to show you something."


"No, it's not like . . . Just trust me . . . Come outside . . . It's totally amazing . . ."

The friend was back. The friend was right there, and Doug heard himself say, "I'm a vampire."

Both girls stared at him for an airless moment, possibly deciding how they were going to take this. Funny or Scary? Funny or Scary?

"A creature of the night," Doug continued. "Cursed like Cain to wander—"

"Aren't you a little fat for a vampire?" asked the friend.

Funny it is, then. Doug sighed. "I guess."

"Oh, my god, are you one of those comics convention people?" asked the friend. "Paul said there wouldn't be too many of them."

"Look, sorry," said the girl, the girl whose name Doug had to admit had already escaped his mind. "I'm here with my friend. Maybe someone else will go see your comic book thing." They turned to leave.

"I wasn't trying to show you a comic book!" said Doug as he followed them. "I'm a vampire! I'm a fat vampire, okay? I was trying to lose weight before I got bitten. Now I'm screwed."

The girl faced him. A second or so later her friend realized she was walking all by herself. She clucked her tongue and came back.

"Why are you screwed?" asked the girl.

This was something. Not really the topic Doug wanted to talk about, but at least they were talking.

"I'm . . . cursed," said Doug. He was going to have to come up with another word for cursed. "For all eternity, always alone, never able to quench my dark—"

No, he could see in her face he was losing her. Something else.

"Look," he said, "vampires don't change, right? I'm never going to get any older, and I'll always look like this. Short. Doughy. You know I haven't had anything to eat or drink except blood for the last month? And nothing. No change. If I can't lose weight on an all-blood diet—"

"So is that why you wanted me to go outside with you? You were going to attack me?"

"No! No, I—"

"You were going to drink my blood?"

Doug dropped his eyes, but then he was just staring at her bare belly, at the hypnotic whorl of her navel that would certainly bewitch him, make him stupid with want. He glanced to her right and noticed a few bystanders were listening, their conversations ebbing away. Beautiful people with faces like flowers, turning slowly to bask in someone else's blazing embarrassment.

"Only if you wanted me—"

"What?" said the friend. "We CAN'T HEAR YOU."

"Only if you wanted me to," said Doug. "I just would've showed you my fangs and then . . . maybe you'd be, you know"—when he finished the thought it was barely there—"into it."

"Okay, time to go," said a really tall guy who came out of nowhere. He grabbed Doug's arm and escorted him, backward, stumbling, toward the door.

"Don't be too mean to him," the girl called after them. "He didn't do anything."

Don't be too mean to him, thought Doug. Not TOO mean. He was fifteen years old, he would always be fifteen years old, and it was possibly the nicest thing any girl would ever say about him.

Fat Vampire
A Never Coming of Age Story
. Copyright © by Adam Rex. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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