Ninth Grade Slays (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series #2)

Ninth Grade Slays (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series #2)

4.5 516
by Heather Brewer

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Freshman year stinks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives 'study abroad' a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer

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Freshman year stinks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives 'study abroad' a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer when he sees one? In this thrilling sequel to Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past and battle forces that once again threaten his life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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
KLIATT - Debra Mitts-Smith
As if contending with bullies, impossible crushes, and math problems weren't enough, Vladimir Tod harbors a secret known only to his best friend Henry and his guardian, Aunt Nelly: Vlad is half vampire. Even in this regard Vlad is unique. Most vampires are made when a vampire shares its blood with a human, but Vlad was born a vampire. His father Tomas Tod had planned on feeding on a young woman; instead, he fell in love with her. Worse yet, he broke the code of the vampires that banned them from revealing their secrets to humans. Fleeing the vampiric council, Tomas and his bride Mellina found sanctuary in a Bathory, a small town. But hiding from his brethren was difficult. In Potter-esque fashion, Tomas and Mellina died in a mysterious fire. Three years later, the sins of the father begin to haunt Vlad's life. First one of his teachers disappears, only to be replaced by a teacher with an interest in mythological and supernatural beings. Then others begin to disappear. Vlad faces "normal" junior high occurrences as well as mysterious deaths, meals of blood bags and rare meat, and books written in unknown symbols. Scaffolding folkloric beliefs onto 8th-grade reality, author Heather Brewer constructs a plausible world. There are some bloody moments, but Vlad and Henry's humorous sparring outweighs the violence. For novices to horror fiction, Brewer's book contains just enough lore, tension, and gore to provide a good introduction to the genre. At the same time, her likeable characters, unique plot line, and promise of more books to come will also appeal to fans of the genre. Readers will be looking forward to following Vlad in the 9th grade.
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Vampire Vladimir Tod has made it to high school, but he has different challenges than most teens. Foremost there is the matter of his half-human and half-vampire parentage, but he also faces a determined and deadly vampire hunter and the unexpected return of old enemies. While traveling to Siberia to learn mind control from a vampire elder, Vlad discovers that many in the vampire community feel he is the fulfillment of a prophecy, called the Pravus. The Pravus, a vampire born of a human mother, is destined to rule the vampire world and enslave humans. Vlad fears what his future-and the fate of all humans-might hold if he is the Pravus. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod continues the story of the series' titular teen vampire with enough exposition so that readers will not need to have read the previous book to enjoy this volume. Fans of the first book, however, will savor delving deeper into Vladimir's story. This second book in a projected series of five has a slightly darker tone as Vladimir faces uncertainty in his future and the possible fulfillment of a vampire prophecy. There is a simmering romance, deliciously gory touches, and puns and allusions to vampire lore that readers of the genre will enjoy. Reluctant readers will be drawn into Vladimir's world, and horror fans will enjoy his quest to grow in his vampire identity as he navigates the perils of high school. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Vladimir Tod wants be popular like his friend Henry and cool and carefree like Henry's cousin Joss. He would so enjoy putting bullies Tom and Bill, who have been tormenting him for years, in their place. And, of course, he longs to tell Meredith about his feelings for her. All of this should really be a piece a cake for him. He is, after all, the only vampire "living" in Bathory, and he possesses extraordinary powers. Unfortunately, luck does not seem to run his way. What is working for him is the opportunity to go to Siberia with his Uncle Otis to be trained by Vikas, one of the oldest vampires around. Vikas sharpens Vlad's skills, especially in the area of mind control, and educates him on vampire history, language, and culture. Vlad also learns about the prophecy regarding the Pravus, a powerful vampire born from a human mother who will not only rule over all of vampirekind but also enslave the entire human race. Upon his return to Bathory, he is pursued by a vampire slayer and attacked by another one. Could Vlad, whom readers have come to love, possibly be this evil Pravus? Brewer does an excellent job keeping readers on their toes with an intense plot full of many twists and turns. Her writing style is original, witty, and on target. It has a different intensity than series like Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" (Little, Brown) or Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" (Penguin), but teens will eat up this installment and be ready to sink their teeth into the sequel.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Proving that you can't have your blood and drink it too, this shallow vampire tale waffles between vamp/camp and purported somberness. Eighth-grader Vladimir has a secret: He is (he thinks) the only living vampire. Pandering Aunt Nelly, a nurse, goes to "great lengths to sneak blood from the hospital" for Vlad's vital nutrition. His parents were mysteriously murdered, and now his teacher's missing. The odd substitute suspiciously demands research on vampires. Who's stalking Vlad, and why? It's unclear which hints are real clues and which are sloppy narration. Cheesily referential names (town of Bathory; classmate Edgar Poe) and gleeful gross-outs (cookies dunked in blood) undermine the supposed gravity of Vlad's situation and lineage. Brewer evades the problematic nature of blood-sucking, hiding behind quips like Vlad's refusal to kill because "just think of the looks he might get at the next block party if he got caught. This one just tries too hard. (Fantasy. 10-12)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.77(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Title Page

Copyright Page













11 - VIKAS










21 - ET TU, JOSS?



A division of Penguin Young Readers Group

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa • Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2008 by Heather Brewer

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

CIP Data is available.

Published in the United States by Dutton Children’s Books,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

ISBN: 9781440636059

This one’s for Jacob,
because high school sucks


Books may be written by writers, but they are perfected by an entire range of people who don’t receive the amount of praise they should. I’d like to thank my amazing editor, Maureen Sullivan, for working tirelessly to push me into bettering my craft, and for always having insightful ideas and a positive attitude. Thanks to everyone at Dutton, simply for doing everything that they can to make my dream a reality. Special thanks to my incredibly talented cover designer, Christian Funfhausen, for giving me the most kick-butt smiley a vampire author could ever want. And I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to my fabulous agent, Michael Bourret, for always giving me your shoulder, your eyes, your ears, and your brilliance. Without all of you, I’m just a hack with a keyboard and a thirst for blood.

Many, many thanks to the most amazing critique partner a girl can have—Jackie Kessler, who never fails to amaze me with her skill and is quick with the sympathetic chocolates. Thanks, also, to my sister, Dawn Vanniman, for believing in me and for continuing to love Seth. And, of course, thanks to Paul, Jacob, and Alexandria—I don’t know how, but “you people” managed to stay out of my way long enough for me to write another book, and I love you for it.

Thanks also to the future keepers of the Brewtopian kingdom, to my loyal Minion Horde, to every bookseller and librarian that has introduced Vlad to readers . . . and to you, the person holding this book, for giving Vlad a chance, and for following him into his high school years.

Vlad and I couldn’t do it without you.



JASIK GRIPPED THE PHOTOGRAPH in his hand and scanned the face of the boy. Except for his pale complexion and clever eyes, no one would suspect the teen was anything other than human. But Jasik knew differently.

“This is him, then?” He looked up to the man behind the desk, who nodded once.

“Vladimir Tod.” The man’s voice was hoarse and raspy.

Jasik slipped the photo into his shirt pocket and cleared his throat against his fist. “I will need provisions, of course.”

“I will provide whatever you need.” The man wore a bitter, pinched expression on his face.

Jasik crossed the room and looked out the window to the city streets outside. It was dark, despite the many streetlights. People moved like ants on the pavement below, avoiding the small pools of light. There was almost no telling which were human and which vampires. Jasik wondered briefly if the sun suddenly rose and bathed them all in light, whether they would scurry away and seek their darkness elsewhere. “Might I ask how you came to know of my services?”

The man behind the desk coughed into a handkerchief before answering. When he removed the cloth from his lips, it was stained with glistening red. “Let’s not play games, Jasik. I’ve known for many years that your . . . talents . . . can be bought. Will you hunt this boy, or not?”

Jasik glanced back at the man and smirked. “My talents are expensive.”

“I assure you, there is no price that I am unwilling to pay.”

The man behind the desk leaned forward and flipped open his checkbook. After scribbling for a moment, he paused and nodded to Jasik. “All you need to do is provide me with the number of zeros.”

Jasik faced the desk and glimpsed the check. The ink had not yet dried before he said, “Three more and you’ve got a deal.”



VLAD SQUEEZED HIS EYES shut tight. He was awake, but he wasn’t incredibly happy about it. Weekends, even summer weekends, were meant for sleeping in ... especially when those weekends were spent hanging out super late under the full moon because your vampire genes won’t let you go to bed before they’ve had their fill of nighttime. Even more so when you only had a matter of days before the joy of summer would be over and the dread of school would begin.

A low, buzzing sound drifted over his face, paused, then moved again toward his right ear. He popped open one eye and glared in disgust at the housefly that was hovering about the room. So that’s what had woken him.

The fly fluttered over and landed on the tip of Vlad’s nose. He swatted it away, and when it took refuge on his pillow, he smacked his hand down to squash it, but missed. Vlad grumbled obscenities under his breath. What did the fly have against sleep, anyway?

Flapping its tiny wings, it buzzed across the room and landed directly on the center of Henry’s forehead.

After a moment of hesitation, Vlad crept over to Henry’s sleeping bag. He raised his hand slowly, giving the fly one final chance to move. He whispered, “Don’t think I won’t do it.”

The fly responded by washing its gross little fly face. If it could have spoken, Vlad was almost positive it would have laughed at him.

Vlad brought his hand down fast and hard. The slapping sound his palm made when it hit Henry’s skin echoed throughout his bedroom but was shortly covered by a yelp from Henry, who sat up, clutching his forehead. “Dude!”

Vlad straightened his shoulders, triumphant in battle. “There was a fly.”

Henry rubbed his forehead, snarling in disgust. “Well, did you at least kill it?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

The fly buzzed past his ear and out the door.

Vlad swore again but was cut off by Henry. “I smell bacon.”

But it wasn’t the smell of bacon that called to Vlad. It was the promise of a steamy mug of O positive and a gooey cinnamon roll, Aunt Nelly’s specialty. One big plus of living with Nelly—who was actually no relation to him at all, but his mother’s best friend for years and years before his parents had passed on—was that she could bake cinnamon rolls so sweet and delicious that if she had the determination and funding, she could easily give Cinnabon a run for their money. Just stay away from her meat loaf.

They raced out the door and down the stairs. By the time they reached the kitchen, they were panting and famished. Henry spotted the plate of crisp bacon on the table and grunted. “Food.”

Vlad opened the freezer and grabbed a bag of blood. He plucked a coffee mug from the cupboard and nudged Henry out of the way as he headed for the microwave. “Food.”

Aunt Nelly turned from her spot at the stove and chuckled. “I take it that means you boys are hungry?”

But neither Vlad nor Henry answered with any sound that could be classified as a yes or a no. Henry was too busy chewing on several slices of bacon at once, and Vlad had his head tilted back as he gulped down some warm O positive. It slid down his throat easily—it was always better warm—and when his thirst was quenched, he smacked his lips in satisfaction and reached for a cinnamon roll.

Blood and frosting: the vampire’s answer to coffee and donuts.

“Deb mentioned that an entire freezer of blood is about to expire at the hospital. With your appetite lately, Vladimir, I’d better sneak out as much of it as I can.” Nelly placed more bacon on the platter and sat a plate of eggs in front of Henry. She flashed Vlad a look of disapproval. “You’ve got blood all over your shirt.”

Vlad looked down at the two dime-size red circles on his shirt and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I was really hungry.”

Nelly’s gaze softened. “Just be more careful next time. Contrary to popular belief, laundry doesn’t top my list of favorite things to do.”

Henry swallowed and reached for the pitcher of orange juice. “So did you get your schedule yet?”

Vlad nodded and sighed with an air of gloom and doom. “I got Mrs. Bell for English, first period.”

Henry offered Vlad a sympathetic glance. “Looks like you’re not alone. I’ve got her, too, and from what my mom said yesterday, so does Joss.”

“When’s your cousin supposed to get here anyway?” Vlad stuffed most of the gooey cinnamon roll into his mouth and chewed. The truth was he was kind of nervous about Henry’s cousin moving to town. There was always the slight chance that Joss would interfere with his and Henry’s time together, or worse, that he and Joss might not get along.

“Sunday. Oh, and just so you know, don’t count on seeing me much that day. My mom’s on some family togetherness kick.” Henry rolled his eyes.

Vlad followed suit. “How annoying.”

Nelly flashed him an incredulous glance. “Vladimir!”

Vlad took a sip of blood and raised an eyebrow at Henry. “I mean, how lovely of your parental figure to insist on enjoying quality time together. You should be grateful.”

Both boys broke into hysterical laughter. Nelly chuckled and shook her head. “All right, smart mouth. I’m getting the mail. Henry, watch Vlad while I’m gone. He’s a trouble-maker.”

Vlad’s jaw dropped in mock exasperation. “Nelly!”

Nelly smiled sweetly. “I mean, he’s a wonderful boy who brightens my day and makes life worth living.”

After she slipped out the front door, Vlad eyed the wicked glimmer in Henry’s eye suspiciously. “What?”

Henry’s grin broadened. “Did you call Meredith yet?”

Vlad straightened his shoulders proudly. “Twice, actually.”

Henry watched him for a moment, the surprise in his eyes quickly giving way to suspicion. “You talked to her?”

Talk to her? Vlad hadn’t yet figured out a way to remove the lump that had taken up residence in his throat ever since she’d leaned in for a kiss after the Freedom Fest dance and he’d backed away, babbling like some kind of deranged lunatic. Talking to her was the least of his problems. First he needed to figure out how to breathe whenever she was near.

Vlad slowly stretched his hand out and picked up his mug, then took a long drink before returning it to the table. When he was finished, he met Henry’s eyes and sighed. “Nope. Hung up both times. I think she heard me breathing once though.”

“That’s progress.” Henry sighed. “You know she has caller ID, right?”

Vlad’s eyes grew wide. There it was again, that lump in his throat. “She does?”

Henry answered with a tone of indifference. “Yeah. But dude, check this out.” He grinned wickedly and lowered his voice to a tone of conspiracy. “Last night, Greg told me something interesting about the upperclassmen girls.”

Vlad leaned up against the counter and tried to act like he wasn’t completely curious. “Interesting? Like how?”

Henry leaned closer. “He says that if you can get invited to one of the senior parties, that some of those girls take pity on the lower classmen and they’ll—”

Aunt Nelly walked into the kitchen. In one hand was a stack of envelopes, in the other was a small brown box. She glanced at their frozen, startled expressions and raised an eyebrow. “What are you boys talking about?”

They answered in one wavering voice, “Nothing!”

Vlad eyed the envelopes hopefully. “Anything from Otis?”

Nelly sighed and shook her head as she flipped through the stack. “Honestly, Vladimir. Your uncle has written to you at least once a week since the day he left Bathory. Do you really think he’d forget about you now?” She pulled a thick parchment envelope from the pile and held it out to him with a smile.

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