A Taste for Red

( 27 )

Overview

A sixth-grade Goth girl who thinks she’s a vampire encounters her greatest nemesis when she enrolls at Sunny Hill Middle School in this hilarious and entirely original take on the vampire genre for middle graders.

Svetlana Grimm has recently discovered she’s a vampire. The clues are all there: she can eat only red foods, has to sleep under the bed because of her heightened sensitivity to light and noise, and can read others’ thoughts. But ...
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A Taste for Red

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Overview

A sixth-grade Goth girl who thinks she’s a vampire encounters her greatest nemesis when she enrolls at Sunny Hill Middle School in this hilarious and entirely original take on the vampire genre for middle graders.

Svetlana Grimm has recently discovered she’s a vampire. The clues are all there: she can eat only red foods, has to sleep under the bed because of her heightened sensitivity to light and noise, and can read others’ thoughts. But this new discovery is making her transition from home-schooling to attending sixth grade at Sunny Hill Middle School that much more difficult. After all, what can she possibly have in common with those jellybean-eaters in her class? She prefers to watch them from afar in her hidden lair atop the Oak of Doom in her backyard.

But things get more interesting when Svetlana’s cruel yet beautiful science teacher, Ms. Larch, reads her thoughts. Svetlana is excited to have found another of her kind—until her new neighbor, The Bone Lady, fills her in on Ms. Larch's true identity and her own. What happens when your sixth-grade science teacher might also be your immortal enemy?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Upon encountering sixth-grader Svetlana Grimm, it's easy to think of her as slightly delusional. She sleeps under her bed, eats only red foods, has a heightened sense of smell and believes she has psychic abilities. Naturally, she thinks she's a vampire, if not a predatory one (she prefers strawberries and red velvet cake). But Harris makes it clear that Svetlana, whose given name is Stephanie (“How could my parents have been so cruel?” she moans) isn't just a supernatural wannabe—she discovers she can communicate telepathically with her vampirish (perhaps literally) science teacher, Ms. Larch. Harris sets up deliciously sinister scenes between Svetlana and her teacher, whom Svetlana suspects is involved in the disappearance of three classmates. Reluctant heroine Svetlana has plenty of personality and wit (“I could handle a little ESP and a steady diet of watermelon, but I wasn't going to get into any kind of life and death struggle”), and although Harris leaves the door open for sequels, his fast-paced debut stands on its own. Ages 8–12. (June)
Children's Literature - Melissa Joy Adams
Svetlana thinks she is a vampire. Why? Because she will only eat red foods, she sleeps underneath her bed, only wears black, and she can read people's minds. She does not mind being a vampire, but it is certainly making her life at Sunny Hill Middle School quite complicated. Her strange affinities and abilities make friendships difficult; so, she ends up spending most of her time alone. When Ms Larch, her science teacher, reads Svetlana's mind, she becomes even more convinced that she and Ms. Larch are both vampires. The only problem is that Ms. Larch smells terrible and has a creepy, evil smile, two features that only Svetlana seems to notice. When three of her classmates go missing, Svetlana suspects Ms. Larch and sets out to use her vampire skills to rescue them. With a strong heroine, witty writing, and a quick, suspenseful plot, Harris delivers a clever story that will certainly appeal. Reviewer: Melissa Joy Adams
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Homeschooled Stephanie has just moved and must now attend sixth grade at public school because of her mother's job. She's not taking it well, insisting on wearing black, eating only red foods, sleeping under her bed, and being called Svetlana. Is she turning into a vampire or just going through a phase? Her glamorous science teacher, who talks to Svetlana telepathically, might know the answer, but Ms. Larch has a vile odor (that only Svetlana can detect) and an evil smile. When three popular girls go missing, only Svetlana suspects Ms. Larch. Unlike most vampire tales, this story leaves readers truly wondering what's affecting Svetlana until about halfway through when her kindhearted elderly neighbor, Lenora Bones, reveals the truth. Svetlana's unusual abilities mean she's part of the Circle of Red, a group dedicated to protecting the innocent from the "grotesque and aberrant." At this point, the plot's pace picks up and races to a dramatic climax as Svetlana determines to take on Ms. Larch and rescue the girls. Svetlana comes across as a strong character who separates herself from her peers by casually referencing Sun Tzu and lurking in a tree house dubbed "The Oak of Doom." Her first-person narrative is fast-paced and witty, and her mild scorn for everything she encounters at school will appeal to angst-ridden tweens. Sure to be a crowd-pleaser, this is a perfect choice for fans of Charles Ogden's "Edgar and Ellen" series (Tricycle).—Emily R. Brown, Providence Public Library, RI
Kirkus Reviews
There isn't much for blood-sucking fans between Bunnicula and Bella-can Svetlana (nee Stephanie) Grimm fill the gap? Formerly homeschooled Svetlana must contend with a new town, a new school and Ms Larch, the scary science teacher ("spectacular in her skintight black jumpsuit") who smells like rotting garbage. Svetlana disdains her peers (and spies on them) and knows she is a vampire because she can only abide red food and sleeps under her bed. Occasionally she practices mind control, too; in fact, Svetlana's talents indicate she belongs to The Circle of Red. The Circle (a collection of old ladies) has followed the Kensington vampire, aka Ms Larch, to Sunny Hill, and only Svetlana can stop her. Svetlana's arch, deadly serious voice and general inability to empathize make it hard to root for her. Uneven pacing, the strangely sexy descriptions of Ms Larch, secondary characters who lack depth and no back story-the delightful cover can't mask the flaws. Buffy for tweens, without the charm. (Fantasy. 10-12)
From the Publisher
“The snarky, clever mix of mystery, horror, and goth-girl humor results in a novel that will easily cross genre lines to reach a wide variety of readers.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[A] funny, pleasingly creepy debut. . . . With enough of a yuck- and suspense-quotient to appeal to boys and a smart, resourceful heroine whom girls can champion, this tale is just the ticket for readers not yet ready for Twilight.”—Shelf Awareness

“Reluctant heroine Svetlana has plenty of personality and wit. . . and although Harris leaves the door open for sequels, his fast-paced debut stands on its own.”—Publishers Weekly
 

“In the glut of novels about vampires and other supernatural beings, it’s refreshing to find such a slim, sharp tale. . . . With concision and wit, Harris has great fun with Svetlana’s wry narration, the dastardliness of Ms. Larch, and Svetlana’s efforts to convince two nerdy boys to help combat a great force of evil. A tasty read indeed.”—Booklist
 

“[Svetlana’s] first-person narrative is fast-paced and witty, and her mild scorn for everything she encounters at school will appeal to angst-ridden tweens. Sure to be a crowd-pleaser.”—School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739385517
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Lewis Harris has backpacked over 3,000 miles along the Appalachian Trail and hitchhiked to the Arctic Ocean. He's lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans, on a high mountain pass in Wyoming, and aboard a paddleboat on the Mississippi River. He's worked as a massage threrapist, a short-order cook, a room-service waiter, and a janitor. But he's happiest being a writer. He now lives in Florida, and this is his first book. You can visit him online at www.lewisharrisbooks.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    Good read for vampier lovers!!

    This is an easy book to do a report on for school. I really enjoyed it and wa suspenceful. Shocking ending too!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 13, 2011

    The book

    That looks and sounds like a good book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Gg

    Vb

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    I loved this book!

    This book is great for tweens who like vampires but not romance. I liked how only th evil vampires drank blood.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Great

    Well i did not read this on my nook but i did read it on a real book ( sooo old fashion might as well have read it on a stone tablet) but it is sooo good i really luved it

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Vampire Book for Kids

    My daughter keeps hearing people talk about Twilight and True Blood. She wants to watch shows and read books about vampires but most vampire books are not appropriate for her. This book completely fits the bill. There are a couple of deaths in the book. I am okay with that. My daughter is smart enough to know that comes with the territory and would probably feel ripped off if some of the traditional lore were not included. At the same time, she does not need to experience the gore and erotica of the current vampire trend. This book is perfect for her age. She was so into the book that she wanted to start sleeping under her bed. I recommend taking this book for what it is. Adults may not enjoy it as much as kids. It is not Twilight or the Sookie Stackhouse books. And it is one of the very few vampire books for older elementary school kids. I do hope the author turns it into a series since this age group has very little to choose from on this subject.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2010

    Fun for young vampire book lovers

    This is a good book. The cover illustration doesn't show how interesting the story is. There was a lot of suspense that was not expected. It was hard to put the book down, I kept wondering what was going to happen. The narrator's vocabulary challenges younger readers.

    Even though it was a vampire book, it had its own twist so it was not like the typical vampire story. The only disappointment was that the ending was very short. I expected there to be more story to the ending than there was.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2009

    Wonderful!

    This book was not what I was expecting. The author introduces a new take on vampires and supernatural creatures which I found interesting and refreshing. The writing is lively and fun, and there is nothing inappropriate for tweens. I hope another book is in the works because this one left me wanting more!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A book for children about children that's facinating for adults too!

    From it's provocative title to it's gothic cover art, this book demands to be picked up an read. At first it appears to be a book for girls, but the heroine of the story becomes friends with two boys and they have an adventure together making it a story to be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

    There are many morals to this story. It teaches an acceptance of people unlike yourself, teamwork, appreciation and respect for the older generation, and a never-give-up attitude when facing obstacles and challenges. The writing uses common sense to explain away some of the well-known scary myths about vampires and to familiarize the reader with some unusual habits of the characters that are acceptable once explained.

    I purchased this book and read it myself before giving it to my 9-year-old grandson. I loved it! My grandson usually reads "boy books," but his oninion of this book was "Awesome"! That about says it all.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Taste For Red

    This book is about a girl who is a vampire and her science teacher is a vampire as well. She along with her friends have to find a way to get rid of her teacher. It is suspenseful and keeps reading inorder to find out the next step the main character has to take to be rd of this teacher! I really want a sequel to this book, it would make a great series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining and Fun

    I'm not the marketed age bracket for this book, but it didn't matter. It was fun and entertaining. The story is of a junior high school girl who thinks she's a vampire. She wears black, sleeps under her bed, and only eats red foods. Her name is Stephanie, but she makes everyone call her Svetlana. When she starts public school for the first time her life is turned upside down. She meets real monsters, strange kids, pain in the butt Barbie dolls, and friends that help her when she least expects it. As a connoisseur of vampire literature I found this well rounded and wonderful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

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    Posted March 16, 2011

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    Posted August 21, 2011

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    Posted July 4, 2012

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    Posted August 30, 2014

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    Posted May 19, 2010

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    Posted December 22, 2011

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    Posted November 6, 2011

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    Posted December 28, 2011

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